HEADLAND — Lopsided losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and Appalachian State to end the football season understandably rubbed Troy coach Chip Lindsey the wrong way.
He’s counting on a sparkling recruiting class, a new strength and conditioning coach and a revamped attitude to turn things back in the Trojans’ favor.
“Our motto this year is going to be Trojan Tough,” Lindsey said. “We feel like mentally, emotionally and physically we need to be tougher.
“There were times last year that we played well, and there were times in my opinion that we weren’t real tough. We’ve got to improve that.”
Lindsey was here Monday night speaking to the Henry County Chapter of the Troy University Alumni Association.
The Trojans finished 5-7 during Lindsey’s first year at the helm, which included losing 53-3 at Lafayette and 48-13 at home to App State to end the year. A long list of injuries hampered Troy throughout the season.
“We can say what we want to about we didn’t have this guy or that guy, but at the end of the day, those last two games left a huge, bad taste in our mouth,” Lindsey said.
“Those were the best two teams in the league, but that’s where we want to be. That’s where we’ve been before and our job now is to figure out how to get back to there.”
Signing what was widely considered one of the top recruiting classes in school history should help in getting the Trojans back where they want to be.
“Obviously you don’t know until they get here, but on paper I really like the class,” Lindsey said. “We really focused on the right kind of guys who fit Troy, and have some specific qualities that we look for.”
Lindsey also hired a new strength and conditioning coach, Rusty Whitt, who spent last season at Army and the previous three at Texas Tech.
“I think Rusty is doing a really nice job helping to carry the message,” Lindsey said. “We’re really challenging these guys. I think we’ll see the team in 2020 be a lot tougher. With that, I think we’ll win more games.
“You look at our season. At times we were really pleased with how we were playing, and at times it was like, ‘Who is this team?’
“That’s what we’ve got to figure out — to be more consistent. I think it’s important to us to get back to that blue-collar, work-ethic kind of deal.”
Troy will begin the first of 15 spring practice dates on Feb. 25. The annual T-Day scrimmage is set for April 4.
Lindsey is much more comfortable with his team than this time a year ago.
“Until you get in some adverse situations, you don’t know a lot about them,” Lindsey said of this past season.
“I think that was a huge learning experience for me getting to know the specifics of our team and how they are wired. Now we get to put our influence on it and I think that’s a huge advantage this time going around.”