From three different Golden Eagle perspectives, optimism runs deep,


By Callen Harrell, TTU Sports Information Intern

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- After an injury-plagued 2012 season, the Tennessee Tech football team is preparing for a better year in Tucker Stadium in 2013. Optimism runs deep, and is shared on every level.

That positive outlook is reflected in Tre Lamb, a former player who joins the coaching staff; in James Normand, a returning senior starter in the offensive line; in Marty Jones, who will get back into action after missing nearly all of the last two years due to injuries.

While they come into the season from slightly different perspectives, each is anxious to get the new season underway.

The new face on the staff, four-year letterwinner and three-year starting quarterback Tre Lamb has taken over as the quarterback coach for 2013.           

Lamb got a little taste of the coaching life last season when Darian Stone took over the starting role after Lamb suffered a season-ending injury. Lamb was coached and influenced by his father (Hal) and uncle (Bobby) prior to his time at Tech, and is also greatly influenced by Golden Eagle head coach, Watson Brown. Lamb said he would like to take the positives from all of their coaching styles and implement them into his style.

“I thought it would be harder than it is, making the transition to coach from player,” Lamb said, just days before fall camp is scheduled to get underway. “All of the guys that I’m coaching were underclassmen and a couple of years younger than me. But I feel like they respect me as much as when I was a player, if not more now that I’m a coach. I look forward to grinding it out and helping these guys the best I can.”

Lamb is excited for the 2013 season and is anxious for his first full year on the sidelines. “I think we’ve improved greatly and that the guys are really buying in,” Lamb said. “Everybody on this team believes that they can win and that’s the attitude we’ve got to have.”

One of those believers is senior offensive lineman James Normand, one of 12 seniors on the team and one of only two seniors on the O-line for the Golden Eagles. Normand, along with fellow senior Wesley Sherrill and redshirt junior Randall Reeves, will anchor the middle of the line with two underclassmen at either tackle position.

“I’m not too worried about anything on the line,” Normand said. “Everybody has done great this spring and summer working on different blocking schemes to allow Darian (Stone) to do more with the ball and eliminate turnovers.” 

On the other side of the ball, one Golden Eagle who will be trying to force some turnovers is defensive back Marty Jones. The redshirt junior has been injury plagued over the last two seasons and says that he is definitely ready to get back to the playing field in 2013.

“(Strength) Coach (Chip) Pugh has been really working on flexibility and fine-tuning us this season as opposed to getting everyone bulked up and more prone to injuries,” Jones said.

The Tech defense had a couple of players ranked among the top 10 in the conference in tackles last season and Jones is confident that this year’s defense will be even better.

“Coach (Donn) Landholm has transitioned pretty seamlessly into the coordinator position,” Jones said. “ That is a role that he’s had experience in at EKU and I think that it will spell good things for our defense.”

Lamb, Normand and Jones all agree that the team has shown great improvement from the end of the 2012 season to the spring and summer practices, and are anxious for camps to start Friday, Aug. 2.

But the players are not limiting their efforts to the gridiron. The Golden Eagle football team hosted an FCA football camp on campus, went to work at the Mustard Seed Ranch, and even did some building on a local Habitat for Humanity home. 

“Any time we get a chance to help out in the community we jump on it and we’re more than happy to help,” Jones said.

“The guys enjoy doing things like that and coach Brown is big on community help and that’s one of the reasons he gets the amount of respect that he does,” Lamb said.

The Golden Eagles will kick off the season at Tucker Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 29, against Cumberland University. Season tickets to follow the Golden Eagles are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. Tickets may also be purchased online at TTUsports.com.