Story by Adam Stephens
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team rolled into the second day of Spring Practice at Scrappy Moore Field this afternoon. The Mocs have practiced through some cool days but had a glistening of sunshine before leaving this afternoon.
With only one day of Spring Practice under their belts, the Mocs have already been shaking up the positions with the move of senior Chris Mayes from defensive lineman to offensive linemen.
“Me and Coach Huesman discussed it at the end of last season,” Mayes said. “We both felt it was the best move for me and to help the team out so I was all for it.”
“Very hard,” Head Coach Russ Huesman stated on the difficulty of moving from defensive lineman to offensive lineman. “Especially since it’s his last year doing it. If it’s a sophomore you can say, ‘Oh, with each year he’ll get better,’ but he’s got to get better fast. We need him to be really good.”
Mayes has played defensive lineman for UTC for the past two years, redshirting in 2011 and swapping in and out of rotation in 2012 and 2013 seasons.
“Last year he was in the rotation and it was a three man rotation and he got about 25 snaps a game and he’s a competitor, 25 snaps just isn’t enough,” Huesman said.
With the swapping of Mayes on the defensive line, senior Davis Tull will carry the weight of being the upperclassmen on the opposite side of the ball who has been absent from most of Spring Practice thus far.
“It’s going to be hard because he misses Monday’s because of class and he leaves early on Wednesday because of class, so he was only out here for about 45 minutes today,” Huesman stated about Tull’s attendance at practice. “Friday and Saturday he will go but we’ll still limit him and what he does. We’ve got other guys who we need to get ready. He knows what he needs to do - He needs to be out here showing leadership.”
Tull has been a huge asset for the Mocs on the defensive side of the ball earning the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year award in the past two seasons.
The Mocs are back on the field on Friday at 4:15 p.m. This will be Chattanooga’s first practice in full pads and using full contact. The annual Blue and Gold Spring Game is set for Friday, April 11, at 7:00 p.m. at Finely Stadium.