COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As head coach, Watson Brown just
can’t lose when his team scrimmages against itself. Then
again, he just can’t win, either.
“A head coach is never pleased when you’re scrimmaging
yourself. If one side gets three turnovers you’re always
going to be mad at the other side for giving up three
turnovers,” Brown said.
Tennessee Tech’s offense produced more than 400 yards on 64
plays Saturday and reached the end zone five times, but the defense
came up with three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble
recovery – as the Golden Eagles entertained 1,200 fans in
Tucker Stadium during the annual Gathering of Eagles.
“It was a nice turnout for the kids,” Brown said of
the crowd. “It was nice to have people who care about them
come out here and support them. It’s the same with us, we
care about the community and we want to do everything we can to be
a part of the community so this was a good day. “
Quarterbacks Tre Lamb and Cass Barnes were both effective,
combining for 201 of the team’s 214 passing yards.
Lamb, a sophomore from Calhoun, Ga., was 6-for-8 for 80
yards and threw the only touchdown pass of the afternoon, a
three-yard connection with freshman tight end Doug Page. Lamb also
rushed three times for 35 yards including a 23-yard touchdown run
on his second play of the scrimmage.
Barnes was 12-for-16 for 121 yards with one interception on the
first series of the day.
“I thought Tre had a really consistent day,” Brown
said. “Cass and Tre played about a half of football each.
You’re not going to get more rhythm than that when you
scrimmage, so I think they both did well.”
The offense also got rushing touchdowns from Jocques Crawford
(photo by Nick Burns), Tremaine Hudson and Zack Ziegler.
The scoreboard was also dented by placekickers Matthew Barker and
Tim Donegan who combined to go 5-for-5 on PAT tries and each add a
field goal in their only attempts.
In all, including a 72-yard punt return by Henry Sailes –
his second in a week – the fans who sat through the two-hour
scrimmage saw a total of 47 points.
In addition to Lamb 115 yards of total offense on just 11 plays,
sophomore Demetrous Garrett shined in the scrimmage accounting to
99 all-purpose yards on just four touches. A wide receiver from
Nashville via Naval Prep School, Garrett is off to a solid start in
his second season as a Golden Eagle. He caught three passes for 75
yards and had one carry for 24 yards.
Ziegler, a sophomore from Greenbrier, Tenn., had 44 all-purpose
yards on just five touches.
Still, with all that the offense was doing, Tech’s defense
had a few of the biggest moments of the day, including forcing
“Three turnovers is the most we’ve had in quite a
while,” Brown said. “It’s something we improved
upon last year. We really improved on our turnover margin. The
offense didn’t have that many, and it was good to see the
defense do that kind of job today.”
“We’ve definitely got to make plays, and one of the
things that we’re always looking for is to make
turnovers,” said associate head coach Billy Taylor, the
team’s defensive coordinator. “We know that the
turnover margin is very important to us as a team in winning
“But the big thing about today was we got the chance to look
at a lot of players,” Taylor said. “We were very basic
out there today, we just wanted to make sure that we were sound,
and I think that we accomplished the things we needed to
Junior Justin Vann (photo by Nick Burns) stepped in front of a
receiver and picked off a pass attempt by Barnes, returning it 53
yards to snuff out a promising opening drive after Barnes had moved
the team from his own 35 to the 28.
The second big defensive play of the day was a quarterback sack
by Tommy McBride and Travis Adkins, who caught up with Barnes on a
third-and-nine near midfield.
Lamb, who directed the Golden Eagles to touchdowns on his first
three series, marched Tech 70 yards in 10 plays including a 34-yard
pass pay to Garrett. Intended for Sailes, the ball was deflected
and Garrett snapped it up for the big gain. After a 17yard
completion to Ziegler to the 13, Crawford powered into the end zone
from the one for the second TD of the day.
Two plays later, senior Corbin Miles intercepted a pass thrown by
junior Clint Brewster. It was the second interception in two
scrimmages for Miles, who got the starting nod in place of injured
Lamb took the tam 30 yards in four plays, including a 24-yard
sweep by Garrett to the six. On third-and-goal, Lamb hooked up with
Page for a touchdown.
Marcus Edwards, who is adjusting to a new position since last
week’s scrimmage, is apparently learning his new role well.
He was credited with a quarterback hurry on the next series and
later knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Lamb and Barnes combined for the next scoring drive. Lamb got
things started with a 14-yard pass to Colin Allen and moved the
team into the defensive end of the field. Barnes took over and got
Garrett on back-to-back completions of 14 and 27 yards down to the
two. Ziegler carried three final two yards for the score.
The final big defensive play came when DeShawn Harris stripped the
football out of the hands of the ball carrier and returned the
fumble nearly 40 yards to the 23. Barnes hit Allen for 17 yards
before Hudson crashed into the end zone from the six for the final
touchdown of the day.
Freshman quarterback Darian Stone moved the offense to the
eight-yard line where Donegan kicked a 21-yard field goal.
Barnes then took the squad to the seven to set the stage for
a 23-yard field goal by Barker to close the day’s action.
Following the scrimmage, the entire team returned to the field
to meet fans and sign autographs to cap off the Gathering of
The Golden Eagles get the day off from practice Sunday, then
return to Overall Field Monday at 7:30 a.m. for their final week of
The season opener is Saturday, Sept. 4, at the University of
Arkansas at 6 p.m. The first home game is Thursday, Sept. 16,
at 7 p.m. against Lane College.
Season tickets to watch the Golden Eagles are on sale at the
Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center weekdays from 8 a.m. to
noon and from 1 to 4:30 p.m., or by calling (931) 372-3940. Tickets
may also be ordered online at TTUsports.com.