TROY, Ala. -- The Troy Trojans are trying to rebuild from a disappointing season, especially on defense.
Coach Larry Blakeney said at Saturday's media day the Trojans are better and deeper than the team that went 3-9 after winning five straight Sun Belt Conference championships.
"We're not there yet. We aren't close," Blakeney said after his team scrimmaged in front of a couple hundred fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium. "But I think we are better as a team. We understand team better than we have in a while. The team concept is what really glues you together when you start into a season and try to accomplish a championship and a bowl."
The Trojans finished 113th nationally in total defense last season and allowed 38-plus points seven times. That's a big reason they fell to their first losing season since 2005 and the worst record of Blakeney's 21-year tenure.
Blakeney said there's more depth across the board on defense.
Linebacker Brannon Bryan said chemistry is another noticeable difference.
"A lot of guys would run through a brick wall for each other," Bryan said. "I'm not sure last year there was a whole lot of that. We want to play for the guy next to us."
Blakeney signed a recruiting class heavy on defense. That includes Southern California transfer cornerback T.J. Bryant and junior college cornerback Zach Miller, a likely starter.
The offense, meanwhile, returns 10 starters and quarterback Corey Robinson is closing in on a number of Troy's career passing marks. Robinson sees positive signs so far in preseason camp. "It's been the most grueling offseason I've been a part of at any level," Robinson said. "I definitely feel like we've worked hard enough to get back on top."