DB Johnny Faulk

2004 Statistics

Coach: Larry Blakeney
116-52-1, 14 years
2004 Record: 7-5
at Marshall WON 17-15
at New Mexico State LOST 18-22
at South Carolina LOST 7-17
at Arkansas State LOST 9-13
at Louisiana State LOST 20-24
at Louis.-Lafayette WON 13-10
vs. Northern Illinois LOST 21-34

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

This is a team that flies under the radar of many college football fans. Accordingly, under the guidance of present-head coach Larry Blakeney (since his tenure began in 1991), Troy has quietly moved from Division II into the big time, and gone 115-53-1 in that span. Only three losing seasons dot Blakeney’s résumé, with five seasons consisting of two-or-less losses. Upon entering I-AA (1992), Troy went 10-1 and then 12-1-1; upon entering I-A, the Trojans posted a 7-4 record. Blakeney is 63-8-1 at the Movie Gallery (Troy’s stadium), and 43-1 when scoring more than 35 points.

The last point leads us into what continues to be the team’s biggest concern, its offense. The Trojans play Jekyll and Hyde when they switch units, and the offense looks like it will again struggle to keep any momentum going that this stellar D will surely hand them. The team’s completion rate should rise above 50%, which should finally get their third-down conversions above 2004’s paltry 30% mark. Fleetwood as coordinator (see offensive overview section) will solve many ills, but the jury is out until he proves his vision is what the Trojans need. With Fleetwood, a QB specialist, things should start to come together offensively; how long that takes and how efficient the O becomes will go a long way toward defining the kind of season State will have.

There are no worries for the defense – personnel losses will be minimally felt, and the team’s return to the highest categorical levels of I-A rankings will make this revamped 11 feared again. Troy’s defenders swarm to the ball and seem interchangeable as stunts and blitzes reign supreme.

No one wants to come into Troy – you can bet Mizzu, South Carolina, and North Texas all know what to expect – for 60-minutes of smash-mouth play that doesn’t end til the piles of bruises finally mend. The Trojans could win as many as nine, or the offense could again sputter and relegate them to finishing around .500. In their first full year as a member of the Sun Belt, Troy just has to win the league to gain a bowl birth - we expect they will see this proverbial carrot and therefore make the conference race a good one, even with only seven starters making it back. Watch this team’s plight, for true college football fans will appreciate the quality of football that bubbles up from this deepest of southern schools.

Projected 2005 record: 6-5
DB/PR Leodis McKelvin
QB - 1.5 DL - 3
RB - 2.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 2 DB - 3
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Carl Meadows, 4-1-0, 8 yds., 0 TD

Rushing: Sean Dawkins, 25 att., 115 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: James Earl Cray, 20 rec., 280 yds., 2 TD

Scoring: Greg Whibbs, 12-14 FG, 32-35 PAT, 68 pts.

Punting: Thomas Olmsted, 76 punts, 43.1 avg.

Kicking: Greg Whibbs, 12-14 FG, 32-35 PAT, 68 pts.

Tackles: Bernard Davis, 108 tot., 57 solo

Sacks: Franklin Lloyd, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Johnny Faulk, 5 for 68 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Adrian Ghent, 16 ret., 23.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Leodis McKelvin, 26 ret., 11.7 avg., 2 TD


OFFENSE: D.T. McDowell-QB, Aaron Leak-QB, DeWhitt Betterson-TB, Jermaine Richardson-TB, Joe Munson-TE, Jordan Lesley-TE, Jason Samples-WR, Henry Tellis-OT, Junior Louissaint-OG, Lee Milliner-C, Donnie Bostian-OG
DEFENSE: Demarcus Ware-DE, Alfred Malone-DT, Eric Thomas-NT, Cedric Sullivan-DE, Robby Farmer-SLB, Freeman White-CB, Derrick Ansley-FS

After finishing third to last (out of 117 I-A teams) for its passing numbers, the revamping here can only help. Enter lanky Carl Meadows, an E. Tennessee-transfer who has strong leadership skills, is a quick study, and had a 10:4 TD:INT ratio in his last year as a Buccaneer (which, inconsequently, was ETSU’s last season before folding). Coach Blakeney feels good about Meadows as the starter, but he has the same moniker that most of the now-departed QBs have had – Meadows completes fewer than 50% of his throws. Without quick feet, Meadows will have to improve his aim for Troy to become better offensively. JUCO-transfer Larry Dockery, another junior, is now the backup after spring ball saw the dismissal of (their only 2004 three-star recruit) D.T. McDowell (academics). Dockery fits right in, for he has also struggled to complete at least half his throws, but has impressed Blakeney with his guts and grit. This unit will struggle, but new blood means that any struggles should eventually lead to better team results.

Running Back
Though the marginal nature of the signal calling can only improve what came prior, the outlook for the RBs is much more imperative. Personnel losses to their 44th-ranked ground game mean Troy has to reapproach this unit, too. Junior Sean Dawkins is their most dangerous back, for his ability to play any backfield role makes him an every-down back, despite his FB label. Not a blazer, Dawkins is a heady player who has soft hands and a pension for plowing right over most any-sized foe. Also impressive have been senior Joel Whingter and Kenny Cattouse. Similarly sized, Whingter “sounds like a gun going off when he runs into someone” (says Blakeney), while Cattouse simply runs around potential problems. Past these guys, proven depth is an issue.

This unit is critical in the effort of the QBs to grow into their own. Coach feels that starting FL James Cray needs to do just the same. Blakeney says that, “Cray made some big plays last year, but we need him to come on…” as the impact receiver/flanker he can truly be. A nice left-handed compliment, if we ever heard one. Tallahassean Eugene Hampton, another junior but taller, is a former-CB (prep) who uses such experiences well and should also emerge to reach full potential. Ex-QB Gary Banks is just what the unit needs, as his leadership and precise routes at SE make it easy to see why his spring was so strong. Depth is present, but unproven, so let’s just hope the ball can come to them as needed so developments here can continue.

Tight End
JUCO-transfers Josh Pruitt and Ben Ramsey have proven via spring drills why they were both such coveted Kansas finds. Lighter than incumbent Rob Austin (who could move back here if needed, but is excelling at tackle), both need to step up to this level of play - though coach is impressed so far, he feels the position should deliver even more.

Offensive Line
Ok, so the well-sized-but-quick Austin is now a relied upon part of the new Trojan blood in the trenches. “He’s going to make us much, much better on the line. I think he may be a pro offensive tackle, but he is [only] an average tight end.” Coach also feels that sometime-starter James Edwards (RT) has expanded his role, improved his technique, and is now the leader here (as well as for the entire team). These bookends bode well, as do the experienced guards. Injuries to James Gardner at center make his return the key inside for Troy to again average nearly four per carry. With the quality at guard, too, there is no reason that this more athletic group cannot improve in all areas...and they weren’t too bad to start. But part of their solidity was how consistent the starters were – four of the five started every game in ’04, something that has to repeat for this group to gel and then set.

This part of the team is all that (still) keeps Troy from becoming a serious juggernaut. Fresh QBs will mean a new lease on optimism, but one of them has to complete over half of his passes for the team to progress. Enter Mark Fleetwood, a one-time Trojan assistant (in the secondary) who, this time, returned (in ‘04) with more offensive experience and hopes of engineering aerial improvements. Fleetwood as coordinator (who is in the press box on game day) means knowledge of both how to tutor QBs as well as what DBs are thinking, so we therefore see the completion percentage going over .500, and more balance being instilled (only threw it 31%). Play-calling predictability was what caused both second and fourth quarter Trojan scoring to plummet, which makes getting this offense “off the ground” the key to team success. The line should hold up to provide the time needed. The running game may suffer in efforts to keep foes honest with more throws (usually that sequence is reversed), but this tact will pay (even more) dividends as the TEs occupy LBs that, in last year’s scheme, would have lived in the box. With such a stellar D, marginal improvements on this side of things would literally be parlayed into wins, so focus here is priority-one!


WR James Earl Cray


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Carl Meadows-Jr (6-2, 185) Larry Dockery-Jr
FB Sean Dawkins-Jr (5-10, 225) Ryan Babb-Jr (5-11, 198)
TB Joel Whinghter-Sr (5-11, 210) Kenny Cattouse-So (5-10, 207)
WR Gary Banks-So (6-1, 196) Toris Rutledge-Jr (6-2, 199)
WR James Earl Cray-Jr (5-10, 171) Eugene Hampton-Jr (6-1, 175)
Martin Teal-Jr (6-4, 207)
TE Josh Pruitt-Jr (6-3, 226) Ben Ramsey-Jr (6-2, 237)
OT Rob Austin-Jr (6-5, 267) Will Chambliss-Fr (6-6, 292)
OG Zarah Yisrael-Sr (6-2, 281) Kenny Griffin-Jr (6-3, 315)
C James Gardner-Jr (6-3, 311) Zach Yenser-Jr (6-1, 280)
OG Kirbie Bodiford-Jr (6-4, 287) Chris Jamison-Fr (6-3, 285)
OT James Edwards-Sr (6-5, 304) Emeka Okasa-Fr (6-3, 319)
K Greg Whibbs-So (5-10, 166) Thomas Olmsted-Sr (6-4, 266)



Defensive Line
Losing four guys (one of whom was a first-round NFL pick) who started every game together in ’04 will show, but not to the extent many will predict. The most excitement surrounds Brunswick, Georgia’s Kenny Mainor, a svelte, RS frosh at rush end who is sure to pick up where Ware left off. Larry Brown is a proven senior who will keep the outside safe as he finds his way weekly into foes’ backfields. Classmate Franklin Lloyd represents even more of a foundation at NT – his stats also hint as to what kind of breakout year this now-starter will finally have. Torre Lankford is relatively small for the other inside slot, but can evidently hold his own as proven in the quality of his extensive second-team efforts. There is even depth across the board, so expect this unit to finish (again) in the top 25 for run stuffing (there may be a slight drop off from ranking 8th, but it will be a respectable showing, none the less.)

Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year (preseason 2005), senior Bernard Davis, is a well-rounded tackling machine with big-play ability out the wazoo on the weakside. Fellow-senior Leverne Johnson (MIKE) represents the largest of the starting three, and there is no drop-off from Davis’ level of talent. Opponents won’t be able to put two hats on both, and with so much talent in the front four, Johnson could ostensibly finish with better stats than Davis. Their impact together should keep this D at 2004’s optimal level(s). Sophomore Marcus Richardson utilizes his vision and speed to secure his assignments, but Andre Morgan makes competition for the SAM spot bode well for the team’s prospects. With Boo Smith back (ankle), this group is versatile and deep. Expect 60-minutes of quality damage from this unit.

Defensive Back
FS Sherrod Martin is only a sophomore, but he finished his initial campaign ranked fourth in team tackles and boasted big plays galore. Martin will only get better, though junior SS Brandon Condren will be a work in progress until he proves he is back fully. Corners Johnny Faulk and Adrian Ghent (along with the LBs) are the D’s senior leaders and will be flying around the ball early and often. Faulk, a NationalChamps.net Honorable Mention all-American, is a true gamer and will again explode into every play, while Ghent is a great open-field tackler whose modest stats show no weak-link of any sort. Depth could be a concern, for injuries would create a drop-ff in overall DB impact. Troy employed great tactics in finishing 55th in pass defense, but sixth in the all-important efficiency category (25:9 INT: TD ratio). If healthy, the same level(s) of results should be attained.

Two established assistants take over the esteemed coordinator vacancy here at Troy, so expect continuity of the team’s philosophy and performance (16th-ranked total defense, 10th in scoring allowed). The Trojans are strong in each category, with a front seven that will stuff backs even as it loses the entire starting line. Wiley, scrappy, and capable of controlling a game from this side of the ball (see LSU, South Carolina, Mizzu and Marshall tilts from ‘04), Blakeney & Co. shuffle personnel and formations craftily, keeping opponents guessing on assignments from play to play. Only Silicon Valley Bowl foe Northern Illinois broke the 25 point barrier. Co-coordinators Jeremy Rowell (DBs) and Rick Logo (DTs) will have to keep the troops fresh way down yonder there in southern ‘bama, so we will see trial-by-fire for that green depth in the secondary. Once again, no offense will want to see the Trojans on their slate.


LB Bernard Davis


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Larry Brown-Sr (6-2, 245) John Jackson-Jr (6-5, 238)
DT Torre Lankford-Sr (6-0, 259) Junior Tagovailoa-So (6-2, 257)
NT Franklin Lloyd-Sr (6-0, 283) David Tramble-Sr (6-3, 275)
DE Kenny Mainor-Fr (6-4, 216) Shawn Todd-So (6-3, 245)
SLB Marcus Richardson-So (6-3, 214) Andre Morgan-Jr (6-1, 204)
MLB Leverne Johnson-Sr (6-0, 235) Jason Richardson-Jr (5-11, 212)
WLB Bernard Davis-Sr (5-11, 218) Josh Maxwell-So (6-0, 204)
CB Adrian Ghent-Sr (5-7, 177) Leodis McKelvin-So (5-11, 187)
CB Johnny Faulk-Sr (5-11, 180) Jermaine Miller-Sr (6-0, 163)
SS Brannon Condren-Jr (6-1, 205) Derick Pendergrass-Jr (6-0, 195)
FS Sherrod Martin-So (6-1, 187) Tavares Williams-Fr (6-1, 190)
P Thomas Olmsted-Sr (6-4, 216) Jason Wright-Jr (6-0, 217)




Greg Whibbs is another sophomore who is fully broken in after a stellar freshman campaign. Consistent and booming, Whibbs’ leg is solid enough to bank on from wherever needed. There is depth at kicker, truly a special quality for the team. Troy has to reflect its defensive prowess in coverage, for again allowing 22+ will not be much help for their struggling offense. Look out for when SE Banks is used as a holder, for fakes are probable when he is in.

Senior Thomas Olmsted brings a 43+ average from ’04, but more important is how over half of his boots were either fair caught or inside the 20. Net results here reflect the kind of coverage needed on KOs, and should be quickly found on PRs again with so many hungry defensemen looking for playing time.

Return Game
Ghent and nickel sophomore Leodis McKelvin are back, but it is McKelvin who will pull double duty as PR, too. Backup SE Toris Rutledge is slated as second-team for returns, so we will see not only his quick feet, but also those of Johnny Faulk, depending on who proves to have the most impact.