Camp Notebook: Second day includes focus on punt game, O-line help from Omiyale
Aug 03, 2014
By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports
Video by Marc Graham, TTU Video Production Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - NFL veteran and former Golden Eagle
All-American offensive tackle Frank Omiyale was on the field Sunday
with the team, spending some time providing tips to Tennessee
Tech's offensive linemen as the team went through its second day of
2014 fall camp. Dressed in shorts and helmets, the team worked a
little over two hours.
What Happened Today: The
Golden Eagles continued to work on learning the systems and
improving techniques on its second and final day wearing shorts and
helmets. The team will add shoulder pads for Monday and Tuesday's
practices, then reach full pads on Wednesday. There was emphasis on
the punting and kicking games, and several team drills. The offense
spent most of its time working against a defense made up of
offensive players, and the defense drilled against an offense
manned by defensive players.
Best Offensive Play of the Day: Senior runningback Stephen Bush took a
handoff and burst through the middle, racing 35 yards to the end
zone like he was mowing the lawn in a hurry. A little while later,
he matched that run with a 35-yard touchdown sprint around right
Best Defensive Play of the
The defense spent most of the day working on systems and coverage,
so there were few plays to be made, especially since the teams
aren't yet in pads. Still, senior safety Marty
Jones snapped up a loose ball and took it back the other
way for what would have been a 70-yard touchdown return.
They Said It: "Put the right food in you, get enough sleep, and drink
enough to stay hydrated. You control those three things. We'll
(coaches) take care of the rest, but you need to take care of those
three things." - Head coach Watson
Brown addressing the team after practice about their
continuing emphasis on being in the best phycial condition
Next: The Golden Eagles add shoulder pads to their
attire on Monday, when they hit the field for a 9 a.m. practice in
Tucker Stadium. A special emphasis will be placed on kickoff
coverage and kickoff returns.
Frank talk up front
Frank Omiyale, an all-American at left tackle for the Golden
Eagles, is back on campus wrapping up work on the final 15 credits
that he was missing when he was drafted into the NFL. An eight-year
veteran who recently retired after a career that included time with
the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and Seattle
Seahawks, Omiyale has returned to school and will complete his work
to receive a bachelor's degree in marketing when the summer session
ends next week.
He was working with Tech's offensive linemen alongside assistant
coach Dewayne Alexander.
Full staff in action
Watson Brown completed his coaching staff during the spring and
summer, adding a couple of new names (Matt Forrest and Jim Hensel)
and moving a couple of familiar faces into assistant coaching
positions (Taylor Hennigan and Justin Matheney).
The name sounds familiar....
One of the most versatile athletes on the roster during his four
seasons on the field, Taylor Hennigan has made the transition to
the coaching staff. Hennigan received his degree in December 2012
following the completion of his final season on the field, and
worked with the Tech coaching staff as a student assistant in the
2013 season. He was named to an assistant coaching post in time for
the 2014 spring drills, and is coaching the Golden Eagle
As a player, Hennigan opened his career as a freshman receiver
in 2009 and played on special teams. He moved to defense and played
free safety the following year, filling a backup role and seeing
action in 10 of 11 games. He played in nine games as a junior in
2011, making 14 tackles and forcing a fumble. As a senior, he was a
regular on the defense, finishing the year with 30 total tackles,
one fumble recovery an one interception, which came at FBS No. 4
Following his senior season, Hennigan received the team's Tech
Pride Award. He was honored by the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the
National Football Foundation as a Scholar-Athlete, and earned a
spot on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll in six of his eight
A local standout at Cookeville High School, Hennigan was named
first-team All-Region 3-5A as a senior after spending the year
serving as team captain for the Cavaliers. He was a four-year
letterman and three-year starter, chalking up 72 total tackles, six
forced six fumbles, and five fumble recoveries as a senior. He also
made five interceptions. In his prep career he played six different
positions, including quarterback, passing for more than 2,200 yards
and 35 touchdowns. He was also the team's long snapper all four
seasons, lettered in track & field twice for coach Bill
Wrasman, and basketball three years under coach Kevin Bray.
His father, Mike, is a former Golden Eagle All-American and
served as Tech's head football coach from 1996 to 2005.
His face is also familier...
Matt Forrest, who worked at Ohio Valley Conference member Murray
State during the 2010-2012 seasons, and spent the past year as the
runningbacks coach at Morehead State, has joined the coaching staff
at Tennessee Tech where he oversees the development of Golden Eagle
tight ends and H-backs.
Forrest coordinated travel, assisted with on-campus recruiting and
handled other administrative duties in his role as Murray
State’s director of operations. The Racers ranked among the
Football Championship Subdivision’s top five offenses in each
of his three years.
Prior to his three-year operations stint at Murray State, Forrest
spent the 2009-10 school year as a student assistant coach for the
men’s basketball program at Huntingdon College (Ala.).
Forrest was a quarterback at Huntingdon from 2006-09. He led
the Hawks to their first NCAA Division III playoff berth in 2009
and was part of the most successful senior class in school
Forrest played three years of high school football in
Murfreesboro, Tenn. He was a quarterback and long snapper at
Riverdale in 2003, before assuming the same positions at Oakland in
2004 and 2005. He was named team captain his senior year and
earned multiple awards.
During his college days, Forrest spent three summers working in an
operations role with the Double-A Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits minor
league baseball team. He served as a clubhouse manager, clubhouse
assistant and grounds crew member for the 2008, 2009 and 2010
professional baseball seasons.
Forrest earned a bachelor’s degree in coaching education
from Huntingdon in 2010.
Special teams and culture
Jim Hensel joined the Tennessee Tech football staff in the spring
as an Assistant Coach and Director of Football Operations and
Culture. His assignments are diverse and include football
operations and community relations responsibilities. As the Culture
Coach, Hensel works directly with the Tech student-athletes to
develop them as individuals, intellectually and socially. In
addition he will coach the Golden Eagle kickers, punters and long
Hensel, 45, came to Tech after three years as the Player
Development and Culture Coach at the University of Northern
Over the last decade he has directed the Strength and Honor Code
Foundation and authored the “Pathway to Purpose” a
process designed to help individuals, coaches, business and teams
define themselves. This process creates tools by identifying core
values, putting philosophy into language, and developing an
authentic culture to help each participant reach full potential on
the field and in life.
A native of Loveland, Colorado, Hensel graduated from Loveland
High School in 1987. He was a four-time letterwinner and four-year
starter at cornerback at the University of Northern Colorado,
before earning a bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in
Coaching in 1992.
Up through the ranks...
Justin Matheney has risen through the ranks within the Golden
Eagle program, and now holds the position of assistant coach where
he works with Tech's strong safeties and nickels. He has been
working on the staff for the past three seasons as a student
A native of Cookeville, he is a 2009 graduate of Cookeville High
School where he was a four-year member of the Cavalier football
team and a three-year letterman under coach Jerry Joslin. A tight
end and strong safety, he helped Cookeville capture the 2007
district title and advance into the TSSAA playoffs.
Upon graduation from CHS, he attened Nashville State for three
semesters, then enrolled at Tech in the spring of 2011. He
approached Watson Brown and asked if he could participate as an
undergraduate, and spent three years working with the team while
assisting with the team's defensive linemen.
Matheney received his bachelor's degree from Tech in May in
communications, with double emphasis on journalism and public
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.