It has been a fast summer for the Troy football program. Fast…but productive.

Coach Matt Burgbacher and his Trojans squad started two-a-days this week, and despite the fast that the last two months of summer lifting, camps and 7-on-7 days, the second year Trojans coach feels his squad is ready to produce when things start for real August 26 against perennial power Trotwood Madison.

“The kids have been great, we have had pretty good attendance here in the weight room,” he said. “I encourage our kids to go on vacation with their families, that’s what summer is about. But our kids have really bought into what we are trying to accomplish.”

“It’s night and day from last year. We had our ten camps days and we got whole offense and whole defense in. They are familiar with what we are going to do, and with the number of kids we have coming back, we had that in the first day.”

“These kids have taken the initiative that when we are done with lifting, they are out there doing 7-on-7 on their own,” he added. “They want to get better and the desire to be great.”

Despite having a great summer with the kids, Burgbacher doesn’t want to say that his team is ready for the opening game yet, he said they have a long way to go.

“I don’t want to paint the picture that we are there yet, but at least we are moving in the right direction.”

Burgbacher was quick to point out the biggest thing he has seen from the numerous kids returning this season.

“The biggest thing is leadership,” he said. “After last season the staff sat down and diagnosed everything, then I sat down myself and dissected everything and the one thing that was glaring was the leadership and it all had to start with me.”

“We had leadership classes this summer. There is so many different types of leadership and our kids have stepped up and have done a great themselves with that.”

He also stated that on the field, many of the kids returning have run the offense before, starting with the returning varsity kids, down to the returning freshman and sophomores.

“They ran it also last year, and they know our terminology,” Burgbacher said. “Another huge difference is the competition on the practice field. Nobody can rest and say they have a position locked up. Every position on the field has someone who is on their heels. That depth chart will change through two-a-days and the kids are hungry for spots.”

With so many returning kids back for the Trojans, their mindset is to compete in the GWOC American North Division. They will join the likes of Piqua, Butler, Sidney, Greenville, and newcomer Tippecanoe in the realigned conference. Burgbacher knows it will be a challenge with so much talent facing them each week.

“You have to love our conference,” he said. “When you look at the geographics of it, it all makes sense. Twenty years ago, we shouldn’t be playing Tipp, but now they have their program up to a level and will come in here and compete.”

“Troy and Tipp will be a great rivalry. It’s great for the two communities, it’s great for the schools and great for the kids.”

Troy will host Reynoldsburg on August 13 at 10 a.m., and then host Dunbar on August 19 at 7 p.m., before opening the season against Trotwood on August 26.

“We have to get great at what we do,” Burgbacher said talking about what needs to be done before kicking things off week one. “Right now we are good, we want to be great.”