COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Three weeks on the field, including two weeks in pads, and the Tennessee Tech football team is going in the right direction, according to head coach Watson Brown. The annual Purple/Gold Spring Scrimmage is coming up Saturday afternoon in Tucker Stadium.
"We're like any team in the spring, we're getting some injuries, but not the serious ones like we did a year ago," Brown said Thursday after the team's spirited workout. "That's letting some other guys get some reps and I'm pleased with where we are. We need to finish this, though. I think the next week, week-and-a-half is very, very important to us."
Brown and his staff have been concentrating on teaching the players on two fronts. They are coaching technique as well as coaxing the team into playing with passion.
"It's just as much the spirit of competing and knowing how to compete as it is in knowing what to do and how to do it," Brown said. "We're trying to develop as many good football players as we can."
With 32 returning starters, a number that is inflated because the team did sustain so many season-ending injuries last year, the Golden Eagles will head into the 2013 campaign with loads of experience.
That doesn't mean, however, that some new faces won't emerge in the fall. And, those new faces will be a combination of incoming players as well as redshirts who sat out the 2012 season.
One of those who was on the sidelines in 2012 is Cody Forbes, a junior runningback from Elizabethton, Tenn. Forbes some limited action in 2010 and 2011, but sustained a shoulder injury in the final game of his second season, Tech's FCS playoff game against Central Arkansas.
He underwent shoulder surgery in December, and was out of action for the entire 2012 season as a redshirt.
Now completely healed, he's ready to take on a bigger role in Tech's deep backfield stable of runningbacks.
"Cody was a good player as a sophomore, and then he had shoulder surgery in the off-season," Brown said. "We held him out last year and redshirted him because we were deep at runningback, and now we've got him for two more years."
Forbes is getting plenty of reps this spring, and showing the power and elusive running skills that were becoming evident in his previous two seasons.
"I've just been doing the things that my coaching staff has asked me to do," Forbes said of his year on the sidelines. "I spent a lot of time in the training room, I have been working real hard in the APC (Athletics Performance Center), so I'm pretty much just doing as I'm told."
His work off the field has put him in a position to spend a lot of time on the field in 2013.
"I feel as close to 100 percent as I ever have," he said.