View Full Version : Injuries at running back make depth thin for Troy

11-08-2005, 11:26 PM
Drew Champlin / Eagle Sports Writer
November 8, 2005

TROY - Once a strong suit, Troy’s depth at running back is wearing thin.
At least for the upcoming game against Arkansas State, the Trojans’ final road game of the season.
Senior Joel Whinghter didn’t dress in the 28-14 win over Florida Atlantic because of a rib injury. Sophomore Kenny Cattouse started, and freshman Anthony Jones, who is nursing a nagging ankle injury of his own, got one carry.
Troy offensive coordinator Mark Fleetwood said Whinghter is day-to-day, but might not be ready for the 6 p.m.
game against the Indians (4-4, 3-2).
Whinghter leads Troy in rushing with 484 yards.
“It’s been tough on him,” Fleetwood said. “The trainer has something he could wear that would protect the ribs, but it wouldn’t protect him if he fell on the ball.
“He might not play this weekend, but I’m pretty certain he’d be ready for the last game (on Nov. 26).”
Whinghter, a role player for three seasons before beginning the season as a starter, has had a roller-coaster year. Three fumbles in two games against South Carolina and North Texas nearly saw his carries go to zero, but he responded with a career-best 135 yards against UL-Monroe.
He had 87 all-purpose yards against UL-Lafayette before his injury.
“His leadership will be missed if he can’t go,” Fleetwood said. “Here’s a guy that had problems holding on to the ball, but he didn’t let it bother him. He corrected it and came back even better.”
Jones, a true freshman, had a breakout game against North Texas where he ran for 74 yards on nine carries, but suffered an ankle injury that has been nagging him ever since.
Jones carried nine times for 30 yards against FAU.
“He’s not full-speed yet, but he’s getting there,” Fleetwood said. “He’s been able to practice, but hasn’t gone full speed yet.”
Fullback Sean Dawkins and other reserves Ryan Babb and Marlo East have seen spot carries, but the injuries place a premium for signing multiple running backs each year.
The situation is similar to the 2003 season, where reserves Jermaine Richardson (knee injury) and Marrio Fraser (discipline) were lost early in the year.
“They just wanted to bring in one back last year,” Fleetwood said. “I said there’s no way, and we got three.”
The three were Jones, Tim Bolton, who is redshirting, and Xavier Walker, who will come in January as a grayshirt.
Opinions on road trips vary: For five years, Leverne Johnson has been on his share of bus rides.
He’s hated every single one of them.
“They’re the worst,” the senior linebacker said. “I just sit up in the front behind the bus driver and listen to music or call people. I can’t sleep on the way there or back.”
The offense rides one bus and the defense rides the other. Kickers go with the defense.
“I just sit up there with quiet people, like Thomas Olmsted, Greg Whibbs and Jason Wright,” Johnson said. “I spend a lot of time talking to the kickers on these trips.”
Johnson said the back of the bus was usually rambunctious and loud, but wouldn’t name who sat back there. Teammate Adrian Ghent, a senior cornerback who sits near the front, wasn’t so kind.
“Usually Bernard Davis and Torre (Lankford) and Larry Brown can get it going,” Ghent said. “The more beef, the louder it is. Guys who weigh 180 pounds like me just keep calm.”
Ghent said he passed the time by sitting with Bear Woods, a true freshman walk-on linebacker.
“Bear’s a very cool guy and he relaxes me a lot,” Ghent said. “Which is weird, because he’s pretty nervous.”
On the offensive bus, quarterback Julian Foster feels right at home. He took long trips with his parents, who are part of a traveling band.
“We’ve been to places like St. Louis and Kansas (from Mobile),” Foster said. “Those were like 16 hours, so these are nothing.
“I just fall asleep. It’s not hard for me to sleep there or back.”
As seniors, Lankford and Johnson had their opinions of best and worst of road trips.
Best visiting locker room: Virginia
Worst visiting locker room: Troy (“It’s the walk-on locker room. I feel for other teams who come down here,” Johnson said). North Texas was next.
Other worst locker rooms: Nebraska was the smallest. Mississippi State had the coldest showers, Lankford said.
Best scenery: Utah State
Worst scenery: North Texas.

11-09-2005, 08:40 AM
Neat article! Gives some player perspective on these road trips they take to the away games.