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March 24, 2012

Moves paying off quickly as Tech completes first week of Spring drills

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Several players who have made position changes appear to be paying off quickly for the Golden Eagles as Tennessee Tech wrapped up its first week of 2012 Spring drills on Saturday.

“I see us being a younger team than we were a year ago and we’ve got a lot of improvements to make to get better, but we did get better in the first four days,” said head coach Watson Brown.

Tech worked in shorts and helmets on Tuesday and Thursday, then donned full pads for Friday and Saturday practices.

While some new faces who are moving up from redshirt years have appeared ready to make immediate contributions, some of the most impressive new looks have come from players in new locations.

The most interesting move includes what amounts to a ‘swap’ of positions between Demetrous Garrett and Josh Pleasant. A rising senior, Garrett has moved from wide receiver to cornerback. Pleasant, a redshirt freshman, has gone from cornerback to wide receiver.

Both have looked good in their new roles, according to Brown.

“Demetrous is doing a good job. He’s mature, he has good quickness and he’s a very tough kid,” Brown said. “Josh makes us even younger at receiver, but that’s okay. We’re very deep and talented there. In fact we’re younger at both cornerback and receiver across the board.”

In the secondary, Austin Tallant has moved from free to strong safety with the return of Marty Jones. When Jones was injured in the opening game last year, Tallant took over the starting role at free safety as a true freshman and earned a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer team.

“This was a good move,” Brown said. “With both of them back there, it makes us that much stronger.”

Another returnee who has looked good in his new role is Cody Matthews, who went from the “Z” outside receiver spot to “W” as an inside receiver.

One promising move among the newcomers has redshirt freshman Matthew Smith lining up at left offensive tackle. Smith was a defensive lineman while sitting out the 2011 season.

“He has been really good,” Brown said. “He’ll be pushing to start. We’re real excited about him.”

Tech is also going to benefit from the return of speedy runningback Tremaine Hudson from a redshirt season. Hudson saw extensive action as a ball carrier, receiver and kick returner in 2008 and 2009, was limited in 2010 and sat out the 2011 campaign. He had nearly 1,000 all-purpose yards as a freshman.

“Getting Tremaine back will give us a big boost,” Brown said. “We’ll have four really good backs with a lot of quickness. In addition to Hudson, Brown was talking about Adam Urbano,  Stephen Bush and Bud Golden.

“Golden is off to a really good start,” Brown said. “He’s playing the way we thought he was capable of, and we’re really deep at runningback.”

“The only disappointing thing is that we don’t have Darian Stone out here,” Brown said of the talented quarterback who will be a sophomore in the fall, but is sidelined during spring drills with mononucleosis.  

“”This was going to be a big spring for him, so we miss him,” Brown said.

Spring drills continue next week with practices Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m., and a scrimmage Saturday at 11 a.m.

Season tickets to follow the 2012 Golden Eagles may be ordered by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or calling (931) 372-3940.

Tech's 2012 schedule will be announced Sunday.