For an interview with C-N head football coach Ken Sparks on the first week of preseason practice, click here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – As 176 players clad in orange and white jerseys scooted around the practice field adjacent to Burke-Tarr stadium, Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks stood near mid-field observing several unfamiliar faces trying to move up on the depth chart.
"We've got some guys that are going to fill some voids and add some depth to our football team." Sparks, who's on the verge of becoming the 11th head coach to win 300 games, said. "We are still trying to uncover some and do a lot of thinking. We've seen some flashes of possibilities."
On offense, 5-9, 175 pound junior wide receiver Luther Walker (Pasadena, Calif.) and 6-2, 260 pound freshman tight end Bradley Tallman (Bluff City, Tenn.) have both impressed coaches with their pass catching and blocking ability.
Sparks said Tallman's working to fill the void after tight ends Matt Cox and Eric Benton graduated.
"He's talented… transferring in from Virginia Tech," Sparks said. "His job over the next two weeks is to eliminate some of that confusion."
Sparks indicated that confusion – a fixable problem - exists on both sides of the football. However, Sparks said that there's a hunger to many of the players working for time in the secondary where Carlos Hutton (Carrollton, Ga.), Sean Rawson (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Dante Thomas (Dalton, Ga.) are all pushing for time in the defensive backfield.
"They're young guys (with the exception of Rawson) that are green, but red hot and wide open," Sparks said. "I think they'll make something out of themselves before we're all said and done. We need them to come forth in a way where we can trust them in every down and distance situation."
"We're looking for guys who are willing to compete to separate themselves from the rest of the field," Clowney said. "Then you've got a guy like Jaycob Coleman (junior linebacker), who you expect to turn the corner and lead this team."
While Sparks wants his players to be ready on the field, Carson-Newman's 33-year headman wants his players to use preseason camp to help get ready for life too.
"We've had 26 decisions (to be saved) on our football team," Sparks said. "It's exciting to see a group of kids find a different master in their lives, instead of what the world says, it's what the Lord says. Last time I checked, He's undefeated."
Carson-Newman kicks off the 2012 campaign at home, August 30 versus Glenville State. Eagle fans can listen to the game on the Coca-Cola Eagle Radio Network on Joy 620, WRJZ-AM (Knoxville) or ESPN Radio The Zone 106.3, WPFT-FM (Sevierville). Eagle fans everywhere can watch the game online through cneagles.com.