Ron Moore and Tommy Hudson’s freshmen seasons last fall featured valuable contributions that were few and far between.
As sophomores this season, that won’t be the case for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wide receivers. In fact, the Mocs are so inexperienced at wideout that Hudson’s five receptions in 2011 are the second most of any returning receiver. Moore had the third most with three.
“They’re both guys that I rely on a lot and have had great camps,” Mocs receivers coach Will Healy said. “They’re going to have great years, and I think [not doing much last season] has been one of those things that has motivated them to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“They don’t come off the field unless they ask to come off the field.”
Mocs coach Russ Huesman said he wishes UTC could have gotten more out of them last season.
“I feel bad with Ron and Tommy both last year, we played them and I don’t know how much productivity we got out of them,” he said.
Productivity from Moore and Hudson, as well as redshirt junior Marlon Anthony (44 career catches), is a must. Hudson has emerged as a go-to guy, in the Joel Bradford mold, during the preseason. In two scrimmages he had a combined 14 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown.
A hamstring injury slowed down Moore during camp, but he’ll likely be the Mocs’ top deep threat and a weapon on sweeps and reverses. Moore showed his big-play potential last season; his three catches went for a 60-yard touchdown, 52 yards and a 35-yard touchdown.
Moore and Hudson said last season was trying at times because they weren’t being used much. That was quite a contrast from high school, especially for Hudson who caught 102 passes his senior season.
“It was kind of frustrating, but I understood that I was a young guy that didn’t have much experience, and it’s a big adjustment from high school to college,” Hudson said.
Moore said he’s eager to be much more involved this season.
“I don’t really want to force anything, but I know my potential and I’ve just got to play to my potential,” he said.
Redshirt sophomore Bryant Belew is another wideout that could be poised for a breakthrough season after not catching a pass in 2011. It certainly looked that way in the second scrimmage, in which he caught eight passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Not only do Hudson, Moore and Belew have the motivation of getting more playing time this season, Healy said, they also have a push from behind because UTC has three freshman wideouts.
“The reason for recruiting is to try and sign better than what you have,” he said. “Every year, somebody’s coming in to try and take your job. And if we’re doing the job that we should be doing, we should have competition at every position.”
The Mocs continued their preparation for Saturday’s season opener at South Florida with a morning practice Sunday at Scrappy Moore Field. Fullback Taharin Tyson had one of the plays of the day with an over-the-shoulder touchdown catch. ... UTC is off today and will practice just three more times before its flight to Tampa on Friday.
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 ...