Cass Barnes to start at quarterback for first time
since 2007 season
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- A couple of new injuries, an apendectomy, some old injuries that haven't quite healed. The list of missing players is long as Tennessee Tech heads to Murray State Saturday to face the Racers in a 1 p.m. Ohio Valley Conference contest.
Hoping to win their fourth in a row, the Golden Eagles will be missing nine players including eight starters at kickoff, leaving head coach Watson Brown scratching his head.
"It's the luck of the draw, but you have to play the hand you're dealt," Brown said. "We've been lucky up to this point, but it hit us hard this week. We hope to get quite a few of these guys back by next week, but right now they're just not ready."
The team is already missing starting offensive tackle Malcolm Jones for the season, and has been without defensive end Charlie Seivers for several weeks. Tech suffered a handful of injuries two weeks ago at Tennessee State, but Brown was hopeful that many of them would be back in action at Murray State following an open date last weekend.
Instead, the team lost a few more this week including starting guard Scott Schweitzer with an apendectomy. Also missing from the starting lineup on offense, in addition to Jones and Schweitzer, will be tight end Cory Powers (concussion), runningback Jocques Crawford, runningback Tremaine Hudson (shoulder) and quarterback Tre Lamb (knee).
On defense, Tech will be missing linebacker Will Johnson (ankle) and cornerback Caleb Mitchell (turf toe).
The injuries will give two Golden Eagles the opportunity to make the first start of their careers. Ryan St. John will fill Schweitzer spot on the offensive line, while freshman DaJuan Brown will line up in place of Powers at tight end.
In the backfield, Dontey Gay will handle the plays that Crawford would have had and redshirt freshman Ronquez Beech will fill in for Hudson. On defense, Justin Vann returns to the starting spot at linebacker and Mauricio Wallace will start at cornerback.
The most visible change will be at quarterback, where senior Cass Barnes (pictured) will start for the first time this season in Lamb's absence. Brown has announced that junior Clint Brewster and redshirt freshman Ryan Tilghman will be the second and third options at quarterback behind Barnes.
The senior from Tullahoma played quarterback as a freshman in 2007 and started a couple of games due to injuries to Lee Sweeney and Josh Lowery. He wa 8-for-13 passing for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed 43 times for 163 yards and five touchdowns in nine games. After seeing action in place of the injured Sweeney against Austin Peay, he got the start against Tenessee State and his first collegiate completion went for a touchdown against the Tigers. Ironically, he was 5-for-6 in that game (same as his season total this year) for 44 yards. He finished the year ranked first in the OVC in pass efficiency with a 158.3 quarterback rating.
He moved to wide receiver for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but was swithed back to signal-caller this spring. In 2010, Barnes has played in five games. He is 5-for-6 passing for 11 yards, and had rushed 19 times for 57 yards.