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CAMP NOTEBOOK: Indoor workout, defensive help, and checking the polls


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Heavy rains Thursday morning forced the Tennessee Tech football team to move to its indoor practice facility for the first workout of its two-a-day sessions. Meanwhile, the defensive line may be strenghened by the presence of a promising true freshman, and the Golden Eagles have received votes in the FCS Coaches Preseason Poll, announced this week.

Coach Watson Brown and his staff adjusted their practice schedule Thursday, as the team moved to the Athletic Performance Center on campus for Thursday morning's practice. Rain is in the forecast for the next several days, so more practices may be affected. Thursday's workout was scheduled for shorts, while the team returns to full pads Thursday afternoon.

A CINCINNATI ADDITION

On Wednesday, during the team's first session in full pads, true freshman Kevin Robinson-White began to emerge as a promising addition to the defensive line. He's among the young up-and-coming players who will add depth to the returning players.

  After one day in pads, defensive line coach Sam Williamson is pleased with the groups prospects.
(Scroll to the bottom to view a video interview with coach Williamson)

"You can tell we've got some talent in the group," Williamson said. "We've got some really good older guys like Jordan Johnson, Malcolm Mitchell and Lamar Moore, and we've got some really good younger guys. Kevin Robinson-White from Cincinnati is going to be special. It's too early to tell how well all these guys will mesh together, but we've got some talent."

Robinson-White (left) was a starting tackle at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, and also lettered on the track and field team in shot put. He helped the team win the Greater Cincinnati League championship and district crown, and finish runnerup in region. Robinson-White was named first-team GCL and second-team All-South West after making 48 tackles including 4.5 tackles-for-loss as a senior. A solid tackler, he also forced five fumbles.

UNRANKED, BUT GETTING NOTICED

The Golden Eagles have not cracked the Top 25 poll....yet. They are listed among the "others receiving votes" by the nationwide panel of voting coaches in the FCS Preseason Coaches Poll.

In addition, eight of Tech's 12 opponents for 2013 are either ranked in the Top 25 polls or receiving votes. Seven of Tech's 10 FCS opponents are in the poll, either ranked or receiving votes, while Wisconsin is No, 23 in the FBS preseason poll. OVC foes in the list include Eastern Kentucky (No. 19), Eastern Illinois (No. 23), Tennessee State (52 points), Jacksonville State (11 points) and UT Martin (4 points).

Both FCS non-conference opponents are also receiving votes with Indiana State (27 points) close to the Top 25. Hampton is just behind Tech with three points.

For the second straight season, the North Dakota State Bison will start the season as the No. 1 ranked team.
 
The Bison are coming off back-to-back FCS National Championships in 2011 and 2012, going 28-2 over that stretch with victories over FBS schools Minnesota and Colorado State. North Dakota State defeated Sam Houston State 39-13 in the FCS National Championship to cap a 14-1 campaign in 2012, the second consecutive season in which the two teams met in the title game. The Bison will return 18 starters, including All-American selections Billy Turner at tackle and Marcus Williams at cornerback. The Bison also bring back starting quarterback and 2012 FCS National Championship MVP Brock Jensen who threw for 2,331 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
 
NDSU received 23 of 26 first place votes to earn the top spot in the opening poll of the 2013 campaign. Montana State earned the No. 2 preseason ranking and received one first-place vote after finishing 11-2 in 2012. Fellow Big Sky member Eastern Washington is third in the poll, followed by Sam Houston State. Sam Houston State earned a first place vote, as did Eastern Kentucky, which sits at No. 19 in the poll.
 
Wofford holds down the No. 5 spot, while Central Arkansas, South Dakota State, New Hampshire, Villanova and Illinois State round out the top 10.

The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference.

Preseason 2012 FCS Coaches Preseason Poll
(August 6, 2013)

Team (No. 1 Votes)  
2012 Record  
 Points 
Final 2012 Ranking   
1. North Dakota State (23)      
14-1 645 1
2. Montana State (1) 11-2 591 5
3. Eastern Washington 11-3 549 4
4. Sam Houston State (1) 11-4 534 2
5. Wofford 9-4 450 7
6. Central Arkansas 9-3 428 10
7. South Dakota State 9-4 410 17
8. New Hampshire 8-4 386 13
9. Villanova   
8-4 386 16
10. Illinois State 9-4 379 9
11. Cal Poly 9-3 348 11
12. Towson  
7-4 347 15
13. Stony Brook 
10-3 326 12
14. Richmond 
8-3 274 18
15. James Madison 7-4
 235  21
16. Northern Iowa 5-6 218 NR
17. Lehigh  10-1 198
14
18. Northern Arizona  8-2 196
20
19. Eastern Kentucky (1)  8-3  188 19
20. Bethune-Cookman  9-3  159 23
21. Coastal Carolina  8-5 140
24
22. Montana*   
6-2 135 NR
23. Eastern Illinois 
7-5 120 25
24. Youngstown State 7-4 107 NR
25. Chattanooga    
6-5 104 NR

Others receiving votes: Wagner (87), Colgate (67), Tennessee State (52), Harvard (48), Delaware (47), The Citadel (39), Liberty (39), Arkansas Pine-Bluff (35), Indiana State (27), Stephen F. Austin (19), McNeese State (16), Penn (13), Alcorn State (12), Jacksonville State (11), Samford (10), Norfolk State (7), Alabama State (7), UC Davis (7), Southern Illinois (6), Maine (5), Albany (5), Tennessee Tech (5), UT Martin (4), Gardner Webb (4), Sacramento State (3), Hampton (3), San Diego (2), Jackson State (1), Missouri State (1), Brown (1)
* Final 6 games of 2012 vacated

Note:
The following programs are ineligible for the Coaches Poll due to their transition to the FBS- Appalachian State, Charlotte, Georgia Southern and Old Dominion.

SPECIAL EVENTS COMING SOON

Fans are reminded about the first-ever Women's Clinic, set for 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, just prior to the annual Gathering of Eagles picnic and scrimmage. The event is free, but limited to the first 100 women who call an register (931-372-3940).  Coach Watson Brown will talk briefly about football and the Golden Eagles, and answer questions from participants.

Each participant will receive a free t-shirt.

TICKETS SELLING WELL

Season tickets are on sale, with several options available. To order tickets or for more information, please visit or call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940).