It has been a focus throughout spring practice, for the Golden Eagle football team to show not only Cookeville but also the state of Tennessee that Tennessee Tech football is changing its style. The team got its opportunity to show its new brand to football fans in East Tennessee April 2. Tech traveled to Alcoa High School in Alcoa, Tennessee for its first scrimmage of the 2015 spring practice campaign.
“It’s great for the kids to see that they can be one of the best programs in the country that people do care about what we are doing and do care about our brand,” said head coach Marcus Satterfield.
Spectators in Alcoa had the opportunity to see the Golden Eagles in game-like situations in a 38-play scrimmage. The scrimmage combined with red-zone situation plays gave Tech 56 offensive snaps. Play selection was slightly skewed toward running plays as the Golden Eagles ran 30 running plays to 26 passing.
“We are going to run the football, and we are going to shorten the game, play great defense and win the kicking game,” said Satterfield. “We are going to take advantage of explosive plays and our playmakers, but until we get everybody established, knowing what they can do and how we are going to use them- we have got to be great at running the football.”
Trey Burks led the team on the day rushing the football. The Tullahoma, Tennessee native carried the ball 13 times for 48 yards.
“It was fun coming out here in front of a crowd, especially at a good place like Alcoa,” said Burks. “We brought a lot of energy and it was just good to get that game feel this early in the offseason.”
Tech was led in passing by 2015 Robert Hill Johnson Award winner Brock McCoin. McCoin was 6-for-12 passing for 104 yards including a 31-yard touchdown to Krys Cates. Cates was the day’s leading receiver making two catches for 51 yards.
Tech’s offense garnered a lot of attention, but the Golden Eagle defense made them work for it by limiting the offense’s big plays. The defense also held its own on third down coming up with five stops. Satterfield sees potential in Tech’s defense, but acknowledges they have room for improvement.
“They (defensive line) are getting better. That is probably the one area that we have got to get better at is up front on both sides,” said Satterfield about the Golden Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines. “I think that we have a chance to be in the upper echelon of our league defensively, defensive line wise.”
Satterfield and his staff are still searching for clear-cut starters on the offensive line. There are currently no frontrunners in the group.
“I think up front offensively, we have really got to find some guys to step up,” said Satterfield. “All the spots are open right now. There are no starters. We have got to find some guys to step up and really start to show us what they can do, quickly because we are a little deficient at that spot right now.”
Satterfield mentioned some players that have had productive springs so far and who are showing signs of improving.
“Brady Bose at offensive tackle is doing a good job. I think the receivers as a group is the most consistent group,” stated Satterfield. “Maleek Hall, just like we thought going in, is going to be a really good player in the back end. I think Deontay Wilson (safety) has really stepped up and showed us that he wants to be physical.”
Tech’s appearance in Alcoa also featured the team’s regular individual drills and its individual competitions like the “ Tire Wars” that have now become synonymous with the team and the “10-yard wars” that were focused on the offensive and defensive lines and on the toughness of the running backs.
Tech will be back in familiar territory April 5 for practice in Cookeville.