It didn't take long for Derrick Lott to make an impression on his new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga teammates.
"Lott looks amazing," Mocs defensive end Josh Williams said last month of the University of Georgia transfer — a 6-foot-4, 303-pound defensive tackle.
Asked for his take, Mocs strength coach Scott Bricks said, "He looks like he belongs at Georgia."
A former four-star recruit from Kennesaw, Ga., Lott left the Bulldogs in search of more playing time. He spent the summer in Chattanooga working out with his new teammates and adjusting to the Mocs' 4-3 scheme after playing for two seasons in Georgia's 3-4.
"I'm working and I feel good today," Lott said following Saturday's morning practice at Scrappy Moore Field.
After walking off the field feeling "aggravated" on Friday, Mocs coach Russ Huesman said he felt much better about Saturday's practice and the condition of his team.
"It was a better day today," he said. "They need to know what's expected every day, and I'm not sure if they had that thought process coming in yesterday."
Huesman attributed Friday's cramping and apparent lack of conditioning to players not hydrating enough in the days leading up to practice. He also said the players getting about a week off from workouts before camp didn't help them report in peak condition.
For most of the past three seasons, a lack of depth on the Mocs' defensive line — especially inside — has been an issue. That's not the case any longer. Lott and Navy transfer Chris Mayes, the 6-3, 295-pounder who sat out last season, join a group of four returning defensive tackles — all of whom played a lot of snaps as true or redshirt freshmen last season.
True freshmen Josh Freeman and Toyvian Brand started 10 games and five, respectively. As redshirt freshmen, Keyon Reed started three and Devin Scates appeared in six games. Freeman and Reed made the Southern Conference All-Freshman team, along with defensive end Davis Tull.
Between Tull and Williams, UTC's all-time sack leader, on the ends and the big group of players available to play inside, the Mocs' defensive line has the chance to be among the best in the Football Championship Subdivision.
"We have a ridiculous amount of talent on the defensive line this year," Williams said. "There's so many different guys and I think we're going to be really, really good."
Lott said he and "Big Mayes" playing together could make for a formidable duo.
"We're both big guys and I feel good about it," he said. "We talk and we're like, 'We've got to dominate.' It's a good opportunity for both of us."
The Mocs will practice in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) for the first time today. Their first practice in full pads will be Tuesday. ... Huesman said the first five days of practice mostly involve installing the offensive and defensive systems. ... Practice resumes this morning at 7:45.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth 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 ...