Let's get this out of the way first: the OHSAA made a rule change this year, under which a deficit of more than 30 points in the second half results in a running clock, to decrease the amount of time spent in an obvious mismatch. As this game had a 35-point halftime deficit, I got a chance to see the new rule in action from the get-go. I can see pros and cons of it, but after seeing for myself how it goes, I can say that I think it's a little too aggressive. From the time the ball is kicked off, the clock runs, except in the case of a timeout or (I assume) an injury. I'd like to see it dialed back just a bit, so that the clock would stop for incomplete passes or a ball carrier going out of bounds, until the ball is reset for play.
Of course, I would have preferred not to see the new rule come into play at all, or for Troy to be on the other end of the blowout, but that wasn't to be.
I will say that this Trojan team presents a contrast to last year's team. Last year the Trojans featured quite a bit of talent, but they just never quite seemed to get it all together and have their heads in the game. That aspect, even in game one, looked to be greatly improved. The talent, on the other hand, just isn't quite there, or isn't quite ready, at the very least. A lot of new names and faces were all over the field, and against a good, experienced team like CJ, that makes for a rough start. I do feel like the Trojans will come together and get better as the season goes on, but man, they've got a tough schedule.
I also have to say that the Trojans appear to have a horse at tailback. Elijah Pearson ran for 140 yards (behind an inexperienced offensive line) and looked good doing it. As usual at Troy, the running game will be fine. The rest of the offense showed some flashes, so we'll just have to see how it goes. I think the defense probably needs more work, as they got beat on some long pass plays and had some trouble tackling as well. Of course, Coach Brewer comes from the defensive side of the ball, which has always been a strength during his tenure (as d-coordinator and as head coach), so I'm confident that better days are on the horizon.
And as always, even though the outcome wasn't what I hoped for, it was good to be back at Troy Memorial Stadium to see the red and gray back in action. I will not be following the Trojans for their first road game at Cincinnati Northwest next week, as I'm going with my wife to her alma mater's game for a cheerleader alumni event, so I'll be reporting instead from Eastwood at Clyde.