Troy has suspended senior center Kyle Wilborn for the first half of the Florida International game on Saturday.
In a release by the Troy athletics department, Troy Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr., explained the reason for the suspension.
“Troy University is commited to preserving good sportsmanship in order to protect the integrity of the game of football and the well-being of those who play this great game,” he said. “Kyle Wilborn, who is one of our team leaders and an outstanding student-athlete, had a brief lapse of judgement in last Thurday’s game and committed a dead ball personal foul. After extensive discussion with our football staff, university administration and Sun Belt Conference representatives, we have decided to suspend Kyle for the first half of Saturday’s game against FIU.”
Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson also weighed in on the decision.
“I appreciate Troy University’s willingness to ‘step up’ and take institutional action on this,” Benson said. “It clearly demonstrates Chancellor Hawkins and Athletic Director John Hartwell’s commitment to the values of sportsmanship and fair play.”
“I apologize for my unnecessary actions against Western Kentucky,” Wilborn said. “I play with a lot of passion and sometimes that can overwhelm you during the course of a game. I have hurt my team with my actions and it is completely inexcusable.”
Andrew Phillips is listed as Wilborn’s backup, but he started at left guard against Western Kentucky while Cody Woodiel moved from left to right guard to fill for the injured Jimmie Arnold.
If Arnold (ankle) can play on Saturday, Woodiel would likely move back to left guard and Phillips would play center.
I asked Wilborn about Troy’s penalty problem, specifically on the offensive line. Here’s what he had to say at Monday’s press conference. Remember, this was before the suspension was handed down.
“I think I’m the worst offender. It’s something that is inexcusable. It really is, in all honesty. I, myself, as a player need to re-evaluate everything. It needs to stop. It’s killing our team, it’s killing the momentum of drives. We were rolling and then I got a personal foul. It kills me more than anybody else. I just play with a lot of passion, and sometimes it kind of overwhelms you. It’s something that needs to be stopped, and it’s something that we can control ourselves. It’s not something that’s going on like, let’s say, Western Kentucky or whoever our opponent. It’s something that needs to stop.”
Wilborn, who is a very nice person, was also asked if has a Jekyll and Hyde personality.
“It’s kind of one of those things. On the sideline, we can sit there and talk the whole time. Once I’m on the field, I flip that switch and go. Two different worlds. … I definitely have to flip it a little less and be smarter with my actions.”
Then he was asked about how many he has been called for this season.
“I’m not exactly how many there are exactly, but it’s inexcusable. It’s something I can control. As many games as I’ve played, there’s no excuse. There’s no reason for me to be having all of these. It’s something that needs to be changed.
There’s one, I’m not even sure how it happened. Me and one of the Western Kentucky players, we were going at it the whole night, kind of tussling. The offsetting fouls, I fell on top of him. I was getting up and he yanked me down. Somehow, it was a personal foul. It’s kind of one of those things where it was chippy the whole game. Finally, the referee saw it. It was between me and No. 4 the whole night.”