Inside the Trojans
Last season: 6-4
Returning starters: 7 (3 offense, 4 defense)
Returning offensive leader: Joe Troop, Jr., WB (13 rushes, 102 yards, TD).
Returning defensive leader: Dana Konchar, Jr., LB (72 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries).
Everybody's All-American: Joe Troop, Jr., WB. Troop's seen the varsity field since he was a freshman returning kicks. Now he's the centerpiece of the running game. "He's got a chance to make big plays every time he touches the ball," Snyder said. "He's got very good hands. He catches the ball really well, so we're going to try to get his speed in space."
He's got next: Ryley Harlow, Jr., OL-DE. Harlow saw time on the O-line as a sophomore and now is up to 230 pounds. "He has the ability to play any (offensive line) position," Snyder said. "He just plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. We didn't play him on defense last year, because we try not to teach young guys too many positions, but the kid can handle it. He's legit."
MARK HOFFMAN CONNECTION
Snyder was an assistant on Hoffman's staff for three years from 1992 to 1994. "As a coach and player, a lot of the motivation comes from the anticipation of being successful," Snyder said. "The program he's built and developed, it's so solid. Like anything, the longer you do something, you believe wholeheartedly your way to do it is right, so you don't need to make a lot of changes. The players, coaches know what to expect. It's implied when the time comes."
Coaches since 1977: 5.
The Times' breakdown
With so much of their talent in a deep junior class, the temptation is to say the Trojans are a year away. They may will be, but that's not to discount this season by any stretch. Most of the experience on offense is on the line; on defense, it's at linebacker, where the entire group learned under fire as sophomores. "They have a chance to be really good," Snyder said. Snyder likes new quarterback Chris Katsafaros. He just needs game experience. Chesterton will continue to feature multiple people, though Troop will see the most touches and has the chance to be special. Speaking of special, Division I kicking recruit Kyle Schmidt gives the Trojans a big edge in that category. !~ Jim Peters