Sailes earns another honor; Defensive line providing team leadership
Aug 25, 2009
Golden Eagle Football Fall Camp Notebok / Tuesday, Aug.
Sailes recognized by CSN
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech junior runningback
Henry Sailes (right) has been named preseason
honorable mention All-America by College Sporting News (CSN), the
second time in the past month that the Golden Eagle speedster has
earned preseason recognition.
Sailes, a junior from Palmetto, Fla., was one of seven players
from the Ohio Valley Conference to earn preseason NCAA Division I
Football Championship Subdivision honors from CSN. The honors were
chosen by the 10 member staff of CSN. Since 2000, CSN remains
the largest news organization exclusively covering the FCS at
Sailes led the team in rushing last season and ranked second in
receiving. The all-purpose back also led Tech in kickoff returns.
Coming into his third season, Sailes ranks first among Tech's
current players in career rushing yards (640), and comes into 2009
with 2,149 all-purpose yards, needing 534 to climb into Tech's
all-time Top 10. He ranks second in career kick return yards with
1,003 in two years, and ranks first among all the conference
returnees in kick return average last year.
Leadership coming from defensive line
With four of the team's nine seniors playing under defensive
line coach Sam Williamson, it's a position that is providing plenty
of leadership to the 2009 Golden Eagles. His group includes the
defensive tackles and defensive ends, as well as outside
linebackers in the "dime" package. Among that group are seniors
Derek Dickerson, Kelvin Quarles, Brendon Fisher and Brandon Harris.
Both Quarles and Fisher are among the team's four elected
"The defensive line ought to be the ones who set the tone, and
they are doing that," Brown said. "Now, the offensive line needs to
Williamson is proud that his players are showing leadership.
"I think we're getting really strong leadership from these guys,"
he said, " both on the field and off. They want to be leaders, and
they take that responsibility seriously. They're working at
teaching the younger guys, and I think they can have an outstanding
One luxury that Brown and his staff will have is the depth along
the defensive line, where players expected to contribute come from
the first and second units equally, and some from the third
e a chance to be very good in the defensive line because of our
depth," Brown said. "Our two-deep is very strong. There's not much
difference between the one's and the two's, and we could even put
all our three-deep out there."
The list of defensive linemen includes those four seniors, plus
sophomore Travis Adkins, freshman LaDarrius Verge, and juniors
Justin Hilliard and Charlie Seivers. In addition to those linemen,
the group includes a couple of outside linebackers who will line up
in the "dime" package to give the Golden Eagles a more effective
One of those is Gerel Harlan (left), a
6-foot-2 sophomore from Cookeville who is into his third year on
"We have a different defensive line when we go to the 'dime'
package," Brown said. "Our pass rush is totally different than it
has been the past two years. I thik we'll very very good on the
defensive line against the run and in passing downs. It's our
deepest position and probably the strength of our team right now."
Harlan is excited about the opportunities he'll see this fall in
tracking down the quarterback, and it's his tremendous speed that
will make a difference.
"I'm really enjoying this," Harlan said. "I'm not the biggest
guy out there, but these guys are really pushing me and making me
get better. It's made me tougher. I'm learning to be more physical
because I'm lining up against bigger players. I get a chance to use
my speed and just get after the quarterback, but now I am also
learning more about technique and how to use my hands."
Filling some holes at wide receiver
Take five wide receivers out of the two-deep lineup from an
offense that loves to throw the ball, and what do you have?
Opportunity for some younger players to step forward.
That's exactly what's happening for redshirt sophomore
Jeremy Woods (left), a quarterback for the past
two years who was moved to wide receiver during spring drills. With
the absence of five receivers, Woods is seeing plenty of action
during practice and quickly learning his new position.
"Things are going well, and I'm just glad to be on the field and
help the team any way that I can," Woods said following Tuesday's
Injuries have sidelined four Golden Eagles, while a death in the
family took a fifth receiver out of the mix for a week. Corey
Watson is out four weeks with a broken collarbone and Alden
Olverson is out, possibly for the yea, after suffering an injury
during spring drills. Recently, sophomore Tim Benford and junior
Antonio Robinson are banged up and not practicing. Freshman
Demetrous Garrett was gone last week because of his grandfather's
"Right now I'm glad we moved Jeremy out there," Brown said. "We've
got a lot of receivers hurt right now, so he's getting a lot of
reps because of those injuries. He knows the position. He knows
what to do, now he just needs to learn
how to do it. It helps having him out
there every other play."
The 6-foot-2 Woods played quarterback throughout his career at
Ooltweah (Tenn.) High School, and was calling signals the past two
seasons in Brown's system.
"I know the routes and where to be," Woods said. "I just need to
learn the physical aspect of the position. I'm learning how to get
off the line, sustain my blocks, and so on."
Another position switch has moved freshman Cory McDonald from
defensive back to wide receiver. McDonald is a 6-foot newcomer from
Redwood City, Calif.