Camp Notebook: Second day includes focus on punt game, O-line help from Omiyale

Camp Notebook: Second day includes focus on punt game, O-line help from Omiyale

By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
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 end.

Best Defensive Play of the Day:
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 possible. 
What's 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 secondary.

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 Oregon.

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 semesters.

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 history.

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 snappers.

Hensel, 45, came to Tech after three years as the Player Development and Culture Coach at the University of Northern Colorado.

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 assistant.

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 relations.

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