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In recent years, Tennessee Tech has tried to change the college football world with a new position: the quarterback wing. That experiment…didn’t quite have the desired effect. That doesn’t mean the Golden Eagles though can’t find their way back to the top of the conference. Here are three reasons TTU can win the OVC.

1. TTU’s new HC has a strong background

Temple football had a season to remember last year: The Owls won their first seven games, (and nearly knocked Notre Dame in game No. 8) and advanced all the way to the American Athletic Conference Championship, before falling to Houston. The man in charge of the Owls offense last year — is now at the helm of Tennessee Tech.

Marcus Satterfield takes over for the Golden Eagles after Watson Brown's 9 years at the helm

Marcus Satterfield takes over for the Golden Eagles after Watson Brown’s 9 years at the helm

Marcus Satterfield was named the program’s head coach in January, after spending three years as an offensive coordinator for the Owls. Satterfield has OVC, and Tennessee ties as well: Satterfield’s career began as an assistant at Chattanooga, where he returned in 2009 for a stint as OC. He was also a grad assistant at UT, and spend three years at UT Martin, before now winding his way to Tennessee Tech.

The man in charge of the Owls offense last year — is now at the helm of Tennessee Tech.

Satterfield’s offense could be good news for TTU’s rushing attack: Temple’s RB Jahad Thomas finished third in rushing in the American Conference a year ago, and the Owls ran for nearly 150 yards a game.

 

2. New QB brings FBS experience

Last year saw the season end with one of the team’s top wide receivers under center, which is less than ideal. This year, Brock McCoin heads back to wide out, as Marshall transfer Michael Birdsong (pictured above) takes over the helm of the Golden Eagles offense.

Birdsong spent two years at Marshall (sitting out one as a transfer) — playing as a freshman and sophomore at FCS James Madison. In his second year there, Birdsong connected on 60% of his passes, and threw for 2,728 yards and 22 touchdowns. He’s a big man, listed at 6’5, 241 lbs, and he’s not afraid to take off, rushing 129 times as a sophomore.

Things didn’t go as well at Marshall — after winning a QB battle, Birdsong struggled early in the his one season on the field, including throwing three picks in the first two games. But, Birdsong is a proven QB at the FCS level, and brings two years experiencing playing with FBS talent. TTU only gets him for one year — but it gives the team’s new head coach a great weapon to begin building his offense around.

 

3. Pass defense could challenge top teams

If you can’t stop the pass, you’re going to drop games. Thankfully for the Golden Eagles, they bring back seven starters on defense, including senior Maleek Hall, who ranked second nationally a year ago in passes defended/game. Hall had 17 pass breakups last year, while registering 64 tackles.

Hall is also a special teams threat — blocking a pair of kicks last season.

If you can’t stop the pass, you’re going to drop games

With the OVC having two QB’s named by Athlon Sports as among the best in the FCS, having a stout pass defense is a must for any team wishing to challenge for the conference crown.


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OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVCOverall

EAST

Belmont8-014-4
Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14

WEST

UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
SEMO5-310-13
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12
SIUE0-85-17
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