published Monday, February 28th, 2011

Mocs’ Moore is ready

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On the second day of the Mocs’ offensive line rebuilding project, the unit went through roughly the same practice as Saturday.

One difference was Nick Gipson playing with the first team in place of Will Hewiit, who worked with the first squad Saturday. Overall, Omre Harris, Austin Wilson and Adam Miller have played like the experienced veterans they are. Taylor Dodds has been mostly sound at left tackle and Gipson, who played in four games last season, was solid.

“It’s different for me because last year I was the youngest and now me and Adam are the oldest ones on the line,” Wilson said. “The freshmen are coming along and we’re going to keep building on what we did last year.”

Since his first day as a college football player, cornerback Chaz Moore has refused to be intimidated.

Moore arrived at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga last August as a 17-year-old eager and ready to go up against any wide receiver that lined up across from him.

“He was a pretty vicious kid last year at whatever he was, 155 [pounds] or something like that,” Mocs coach Russ Huesman said. “He threw his body around.”

Moore was listed at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds in the Mocs’ 2010 media guide. In reality, he weighed 149 pounds and was (and is) about 5-9.

The Memphis native has worked hard to put on pounds and at the start of spring practice he’s now up to 171 pounds. If he was fearless and effective as the smallest player on the Mocs’ squad in 2010, what’s he like now that he’s not so undersized?

“I also got faster, so with my speed and this added weight hopefully it will all turn out good,” Moore said.

As a freshman, Moore played in all 11 games last season — starting two when Buster Skrine was injured — and finished with 19 tackles, including three for loss, and two forced fumbles.

Now that Skrine is gone — he’s presently in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine — Moore is working with the first team during spring practice. He is expected to start at one corner, with Kadeem Wise, last season’s Southern Conference freshman of the year, at the other.

“Coming behind someone that makes it to the Combine, I want to follow in those same footsteps,” Moore said. “That’s definitely got me excited.”

Huesman said Moore made some freshman mistakes last season, primarily taking chances when he shouldn’t. Now, in his new role, Moore can’t afford to do that anymore.

“Now he knows he’s in a much, much bigger role and he’s got to make plays,” Huesman said. “Not only make plays but he can’t give up freshman plays and do freshman things out there.”

During Sunday’s practice at Scrappy Moore Field, the Mocs’ second of the spring, Moore had some up and down moments against UTC’s top receivers.

Moore didn’t cover 6-5 tight end Faysal Shafaat, but nobody else really did either. Shafaat got open often and made several extraordinary catches, including a one-hander in full stride late in practice that drew a big cheer.

The Mocs will practice at 3 p.m. today. Because of the SoCon basketball tournaments at McKenzie Arena, the football team’s gear will be moved to Finley Stadium on Tuesday and the Mocs will practice there the rest of the week.

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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