The last time University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive tackle Derrick Lott faced a triple-option team, the 6-foot-4, 303-pound junior had 15 tackles.
What Lott did on Oct. 27, in Georgia Southern's triple-overtime win over the Mocs, was "unheard of," UTC coach Russ Huesman said last week. Officially the number is 15, though UTC's coaches found two more.
Defensive linemen are supposed to be disruptive; seldom are they the ones making tackles. Against the triple-option, which uses so many runs up the middle, the Eagles were coming right at him and Lott was able to shed GSU's blockers and make stops.
"I'm sure that's the most tackles that I've ever had in my life," the University of Georgia transfer said.
Most of the time the action is physical and mean at the line of scrimmage, but making tackles is fun.
"It gets me hyped," Lott said, "and I want the defensive line and linebackers and DBs to see me and go, 'He's hyped; let's get hyped with him.' It's a great experience getting a tackle, especially a tackle for loss or a big stop on third-and-inches."
Lott's most impressive play against Georgia Southern was made far from the line of scrimmage. On the Eagles' first drive, quarterback Jerick McKinnon ran right for a 17-yard gain, and it was Lott who brought him down from behind.
It was a play worthy of being watched more than a few times in the film room.
"I didn't realize I was moving that fast," Lott said.
The Mocs (5-4, 4-2 Southern Conference) and Lott will face Wofford's option Saturday. That means a heavy dose of 5-11, 230-pound fullback Eric Breitenstein, who has 1,396 yards and 14 touchdowns on 188 carries this season.
Lott had six tackles and a sack against Western Carolina last week, and he's fourth on the team with 46 stops. Huesman was willing to brag on Lott's play against GSU and in the second half against the Catamounts.
"Well, let's give him one and a half," Huesman said when asked if Lott had played two solid games in a row. "The first half last week was horrible."
The half was horrible for all of UTC's defense, which allowed 13 first downs and 255 yards of WCU offense. In the second, UTC gave up one first down and 33 total yards.
"You can write all you want about Derrick," Huesman said, "but he hasn't arrived yet."
That may be a disturbing thought for opposing offenses.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.
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 ...