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REMINDER: Gathering of Eagles is Saturday in Tucker Stadium

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech football fans will get their best preseason look at the Golden Eagles this Saturday when Athletics hosts the annual Gathering of Eagles in Tucker Stadium.

The Gathering of Eagles is a picnic for the fans featuring the team’s second – and probably most important – scrimmage of fall camp. The event will begin at 12 noon when the gates open, and fans are invited to enjoy free food and drinks, as well as receive football posters and schedule cards .

Coach Watson Brown's squad will hold its scrimmage at 1 p.m., and the final coaching staff will use the event to determine the team’s latest two-deep rotations to prepare for the Sept. 3 season opener at Iowa.  

Immediately following the scrimmage, members of the Tech football team will be seated at tables on the sidelines to sign posters and meet with fans.

"From a fan's perspective, this event has proven to be a lot of fun," Brown said. "It gives the fans a chance to come out and enjoy some good food, watch some football, and get to meet our players.

"From the coach's perspective, the final scrimmage will give our team a good opportunity to evaluate where we stand and where we need to get to before our first game," he said. "It will also give the coaching staff a chance to look at some film and fill in some open spots on the depth chart."

The team enters its fifth season under Brown's direction, and promises to bring plenty of action into the 2011 season, a year that is being called The Fastest 60 Minutes in Football.

In last week’s scrimmage, the team lived up to that billing, piling up nearly 500 yards in just 60 minutes of play.

"The Gathering of Eagles is a great event to kick off the fall," TTU Director of Athletics Mark Wilson said. "It has been growing every year, and everyone who attends tells us how much they enjoy it. I think our student-athletes also enjoy the opportunity to get to meet the fans face-to-face."

The Golden Eagles will host five home football games during the 2011 season, opening against Maryville College on Thursday, Sept. 8. After that, Tech will welcome four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference opponents with visits from Southeast Missouri (Sept. 24), Tennessee State (Oct. 15), Murray State (Nov. 5) and Austin Peay (Nov. 19).

For season ticket information, contact the Tennessee Tech Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or call 931-372-3940. Tickets are also on sale online at TTUsports.com.

Two surgeries scheduled

Two Golden Eagle players have sustained injuries in fall camp that will require surgery. Linebacker Jerry King, a junior from Stone Mountain, Ga., suffered a torn ACL during the first week on the field. Cy Ables, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, will undergo shoulder surgery.

Who’s new to look for Saturday

One of the big yields from the scrimmage coming up Saturday will be watching the performances of newcomers and determining if they will step up into playing roles in their debut seasons.

On the second day of camp, before the team put on the pads (before coaches had the chance to see anybody in game-situations), the position coaches were asked to identify incoming players who might emerge onto the depth chart and see playing time in 2011.  On Saturday, as fans try to peer into the future, they can look for these players -- those who had the coaches’ attention, at least on the first day of camp.

On defense, five names were mentioned including two on the line, two backs and one at linebacker. On the offensive side, four names surfaced, including one lineman and three receivers.

Linebackers coach Billy Taylor pointed to true freshman Tra’Darius Goff (30), who has already enjoyed much success on the field in Tucker Stadium. He was named both the offensive MVP and the Defensive MVP of the TSSAA State Championship game in December.

Along the defensive line, coach Sam Williamson projected freshmen Tommy Campbell (70) and Avery Rollins (52) are two who might emerge into the spotlight. Campbell is 6-2, 250-pound first-team all-state signee from Cincinnati’s Wyoming High School.  Rollins checks in a 6-3, 230 pounds and hails from Gadsden (Ala.) City High School.


In the secondary, coach Sidney Powell said he’d be looking for Austin Tallant (14) and Jamel Cook (27) early in camp. Tallant is a 5-10, 190-pounder all-state cornerback from seven-time state champion Alcoa (Tenn.) High School. Cook was also an all-state pick during his career at Spain Park High School in Birmingham. He’s a 5-11, 175-pounder.

The biggest player on the roster, 6-foot-6, 340-pound Justin Ivory (64) is expected to work his way into a possible playing role in the offensive line, according to coach Thomas Cox. Ivory prepped at Vestavia Hills High School in suburban Birmingham.

Out at wide receiver, where coach Ron Sigler is looking to fill some vacancies, three newcomers’ names surfaced when camp opened – Steve Wilson (18), Neil Gannaway (81) and Wade Plemons (80). Wilson is a 6-3, 195-pound product of Smyrna (Tenn.) High School who played quarterback for the Bulldogs. Gannaway is a 6-4, 190-pound pass catcher from Vestavia Hills High School where he was Ivory’s teammate. Plemons is a 6-3, 185-pound walk-on addition from Loudon (Tenn.) High School.