Camp Notebook: Three players in the mix at critical defensive end spot
Aug 13, 2014
By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports
Video by Tom Hollander, Video Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Perfect weather greeted the Tennessee
Tech football team Wednesday morning for a two-hour practice
session in full pads. Temperatures had dropped slightly and the
humidity was way down. A slight breeze made things pretty pleasant
on the turf of Overall Field.
What Happened Today: The Golden Eagles worked
for two hours in the morning in full pads, and spent their
afternoon session in shorts and helmets. The morning session
included work on the two-minute drill along with kickoff coverage
and kickoff returns.
Best Offensive Play of the Day: Senior runningback Stephen Bush took a pitch and raced around left end,
beating the cornerback to the corner, and turning on the speed as
he turned up the sideline for a 45-yard touchdown scamper. Bush is
a 5-9, 200-pound ball carrier from Cookeville High School.
Best Defensive Play of the
In full team drills, redshirt freshman Joe
Robertson made a tremendous tackle as the offense was trying to
move off its own goal line. Robertson shed his blocker and met
runningback Willie Davis with a resounding crunch to halt the play.
Robertson is a 6-3, 225-pound tackle from Franklin, Tenn., who
attended Page High School.
They Said It: "We've still got time to get better. We're making this
football team right now. Once the season starts, we won't have time
to do that. We need to make this team right
now." - Head coach Watson Brown talking to the
Golden Eagles as a group at the conclusion of Wednesday morning's
practice in Tucker Stadium.
Next: The team has only one practice session scheduled
for Thursday, that being at 9 a.m. in full pads. A morning session
in shorts is set for Friday, then Saturday fans will get a chance
to see the Golden Eagles in action at the annual Gathering of
Eagles and the second full scrimmage of fall camp. The event is
Defense filling a hole
From 2000 to 2006, Malcolm was in the Middle on the popular
television series. From 2012-13, Malcolm -- a completely different
Malcolm, of course -- was out on the edge, playing defensive end
for Tennessee Tech. However, with the departure of Malcolm Mitchell
from his position on the defensive line, Tennessee Tech has a
rather gaping hole to fill in 2014.
"On defense, that's probably the biggest piece that's missing,"
said veteran coach Watson Brown. "Malcolm was just so consistent,
and he was an all-OVC calibre player out there. We've had several
years in a row where we didn't have to worry about that position.
The last two years it was Malcolm, and before him we had Jamere
Replacing Mitchell will fall to a trio of promising players, each
of whom has the potential to emerge as a similar performer with the
opportunity to become a game-changer. They are juniors Harrison
Reid (Cincinnati) and Avery Rollins (Gadsden, Ala.) and sophomore
Jordan Patrick (Alcoa, Tenn.). All three saw action last season,
and all three are mixing it up during fall camp.
The group didn't open camp that way. Rollins was working inside at
a tackle position, while the end spot included Reid, Patrick and
sophomore Jordan Carroll (Birmingham, Ala.). Two things have
happened. First, Reid pulled a hamstring in late July and missed
the entire first week of fall camp. With him on the sidelines, the
coaching staff moved Rollins to the end to fill in, and he has
adapted so well they are leaving him in the spot. At the same time,
Carroll was moved to a linebacker position. That left Patrick and
Rollins for a brief while. With Reid's return, Brown feels
confident that the three can share playing time and give the Golden
Eagles plenty of punch at the position.
"We need all three of them at that position," Brown said, "and all
three of them are doing a good job."
Even though Mitchell has wrapped up his playing career, he will
still have an influence on the position this season, according to
"I was a roomate on the road with Malcolm last year, and some of
his personality rubbed off on me," Reid insists. He lists those
traits as a positive attitude and being 'goofy'.
"He also taught me a lot about the position, and got my technique
right," Reid says. "Technique is the biggest part of it, and he
corrected me on the field. I wasn't staying focused on my man or my
assignment. I wasn't beating my opponent. I was a big risk-taker,
and I was immature as a player. He helped me to realize that, and
this year I'm more focused on my assignment and helping the team.
I'm not so much of a risk taker."
Reid (above), who played at Winton Woods High School in
Cincinnati, helped the Warriors win their first-ever Ohio Division
II state championship as a sophomore in 2009 with a 13-2 record. As
a senior, he led the team with 10 quarterback sacks. Upon his
arrival at Tech, he saw limited action in 2012 as a true freshman
but last season was on the field in every game including a starting
nod at Wisconsin. Of his 13 total tackles, six were behind the line
of scrimmage for losses.
Like Reid, Patrick (far left) won a state championship during his
high school career. His senior season for Alcoa High School
included 84 total tackles. A 2011 graduate, Patrick first enrolled
at Tech in the 2011-12 season but was not a member of the football
team. He became a walk-on member of the roster beginning with the
2012 season, and went through 2013 spring drills before earning
plenty of playing time in his first year. After coming off
the bench in the first two games of the 2013 season, he
earned a starting role for the remaining 10 games and made 38 total
Rollins (near left) doesn't have a high school state championship
to his credit, but he was a standout two-way starter at Gadsden
City High School and helped the team win three consecutive region
titles. As a senior, he had 90 tackles including 12
tackles-for-loss and five quarterback sacks. He spent one redshirt
season at Tech in 2011, then played in every game during the last
"There's pretty good competition between us," Reid says. "We're
teamates, and we talk trash to each other when we mess up, but
we're all brothers and teammates, and we are all working toward the
Get your season tickets
The Golden Eagles will host six home football games during the
2014 season, opening against Kentucky Christian on Thursday, Aug.
28. After that, Tech will welcome Murray State on Saturday, Oct. 4
(7 p.m.), Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 18 (7 p.m.), Eastern
Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 1 (1:30 p.m.), Southeast Missouri for
Homecoming on Saturday, Nov. 8 (1:30 p.m.), and Chattanooga on
Saturday, Nov. 15 (1:30 p.m.).
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.
Women's Clinicand Gathering of
Just a reminder that the second annual Women's Clinic is this
coming Saturday as part of a day full of activities for the
Gathering of Eagles. The "Now You Know" Women's Football Clinic
begis at 10:30 a.m. Head coach Watson Brown will host the event
which is free, but space is limited. The first 100 participants to
sign-up (by calling 931-372-3940) will receive a specially desiged
tote bag and an opportunity to tour the TTU athletic