#35 Tennessee Tech FCS Football 2012 Preview

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Overall Rank: #35
#5 Ohio Valley
Tennessee Tech FCS College Football 2012 Team Preview
Tennessee Tech Team Page


Tennessee Tech finally got over the hump in 2011. After seemingly forever winning six games or fewer, the Golden Eagles and Coach Watson Brown finally topped the six win mark in 2011. That led to a trip to the FCS Playoffs. TTU fell to Central Arkansas in the opening round, but it was a big step for this program. A returning trip may be difficult with a tough Ohio Valley Conference standing in the way, but the Golden Eagles will stay in the mix.

2011 Record: (7-4, 6-2)
2011 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Watson Brown (25-31 at Tennessee Tech, 118-182-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Watson Brown
Defensive Coordinator: Billy Taylor

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Adam Urbano, RB, 475 yards
Passing: Tre Lamb, QB, 2,342 yards
Receiving: Zack Ziegler, WR, 375 yards
Tackles: Austin Tallant, S, 92
Sacks: Marcus Edwards, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: Caleb Mitchell, CB, 2

Other Key Returnees: G Slade Adams, C Michael Baker, LB Dwight Evans, LB Howard Griffin, DT Jordan Johnson, S Will Johnson, WR Cody Matthews, OT Wesley Sherrill

Key Losses: WR Tim Benford, RB Dontey Gay, DE Jamere Hogue, LB Jake McIntosh, G Scott Schweitzer, CB Richmond Tooley, CB Corey Watson

Coach Brown wanted to open up his offense and get up and down the field in a hurry last year. They did some of that, but it was the defense that more often than not carried the day. The front line lacks a consistent pass rusher, but with Jordan Johnson in the middle, the run defense is still stellar. Most of the pass rushing will come from the linebackers, most notably Marcus Edwards. With Dwight Evans and Howard Griffin also roaming around in the middle of the field, the Tennessee Tech linebackers are among the best in the conference. The secondary will look quite a bit different, but they are a talented bunch. Free safety Marty Jones missed the 2011 campaign after starting all 11 games in 2010. He was second on the team in tackles and led the Golden Eagles with four interceptions in 2010. He will join Austin Tallant in the secondary. Tallant led TTU in tackles last year with 92. Without corners Richmond Tooley and Corey Watson, there will be some new faces making a bigger impact in 2012. Caleb Mitchell is an experienced option and should help ease the loss of Tooley and Watson.

The offense spent a lot of time on the ground last year and they may again this year. However, they will have to do it without Dontey Gay. Gay rushed for 1,045 yards and 15 touchdowns. Adam Urbano is an experienced back who can break some big runs, but this team will still need a bruising back who can punch the ball into the end zone. Cody Forbes is the most likely option to fill that role. Zack Ziegler is an interesting running back and wide receiver hybrid. He should get action at both spots, but quarterback Tre Lamb may need him out wide more often. Lamb passed for 2,342 yards and 17 touchdowns during his junior campaign. With the high speed offense, Lamb is prone to throw some interceptions. Generally, however, he is a very accurate passer. Lamb will miss his favorite target, Tim Benford, who caught 65 passes for 923 yards and five touchdowns. That is why Ziegler, who caught 37 passes for 375 yards and three scores, will need to be more involved in the passing game. Cody Matthews had a fine freshman campaign and is a big target in the red zone, but he only caught 12 passes a year ago.

The Bottom Line:
Tennessee Tech’s schedule is pretty balanced. They host Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky and travel to Murray State and Tennessee State. Those could be the toughest four conference games for the Golden Eagles. Unfortunately, those games are all in a row, with a week off in the middle. Making matters worse, as far as the schedule is concerned, is that the four game stretch begins at the end of a tough road trip that includes trips to Oregon and Southeast Missouri, a team that has OVC championship aspirations of their own. The OVC is never easy, but the Golden Eagles could find themselves out of the conference race much earlier than anybody would expect.

Projected Postseason: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 194.91 (23rd in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 215.64 (53, 5)
Total Offense: 410.55 (25, 4)
Scoring Offense: 32.27 (25, 3)
Rushing Defense: 148.36 (54, 1)
Pass Defense: 204.09 (56, 4)
Total Defense: 352.45 (50, 1)
Scoring Defense: 25.36 (52, 2)
Turnover Margin: .00 (52, 4)
Sacks: 1.36 (101, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.73 (44, 6)