HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Tennessee Tech.
TENNESSEE TECH (1-10)
The OVC (9th in OVC)
COACH: Dewayne Alexander – 1st year (0-0)
2017 OFFENSE: 15.8 ppg (110th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 29.5 ppg (90th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Head coach Dewayne Alexander is home again, and ready to work the same magic he did at Cumberland University from 2006 to 2012. He played for the Golden Eagles in the 1980s and has multiple stints as an assistant head coach, so fans know him well. Tennessee Tech had a tough year in 2017, but was hardly a "easy out" in every game (just ask Tennessee State, or EKU, EIU and APSU). The last winning record was in 2011 (co-OVC champs) and it may take some time to get back to that level, but there are some positives to build on here. There are 15 starters back and if that experience can be combined with an upbeat vibe within the coaching staff, this will be a program that begins to ascend and will probably ruin sombody's day some Saturday this fall.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Let's give this program a chance to breathe before we begin predicting championships. The truth is though, TTech is going to have some athletes (Dontez Byrd anyone?), it's just a matter of whether it can combine that athleticism with some team chemistry. The Golden Eagles need two wins to beat last year's mark, and the early season slate isn't easy — but let's see when/if they hit the two-win mark and then go from there.
TOP RETURNEE: LB Josh Poplar (sat out 2017 – 105 tackles in 2016, All OVC that year)
THE NEXT BEST: DE Tim Collins (Preseason All OVC – 51 tackles, 5 TFLs, 6 hurries); RB Andrew Goldsmith (589 yards rushing, 3 TDs); PK Nick Madonia (9 FGs – All OVC); Aderick Moore (leading tackler in 2017 – 95 tackles, 9.5 TFLs); OL Eric Kareem (returning starter).
TOP NEWCOMER: QB Bailey Fisher (3,341 passing yards and 43 TDs in HS last year – also rushed 1,283 yards with 27 TDs – was on campus in spring)
DID YOU KNOW?: Legendary Tennessee Tech coach Preston "Putty" Overall still stands as the program's top coach — wins wise — with 97 victories. He began coaching in 1923 and his final year was 1953, with a short hiatus in the middle. He also was an accomplished basketball coach at the school and is in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He led the Golden Eagles to an impressive tie with powerhouse Vanderbilt in 1939 and two Tangerine Bowls in Orlando.
THE QUOTE: "As a coach, when you're having the guys go through the summer workouts and conditioning, you have to make sure they understand the purpose of it. You're always having to sell them – the purpose is that you're preparing for the game in the weight room in January or March. But it's not football season then. They can sense it now. The first game is August 30 – that's only 29 days away. You start to realize the urgency of it. Fall camp really turns up that football intensity and how meaningful each practice is and how important it is to prepare. I think they understand the urgency in our first game being just around the corner." — coach Dewayne Alexander said at the open of fall drills
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #WingsUp
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @TNTechFootball
— TTU Football (@TNTechFootball) July 28, 2018
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