The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coaching staff is now back at full strength.
Coach Russ Huesman has hired Brandon Cooper, pending university approval, as a defensive assistant, bringing UTC's number of coaches back up to 11. Cooper spent the past two seasons coaching cornerbacks at Jacksonville State.
"He's a good coach and we're fortunate to have him," Huesman told the Times Free Press on Monday.
Cooper, a Cincinnati native like Huesman, played defensive back at UT-Martin (2003-06) and began his coaching career on Jason Simpson's Skyhawks staff. He has experience coaching linebackers and cornerbacks, and Huesman said Cooper could do both at UTC.
"He's going to work with our outside linebackers and probably our nickels," Huesman said.
Last week Huesman promoted safeties coach Adam Braithwaite to defensive coordinator and hired former UTC player and assistant coach Rusty Wright to coach the linebackers. Huesman said he approached filling the final assistant spot with the goal of just hiring the best candidate, rather than finding someone for a specific position.
"You hire good people, you hire good coaches and you make it work with the rest of your staff," he said. "Brandon's going to bring a lot to the table."
It has been a busy offseason for Huesman, who had to replace both coordinators and several other assistants. He will now have his staff together for a couple of weeks before spring practice begins March 22.
Pro day canceled
UTC was scheduled to have its pro day and junior day workouts Tuesday at Scrappy Moore Field. Mocs senior defensive end Josh Williams is the only senior attempting to play pro ball, which makes it hard to get NFL scouts to come out for only one prospect.
Tuesday's workouts were canceled after no scouts had committed to coming, so they will be rescheduled.
Williams (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) was a four-year starter and is the program's all-time sack leader (23.5). Huesman said Williams is good enough to play professionally somewhere.
"I think Josh will be playing some sort of professional football next year somewhere," the coach said. "He's a good enough player. Whether he gets a shot at a free-agent deal in the NFL or not, I don't know.
"I feel pretty confident he could play in the Canadian Football League or the [Arena Football League]."
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 ...