Tennessee Tech to debut new offensive wrinkle

Cookeville, TN ( - The "QW" listed on the Tennessee Tech football team's depth chart appears to be a typo at first glance.

It's not. It's the new "quarterback at wing" position the Golden Eagles will debut Thursday night against visiting Kentucky Christian.

Eighth-year coach Watson Brown's "QW" position puts two quarterbacks on the field at all times. One quarterback will be the traditional one under center and the other one will line up wide of the snap in various formations.

For Tech, 6-foot-4, 225-pound sophomore Jared Davis (935 passing yards and nine touchdowns last season) will open the 2014 campaign in the traditional QB role, while 6-foot, 185-pound senior Darian Stone (1,008 passing yards, 523 rushing yards, and 11 combined passing and rushing scores) will be in the QW role.

"It's kind of two different philosophies when which one's in there," Brown said. "We just jump them in and out and go fast. I'm really anxious to see how this works. I've always wanted to do it. Now I'm getting a shot at it."

Brown, the brother of former Texas coach Mack Brown, also has been the head coach at Austin Peay, Cincinnati, Rice, Vanderbilt and UAB. He said he has considered the QW since the 1980s, but he believes this is the first season in which he's returned two experienced quarterbacks who have the necessary qualities to make the offense run.

Stone's slash kind of role in the offense may be similar to what Kordell Stewart once provided the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both of the Golden Eagles' quarterbacks will have the ability to catch, run or throw the ball.

"I really like it," Stone said. "(It's) change actually. I never really played out in space really before, so it's going to be a lot different than actually playing quarterback."

Tennessee Tech could use a boost this season. Since earning a share of the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference title and qualifying for the FCS playoffs, the Golden Eagles are a combined 3-13 in conference games the last two seasons.

"It's going to progress as the year goes on, hopefully," Brown said. "But it's going to be a big piece of what we do."