Jon Sumrall summed up the week following his Troy football team’s victory in the Sun Belt Championship Game as “planes, trains and automobiles.”

There is busy in the life of a football coach, and then there is the way his days have been filled since his team knocked off Coastal Carolina to become conference champions.

“You don’t sleep very much,” Sumrall said. “You drink a lot of Spark and coffee and maybe a combination of the two at the same time, if you need.”

Troy reached game week this past Friday as the Sun Belt champion Trojans began full-time preparations to play the Conference USA champions, University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA), in the Cure Bowl, which will kick off next Friday afternoon at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

Last week, Sumrall and his staff hit the road for recruiting. With the December signing period beginning on December 21, waiting until after the bowl game is not an option for any coach in the postseason.

For Sumrall and some of his staff members, that meant leaving town on Sunday, returning on Wednesday, heading back out Thursday morning for the day and hitting the practice field in Troy on Friday and Saturday. On Monday, they will move down to Orlando as a program.

“There is really no way to balance it,” Sumrall said. “You just try to juggle it all and hope you don’t drop anything. Very, very busy. This is as busy of a time as I can remember, because you’re dealing with, not just high school recruiting but junior college recruiting, transfer portal, your own players, best situation for them to be in.”

Troy got commitments this week from Montgomery Catholic quarterback Caleb McCreary and receiver/defensive back Luke Harkless and Statesboro (Georgia) High running back Jordan Lovett. McCreary is a junior and the other two are seniors. The Trojans also got another commitment, in another way, when starting quarterback Gunnar Watson said they he is coming back for this sixth and final college season.  

While the coaches were recruiting, the players stayed busy.

“Last week, the guys did a lot of prep work for their final exams,” Sumrall said. “We did a little bit of player-led film study by our leadership council. They were in charge of some film things, while we were on the road recruiting. We had a lot of study hall stuff for them, as well.”

Now, the focus is getting ready to play a UTSA team that is led by dynamic quarterback Frank Harris and a tremendous group of receivers. The Roadrunners are 23-4 over the past two seasons.

The Trojans will take some time for an important ceremony on the night before the Cure Bowl.

“We’ll have a pep rally down there and following the pep rally we will do a graduation commencement ceremony in Orlando,” Sumrall said. “Pretty cool environment for our players who are graduating. I think one that maybe they’ll remember a little bit more than going through the formal graduation experience. To be able to do graduation experience and be able to play in a bowl game the next day, is probably more memorable than going across the stage in some regards. Proud of those guys. Our goals here are to graduate people to life, make sure they get their degree, win championships and earn the respect of the campus and the community by how we conduct ourselves. The floor of our program is to get your degree. It’s not the ceiling, it’s the floor from an academic standpoint. That’s just the starting point.”

As for the team, as a whole, Sumrall had a strong message regarding the special things that happened this season for the Trojans.  

“Do not take these moments for granted,” Sumrall said. “I told our team, last Friday night, before devotion, I challenged them, ‘Don’t miss the details in these moments, because they are special and they will be memories you remember the rest of your life.’ You don’t want to go through the motions. You want to take it all in and get the full experience. You work extremely hard to have these type of moments in your playing career as a player or coaching career as a coach. Just grateful to be playing football and trying to pursue our 12th win and do some special things with this group. I’m really, really proud of this team.”

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