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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Behind enemy lines: talking with Troy

The Daily Cardinal caught up with Michael Shipma, sports editor of The Tropolitan, Troy University's student newspaper, to discuss the Trojans' upcoming visit to Camp Randall Stadium Saturday.

The Daily Cardinal: Brandon Silvers had a monster year last season. Based on what you’ve seen out of him in the first two games, does it look like he’s going to be able to replicate that success in his second year as a starter?

Michael Shipma: One thing about Brandon Silvers that stands out when you watch him is he’s a very accurate thrower. We get him going in our offense either in short yardage situations or even on the long balls he really is accurate. He doesn’t throw interceptions, he doesn’t turn the ball over and overall he’s just got a great arm and really knows how to run the offense. In the first two games, he definitely seemed to have good control over the team. They were able to put together some drives and they really look like they’ve been gelling well together under Neal Brown.

DC: Troy obviously uses a lot of wide receivers on the field at once. Out of that group, who stands out the most?

MS: Obviously this past week senior wide receiver Teddy Ruben, he really stood out, catching two touchdown passes and returning a punt for a touchdown. He really stands out among the rest. Bryan Holmes played great against North Carolina State, but at the same time we’ve also got the dual running back combo of Jordan Chunn and Brandon Burks who both, out of the backfield, can catch and run the ball very well. The thing with the offense is they’re very explosive, they’re really able to rack up big plays that really can get the offense going, get the team moving.

DC: Who is the player to watch on defense at this point in the season?

MS: On defense, definitely one player that stands out is Montres Kitchens. He was just a beast all-around the last two weeks. He’s been able to just get in there and break up passes, he’s just really pesky for wide receivers through route running and making catches. He really is a thorn in any offense’s side.

DC: What has Troy’s defense shown over the first two weeks?

MS: Definitely one thing that stands out that the defense really has focused on is having a big presence on the defensive line. The past two weeks, even against North Carolina State, they did struggle at stopping the run game, but they did have a great pass rush and that really disrupted the rhythm of both North Carolina State this past week and this past week against Charleston Southern. The defensive line is where the game will be decided at, along that offensive-defensive line front, just with the powerful run game of Wisconsin, that’ll really be the deciding factor, I believe.

DC: How is Neal Brown fitting in his first year at head coach?

MS: I would say he’s fitting in fantastic. He’s a great presence on campus. Just on any given day you can see him out anywhere on campus. He sometimes will stop by and eat with the players or students in the cafeteria. He really thanked the fans for the way that they turned out in the first home game and he really challenged them to bring that kind of energy to the table that really boost the play on field. But, overall, it really looks like he’s done a really good job of getting these players together, taking over a coaching staff that had been under Larry Blakeney for so long. He’s done a really good job of taking the reins and really making the program move forward and really give a positive vibe to the whole program.

DC: What’s Troy’s outlook heading in to Madison, and what do they have to do to pull off the upset?

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MS: For Troy, stopping the run game will be absolutely key. I think that Wisconsin has always been kind of a perennial powerhouse as far as the run game is concerned. If Troy can really hold up front with the defensive line and the fill the gaps with the linebackers, I think that we can really give them some trouble. Definitely have to worry about the passing game, but I believe stopping the run will be our best shot. On the offensive side of the ball, in order to win, I definitely think that being able to string together drives will be the way to do it. I don’t think Wisconsin will be too quick to give up a lot of big plays like Troy was able to enjoy this past week. Definitely third-down conversions, really stringing together, extending drives to wear out the defense. Those will definitely be key points if Troy wants to win.

DC: Putting you on the spot here, but what’s your prediction for Saturday’s outcome?

MS: Troy was able to hang with NC State on the road and NC State, I think, is similar in a few ways to Wisconsin. I would say final score, I can see Wisconsin 35, Troy 24. 

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