published Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Football Mocs start positively

Latest line

One of the big areas of interest for the Mocs this spring is the offensive line, which has to replace a trio of three-year starters. The Times Free Press will track the line’s progress during each practice throughout the spring.

The first unit in Saturday’s practice was comprised of left tackle Taylor Dodds, left guard Omre Harris, center Austin Wilson, right guard Will Hewitt and right tackle Adam Miller. Harris, Wilson and Miller all have extensive experience, Hewitt has played some and Dodds is a freshman.

“We’re trying to overload them right now with so many difference schemes,” offensive line coach Geep Wade said. “We added five runs [Saturday] and there will be five runs [today], and then when we get pads on it will be review, so hopefully they’ll play faster.”

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team kicked off spring practice with a mostly sharp and upbeat workout Saturday morning at Scrappy Moore Field.

Coach Russ Huesman had a smile on his face and nothing but positive things to say as he walked off the field at the end of practice, which lasted about two hours.

“I thought it was enthusiastic, spirited and the recall was good,” he said. “I thought they knew how to practice.”

Practicing in shorts and helmets, as they will today as well, the Mocs did a mix of individual drills and offense-versus-defense periods.

“When you get the pads on, that’s when you start getting fundamentally sound and you’re doing things the right way with pads on,” Huesman said. “That’ll come Monday.”

Quarterback B.J. Coleman appeared to be in midseason form for most of the practice, especially on his long throws to wide receiver Marlon Anthony.

“We really want to work on that this spring,” Coleman said of the deep balls. “We want to be a big-play-threat type offense.”

In all but one game last season, Coleman completed at least one pass for 30 or more yards, and UTC had eight touchdown receptions of at least 30 yards.

After two seasons with Justin Galyon snapping him the ball most of the time, Coleman and center Austin Wilson had no problems with the snap Saturday.

Wilson played in nine games, starting one, at center in 2009 and started eight games at left guard last season, and Coleman said his familiarity with Wilson has made the transition easy.

“It’s huge just because the center position is so vital,” he said. “That’s where the play starts, as everybody knows, and it’s got to go from him to the quarterback’s hands. That is a huge deal.

“You have to have chemistry with that guy, and you’ve got to know him.”

Among the small group of observers were Coleman’s father Bryon, who played at UTC with Huesman, and younger brother Jarrod, a senior at McCallie and a UTC signee.

Also looking on were two other signees: Huesman’s son, Baylor quarterback Jacob Huesman, and Northwest Whitfield offensive lineman Synjen Herren.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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