It’s only human nature to wonder about the psyche of the Troy football team.
After three consecutive 10-win seasons, the Trojans find themselves 3-5 overall, 1-3 in Sun Belt play with a very challenging stretch ahead, starting with Saturday’s
homecoming game against Georgia Southern.
They are coming off a heartbreaking 36-35 loss that came when Coastal Carolina scored a touchdown and added a two-point conversion on its second try, after a Troy penalty, with 30 seconds remaining.
So, sure, it’s natural to wonder about players turning on each other, or becoming more selfish, or wonder what calamity is going to happen next.
I stopped wondering about that after an interview Tuesday with center Dylan Bradshaw of Enterprise. I asked him one question, about bouncing back from that shattering loss.
This is exactly what he said, without interruption and without hesitation:
“It’s a gut-wrenching loss, really. Those are the games that are the most fun when you win them and they suck the most when you lose them.
“You get in a situation like that, no, it’s not fun, but at the end of the day God woke me up on Sunday. I’m breathing fine. I’m glad to be here, and I couldn’t ask for a better team, really.
“I’m thankful to be where I am. I will say the most-uplifting part of it all is, obviously, when you walk into a locker room directly after that, it’s silent. You can hear a pin drop. To be honest, to be frank, it sucks. For the seniors, it really, really sucks.
“But, after the initial really bad part, we got on the plane and on the buses. Guys were in an optimistic spirit, talking about, ‘Yeah, we have four games left. We have to win three to get to a bowl game.’ But it’s absolutely possible. We can beat anybody left on our schedule.
“When you’re a leader of a team or when you’re a leader on the team as I am, it’s nice to see that your guys respond that way. They don’t respond in a pessimistic mood. You don’t want guys giving up at this point. Just because some of our goals that we put into place to begin the season are now out of reach, it does not mean that our season is deemed a failure.
“That’s with anything in life. Nothing is ever going to go your way just like you want it to. It’s all about how you roll with the punches. I believe, in the game of football, it shows you a lot of lessons that you can apply in the game of life.
“What I want to see for the next little bit is how we finish. A lot of times when your back is against the wall and you’re backed into a corner, how you fight and how you finish really defines what kind of character you have as a man. I know how I’m going to fight. I believe all my teammates are going to respond the same way.
“At the end of the day, yes, it can be argued that wins and losses are everything, but also what kind of guys you have is a big deal with it. That means a lot to me, to be surrounded by people like that. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
That was his answer to the first question the junior faced on Tuesday. Bradshaw knows he has a lot of like-minded teammates. He’s not alone in his thinking.
Does that mean Troy is going to win its last four games? Nope.
But it does indicate the Trojans are interested in fighting.
Any opponent is going to have to earn what it gets.