While his on-field ability and desire speak for themselves, the last hurdle for Jacob Revis to clear before he has the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga center's job solidified is the volume of his actual voice.
The redshirt freshman's introverted nature makes him perfectly suited for the anonymity offensive linemen usually work in, but it doesn't make easy the constant communication required for the position -- center is in charge of making the offensive line's pre-snap calls.
"He's not the most loquacious guy, but I'm working on it to bring that out in him more," said UTC offensive line coach Chris Malone. "Basically I have to stand there and make him make the call every play right now because that's one part that just doesn't come naturally to him. He's playing with older guys around him who have all been in more battles and know more about it, so that makes it even tougher to get comfortable speaking out.
"But at the end of the day he's gotten better every practice and he responds well to the constructive criticism. He doesn't have a lot of emotion, so you don't really know what he's thinking. But that's what my wife says about me, so I can relate to that a little. I'm trying to get him to realize it's not a death sentence having to play center."
A former two-time all-state player at Rhea County, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Revis spent last season learn the system from the scout team. He's now one of just two new linemen the Mocs are breaking in along the line, joining senior Chris Mayes who is making the switch from defensive line to right guard.
"The starting five this year is already meshing really well. They took me under their wing and treat me like I've already been here for several years," said Revis, whose brother Kevin was a three-year starter at guard for the Mocs. "You get tons of reps when you're on the scout team, so last year I tried to learn what defenses were trying to do to stop our offense so I would know how to combat them and be successful.
"And watching film has been really big too. I'm in film study every day and that started before we even got out here for practice. About two months ago we started getting together to watch film as a unit. I'm getting more comfortable speaking up, but it's an adjustment, a learning process for me."
The rest of the line -- including likely starting tackles Corey Levin and Brandon Morgan and junior left guard Synjen Herren -- have combined for 45 games of experience and were part of a unit that helped UTC average more than 212 rushing yards last season and surpass the 2,000 yard rushing mark for only the second time in 21 years.
While coaches don't need an ear-splitting cheerleader, they will continue to work with Revis through spring drills on becoming more vocal at the line.
"I know he's a hard worker, and he knows what he's doing when he's in there," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said. "He's a tough kid, a smart kid who just looks like a football player out there in his mannerisms and movement.
"What I really like about Jacob is that you can tell he cares about being good. It's important to him. He wants to be great and he wants the team to be great, and he comes with a great attitude, ready to work every day to get there. He's always been a quiet kid, but I have the utmost confidence in him. I think he's going to be a good player for us."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...