Watson Brown: We're a team made up of many unsung heroes
Oct 14, 2011
Three offensive linemen among those considered
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech is bidding for an Ohio Valley
Conference football championship in 2011, and heads into Saturday
night's 7 p.m. contest against Tennessee State with a four-game
winning streak and a perfect 3-0 record as co-leader in the league
If coach Watson Brown's team remains unbeaten in the OVC and downs
the visiting Tigers, odds are strong that a bevy of "unsung heroes"
will play pivotal roles in the victory -- just as they have in the
first five games of the year.
"We're a team made up of many unsung heroes," Brown said in the
preseason. "These guys are all willing to do whatever it takes,
play whatever role we ask of them, for this team to be successful.
From week to week, we don't know who will step up and make the
plays that win games, but there are a lot of guys who are capable
of doing that."
There are certainly some headliners on the team, including
offensive standouts Tre Lamb, Tim Benford and Dontey Gay, who all
rank at or near the top of the league in numerous categories. But,
even Gay -- who leads the OVC in rushing, scoring and all-purpose
yards -- has stepped forward. He came into the year listed second
on the depth chart behind junior newcomer Adam Urbano. When Urbano
was injured in the first game of the season, Gay took over and has
been simply phenomenal.
The list of unsung heroes is long, too. Ask any coach or player,
and chances are you will get different answers.
Gay points to a pair of offensive players, senior guard Slade
Adams (number 73 in the photo above) and back Zack Ziegler. Adams
is a junior who is in his third season as a starter, helping to
give the Golden Eagles an veteran and efficient offensive line.
Ziegler ranks fourth on the team with 12 catches for 148 yards and
one touchdown. Last year at TSU, Ziegler turned a short reception
into a touchdown when he bulled his way into the end zone. Two
weeks ago, in Tech's win at UT Martin, he led Tech with six
receptions for 77 yards, including the game-wining, 14-yard catch
in the final miute.
"Everybody knows Slade," Gay said. "He's a guy not to be messed
with. That's a guy I love to run behind. And Zack, even though he
doesn't get the ball very much, when he does get the ball he always
makes something happen."
Tim Benford leads the OVC in receiving yards and is second in
catches per game. He's inching closer to school career records in
both categories, this year making 32 catches for 492 yards and four
touchdowns. His two picks for unsung heroes come from both sides of
On offense, Benford names Tech's other starting guard, Scott
Schweitzer, and on defense he lists senior linebacker Jake
McIntosh. Schweitzer was a preseason all-OVC selection, and
compliments Adams on the other side of the center in anchoring the
offensive line. McIntosh is the starter at an inside linebacker
position. He ranks fifth on the team in total tackles this season
with 28, andalso has one pass interception and one fumble
"I'd say Jake McIntosh and Scott Schweitzer," Benford explains.
"Both of them are such a big part of our team. Scott's been here
three years, and he gets aggressive on game days. I know we can
always count on him, but offensive linemen don't get much credit.
On defense, Jake is always round the ball. He makes things happen
and he knows how to play."
Quarterback Tre Lamb has also earned his share of headlines this
season, leading the OVC in passing efficiency and ranking among
conference leaders in passing and total offense. He has thrown for
1,100 yards and eight touchdowns. No surprise, but he selects
junior center Michael Baker as an unsung hero on offense, while
pointing out long snapper Jordan Adams on special teams.
"Number one, it would have to be Michael Baker," Lamb said. "He
doesn't get a lot of credit. He doesn't talk that much, but all
through off-season he's probably the hardest-working guy we've got.
He leads the offenensive line each and every week by example. He's
does things right, and he's probably the strongest guy we've
Tech's special teams have been effective during the past three
years with Adams snapping the ball on punts, field goals and PAT
attempts. He's always one of the first downfield on punt coverage,
and his play has drawn "unsung" recognition from Lamb.
"Second, I'd say Jordan Adams. He's probably the best snapper in
the conference. Nobody knows who the snapper is until he messes up.
I'd like to give a shout out to him," Lamb said. "He's done a great
job ever since I've been here. He's really getting the job done on
Opinions were widespread on naming unsung heroes. Some of the
others who received the most comments include punter Nick Campbell,
fullback Charlie Stevens, freshman rover Austin Tallant, defensive
tackle Travis Adkins, and cornerback Corey Watson. Come Saturday
night, any of those players -- or anyone on the roster, for that
matter -- could be the guy to lift Tech to it's fifth victory in a
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The Magic 98.5 Tailgate Park opens at 4 p.m.
for pregame festivities. At halftime, both the Tech and TSU
Marching Bands will perform. FOllowing the game is the final
fireworks display of the season.
On the field, expect a great game with another round of "unsung
heroes" for the Golden Eagles.
Tickets for the game are on sale online, or at the Athletics Ticket
Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. The ticket
windows at the stadium will open Saturday at 6 p.m.