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August 24, 2010

Camp Notebook: Special events at home games announced

Photo: Golden Eagle defensive coordinator Billy Taylor gives tips to new linebacker Will Johnson, a transfer from the University of Kentucky. (photos by Rob Schabert)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Several special events that have become traditions at Tennessee Tech’s home football games in Tucker Stadium are on the schedule again this season for Golden Eagle fans. Special fan events are planned for all five of Tech’s home games in 2010. 

The in-town action for fourth-year TTU head coach Watson Brown and his team starts Thursday night, Sept. 16, when the Golden Eagles host Lane College in the non-conference home opener at 7 p.m.

That game will be the annual Communiversity Night when Tech joins forces with businesses, partners and supporters through the community. The opener is also First Tennessee Bank Poster Night, with free posters to fans as they leave the stadium.

The second home game on Thursday, Sept. 30, will be Military Appreciation and Public Safety Night, with special recognition to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, both active and retired, as well as personnel who work in all public safety fields.

Tech will also hold its annual Football Alumni Reunion that night when the Golden Eagles host UT Martin in the first home conference game. It’s the first of three games for the Golden Eagles in defense of the Sgt. York Trophy.

Advertiser and sponsor appreciation night will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, when Tech hosts defending OVC champion Eastern Illinois at 7 p.m.

Tech hosts two crucial OVC games in November, beginning with Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Nov. 13.

It’s Homecoming with kickoff at 1:30 p.m. following the annual Homecoming Parade. Hall of Fame activities will take place Friday night and Saturday.

Tech’s fifth annual game for Recognizing Academic Excellence will be Saturday, Nov. 20, against Jacksonville State beginning at 6 p.m. The event will highlight Honor students from across the region. The game against the Gamecocks, the team picked to win the OVC this season, is also Senior Day.

“These are events that we feel enhance the atmosphere and provide an exciting framework for the action on the field for coach Brown and his team,” said Mark Wilson, TTU Director of Athletics

"Many of these events have become familiar traditions for our fans," Wilson said. "We hope to continue to build upon the excitement and enthusiasm that have been generated over the past few years under coach Brown. “Our staff will continue to reach out to include groups, organizations, and every college football fan in the area."

Season tickets for Tech football can be purchased at the TTU Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center, online at TTUsports.com, or by calling (931) 372-3940.

Former UK Wildcat Will Johnson learning new role with Golden Eagles

A standout during his high school career at Nashville's Pearl-Cohn High School, Will Johnson (shown at practice Monday afternoon) spent his first two collegiate seasons at the University of Kentucky. After a redshirt season in 2008 in which he was named the Most Valuable Defensive Scout Team Player by Kentucky's coaches, Johnson got onto the field in 2009. He contributed as a regular on the special teams and in a backup role at weak side linebacker. He saw action in all 13 games.

A rangy athlete who played safety in high school, Johnson increased his size and strength during his time at Kentucky while making the move to linebacker.

During the summer, Johnson made a change. He transfered to Tech where he has three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2010. He's working at the Bandit linebacker position for th Golden Eagles where he's currently third on the depth chart behind veterans Justin Vann and Marcus Edwards.

A versatile athlete for coach Tony Brunetti at Pearl-Cohn, Johnson played several spots for the Firebirds. In addition to free safety and linebacker on defense, he played wide receiver and tailback on offense, and also excelled at returning punts and kickoffs.

His speed enabled him to be an effective blitzer, as he had 12 quarterback sacks as a senior, along with 80 tackles and a pair of interceptions. On offense he had 37 catches for 689 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed 21 times for 350 yards and four TDs. He also averaged a phenomenal 35 yards per punt return while helping Pearl-Cohn advance to the Class AAA state semifinals as a junior and senior

Will was named all-city, all-region and second-team all-state as a senior.

An Honor Roll student who won the school's English Award, his athletic versatility also showed in other sports as he participated in basketball and baseball in addition to football. In baseball he played a unique combination as both catcher and center fielder.

Break in the weather, with two-a-days Tuesday and Thursday

The Golden Eagles got a bit of a break in the weather Monday with a little cooler temperatures. The team was greeted by fog in Tucker Stadium for their morning practice and the afternoon walk-through featured a welcome breeze on Overall Field.

The team will go through two practice sessions Tuesday, starting at 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. The Thursday schedule also has two sessions at the same times. On Wednesday, the team has one practice in them morning. On Friday, the team will go through an afternoon walk-through at 3 p.m.

The team has Saturday off as fall camp finishes. Preparation for the season opener at Arkansas gets underway Sunday. The opening game against the Razorbacks is Saturday, Sept. 4, in Fayetteville.