Troy receiver Davis enjoys fast start to spring
TROY – Sidney Davis didn’t play poorly in 2017. One of Troy’s veteran slot receivers just didn’t match the production he was hoping for.
“My first year, I had good numbers and made a couple big plays. Last year, I felt like I was playing my role,” the rising senior from Natchez, Miss., said after a recent practice. “I wasn’t making the plays I made the first year, but I was making key blocks for my teammates and doing what I’ve got to do for my team.”
Davis, a transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College with three years of eligibility, had a big impact in his first season at Troy in 2016. He caught 12 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Two of those receptions were among Troy’s biggest plays of the season.
He caught a 42-yard pass to the 1-yard line to set up the winning touchdown in Troy’s last-minute victory over South Alabama. He also caught a 43-yard completion late against Appalachian State. That also set up a come-from-behind touchdown.
Last season, however, his production dropped to eight receptions for 77 yards and no touchdowns.
“I think last year was tough on him. I don’t think the production that he wanted to have was there,” Troy head coach Neal Brown said.
Through the first half of spring practice, the 5-foot-11, 219-pound Davis looks eager to have a memorable senior year.
“Sidney’s been our most consistent guy through these early practices as far as his attitude, effort, being where he’s supposed to be,” Brown said. “I think he’s doing what he should do to prepare every single day.
“We’re moving him around, playing him in a little different spot this time around. He’s doing a good job leading that position room. I’m excited about him. I think he’s going to bounce back and I think he’s going to be really pleased with how he performs and the production he gets as a senior.”
Davis shared a job as a slot receiver much of last season with Tevaris McCormick. This spring, he’s played both slots since McCormick and Clark Quisenberry have graduated.
“It’s basically the same as the other one I was playing, just a little more thinking,” Davis said of the expanded role. “I played both inside slots the first year I was here. I’m learning on the fly, really. I’m in the hip position, maybe a little tight end, both of the slots. I’m comfortable with it. I know where everybody is on offense on every play – so it’s good that I know that.”
He’s the only senior in the inside receivers room and has embraced the leadership role.
“With Tevaris leaving, that’s like one of my big brothers. I looked up to him when I first got here,” Davis said. “With him leaving, I stepped in that role. Clark also left, so I’m sitting here filling in for them. I’m the only senior in the room, so I’ve got step up and be vocal.”
Davis said his position group is coming along nicely.
“Richard Hallman has made a big jump this spring,” he said. “Zacc Weldon has been doing good. He’s played a lot of football for us.”
As for his game, Davis, whose baby girl, Nylan, arrived about three months ago, said working on the “little things” – primarily technique and fundamentals – is where his focus is this spring.
“I was always a person that (believes) if you wait your turn it’s going to eventually come around,” he said. “This is my senior year and I’m working to get better and be consistent every single day.”
First scrimmage is Friday: Troy will hold its first scrimmage of spring on Friday afternoon. Brown said he wants to see some of the promising first- and second-year players step up.
“Spring, to me, it’s about players. You want to see growth from players,” Brown said. “There’s guys on both sides of the ball – offensively on the line, Austin Stidham and Zach Branner, Travius Harris, Dylan Bradshaw. At receiver Luke Whittemore, Traveon Samuel – the guys that haven’t made plays at Troy in our stadium. In these scrimmages, we want to be able to make plays.
“And it’s the same on defense. On the defensive line Jarvis Hayes, a junior college transfer. If you look at Doug Salter, who is playing on the defensive line now, we think he’s ready to take another step. At linebacker a guy that’s really made a big move for us is a redshirt freshman, Carlton Martial, and in the secondary, Orlando Lacey, Terence Dunlap and Adarius Wesley.
“Those are some guys that in a live situation in the scrimmage – we’ve got Student Appreciation on Friday, so we’ll have a good crowd – we want to see them make plays with people in the stands. I think all those guys are ready to take the next step and they need to prove to their teammates and themselves that they’re ready.”