Head coach Russ Huesman, entering his third season with the Mocs, put the team through 23 periods in a helmets-only workout. There is much anticipation surrounding the start of practice. The Mocs are talking playoffs in the preseason for the first time in a long time and many FCS publications have put Chattanooga in the top-25 heading into 2011. Today marked the first step in backing up those accolades.
UTC was in the playoff hunt for the first time in over 25 years last season and still had a chance to get in before a season-ending loss at Wofford.
"We have been waiting and anticipating for this day since the clock hit :00 at Wofford," stated senior captain and starting safety Jordan Tippit (Huntsville, Ala.). "We were in the locker room after the game talking about how it was not going to come down to the last game next year. Now is the time to make sure that doesn't happen again."
Senior linebacker and team captain Ryan Consiglio (Franklin, Tenn.) was also happy to hit the field in his final season as a Moc. The preseason first team All-Southern Conference selection said, "We are out here all summer, working out and running, and you can't really do much related to football. You are just waiting for this day to get here. When it finally does, you are just running around like a little kid again. It is a blast."
The Mocs are returning 37 letter winners from last year's team, but there are a number of freshmen who redshirted last season that are looking to make an impression in the preseason.
"There are so many young guys who have to step up," stated Huesman. "Devin Scates (Memphis, Tenn.) and Keyon Reed (Palm Bay, Fla.) at defensive tackle have to step up. Davis Tull (Knoxville, Tenn.) on the end has to have a big year for us. Chaz Moore (Memphis, Tenn.), he played a little bit last year, but he has to have a big year for us at corner. Offensively, Bryant Belew (Columbia, Tenn.), Shawn Stackhouse (Jacksonville, Fla.), a transfer from Kentucky who hasn't played a lot of football, they have to step up.
"We know what B.J. (Coleman) can do and we know what Joel (Bradford) can do. If Joel and B.J. can have the same kind of year that they had last year, along with Ryan Consiglio and Nick Davison (Calhoun, Ga.), we will be good. Those guys need to continue to get better and the rest need to step up."
The Mocs will be back on the field with a quick turnaround on Friday. An early wake-up call will help the team hit the field at 6:30 a.m. All practices are open to the public, so swing by Scrappy Moore Field on your way into work on Friday.
"Personally I like the morning practice," added Consiglio. "That is when you are the most fresh. Then you have the rest of the day to meet and get your legs back."
Joel Bradford Grabs More Preseason All-American Recognition
Senior Joel Bradford (Chattanooga, Tenn.) picked up another preseason All-American honor this week. College Sporting News put him on its second team that was announced on Wednesday. Bradford set the UTC single season record with 1,284 receiving yards last season. He is the top returner in the nation based on receiving yards.
Fobbs Gains NFL Experience
Mocs running backs coach Jamaal Fobbs was the Buffalo Bills 2011 Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship participant last week. He assisted the Bills' running backs coaching staff during training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY.
"The experience was big for me and my career because ultimately this is the kind of level of coaching that I want to get to," said Fobbs on his opportunity to participate in the fellowship. "Just being around NFL coaches and players helps me see how things work and how they operate on a day-to-day basis."
Season Ticket Count
UTC topped the 2,000 season tickets sold mark on Wednesday for the third year in a row. Today was another big day for sales and renewals. The Mocs currently sit a 2,135 for the 2011 season. The school record is 2,676 set last year. Season tickets start at $32 for youth, alumni, faculty & staff. Order online on GoMocs.com, by visiting the UTC Ticket Office in McKenzie Arena or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627). Click here for more information on Mocs football season tickets.
2011 Updated Roster
Be sure to check out the updated roster on GoMocs.com. There are 86 currently on the roster with 83 reporting to camp.
New Entrance Is Up
Fans who visit the Murphy-Haugerud Football Practice Complex at Scrappy Moore Field will notice the custom gateway to the historic facility. Just past mile-marker six of the Tennessee Riverwalk on the banks of the Tennessee River, Scrappy Moore Field has received a huge makeover in the last two years. Former Moc John Murphy, and his wife Renee Haugerud, donated funds for the upgrades that included the artificial turf and the new archway that greets coaches, student-athletes and visitors. Be sure to check the photo gallery for a view of the new entrance.