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Trojan2003
06-25-2008, 12:47 PM
Move to I-A paying off for Trojans

Last Updated:June 24. 2008 10:02PM
Published: June 25. 2008 3:30AM

-> http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20080625/NEWS/806250331/1141

A quick college football quiz: Name the four Division I coaches with the longest tenure at their current school?

Penn State's Joe Paterno and Florida State's Bobby Bowden are obviously first and second, and you may have guessed Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer at No. 3.

Fourth place might surprise you because it's Troy's Larry Blakeney, who will soon begin his 18th season.

Blakeney became Troy's head coach in 1991 and has played a huge role in helping it move up to Division I-AA and then to Division I-A. The Trojans have not only survived the transition, they have thrived.

"We felt confident when we made the move because we had a great university and good tradition in our football program," Blakeney said Tuesday before speaking to the Russellville Civitan Club. "We did well when we went to Division I-AA and then the crowning jewel was moving to I-A. There is no doubt that it has paid off for our team, but especially for the university."

Blakeney led Troy to seven playoff appearances in eight seasons in Division I-A. Since going Division I, the Trojans have won three Sun Belt titles and played in two bowl games.

But it's the games Troy has played against Division I teams in recent years that most college fans remember. The Trojans have played teams from the Big 12 and SEC regularly and defeated Missouri at home in 2004.

"We're proud of the progress we've made, especially going to two bowl games in four years," Blakeney said. "Now, we want to move toward getting a home-and-home series with an SEC or ACC team."

How about Alabama or Auburn?

"We would love to play in Jordan-Hare or Bryant-Denny Stadium," he said, "but that's probably not going to happen in the foreseeable future. It's political more than anything, and you hear the argument that those schools have nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing us. I don't blame them, but we would sure relish that opportunity."

For now, Blakeney has his hands full with this year's schedule, which includes games at LSU and Ohio State, the two teams that played in last year's BCS Championship Game.

"I say it every year, but once again, this is the toughest schedule in Troy history," Blakeney said. "The games we have to focus on are our opener against Middle Tennessee and our game at Florida Atlantic. Those are the key games to winning our conference. Trust me, we won't have to do anything to get our kids fired up for LSU or Ohio State."

Jeff McIntyre can be reached at 740-5737 or jeff.mcintyre@timesdaily.com.

Burn the Horse
06-25-2008, 01:08 PM
good to see more articles on us, but isn't our transition to div. 1 old news by now?

jt45
06-25-2008, 01:28 PM
good to see more articles on us, but isn't our transition to div. 1 old news by now?
I don't care if its old or not. Publicity is publicity.

trojandem
06-25-2008, 01:53 PM
I think it's particularly good for a newspaper in north Alabama like the Times Daily (Florence). We've gotten a lot of good exposure in the wiregrass and in Montgomery area. Not so much when you get up towards Birmingham north and the Mobile area. It sounds crazy, but a lot of people in those areas do need to be introduced to the program.

Hemi Man
06-25-2008, 02:01 PM
I like it as well. Alot of teams make the move to 1-A and are never heard from again.

Trojans1andAll
06-25-2008, 06:55 PM
It's political more than anything, and you hear the argument that those schools have nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing us. I don't blame them, but we would sure relish that opportunity."

I love that.