published Thursday, January 26th, 2012

UTC football team home opener this year on a Thursday night

UTC football 2012 schedule

Sept. 1 at South Florida

Sept. 8 at Jacksonville State

Sept. 13 Glenville State

Sept. 22 Appalachian State

Sept. 29 at The Citadel

Oct. 13 at Furman

Oct. 20 Samford

Oct. 27 Georgia Southern

Nov. 3 at Western Carolina

Nov. 10 at Wofford

Nov. 17 Elon

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team will open its 2012 home schedule on a Thursday night, just as it did in 2009. And like the ’09 game, which was coach Russ Huesman’s debut, the Mocs will be playing Glenville State.

After a late hiccup because Presbyterian backed out of its scheduled game, UTC has completed its schedule for next season. The Mocs open with games at South Florida and Jacksonville State before playing at Finley Stadium on Sept. 13 against the West Virginia school.

“This will obviously be different because it’s the third game of the year and a short week for us,” said Huesman, who is 17-16 after three seasons at UTC, “but we figured we’d get more excitement, more people, and that’s important to the program.”

According to figures provided by UTC, Thursday night games are very good for business. The past five Thursday games have drawn crowds 30 percent larger, on average, than normal on Saturday. In 2009, a crowd of 14,002 turned up for the opener, while the average for the season was 10,503.

After playing at Jacksonville State on Sept. 8, UTC will have only a few days to prepare for Glenville State. But after the Thursday game the Mocs will have a little extra time to get ready for Appalachian State’s visit on Sept. 22.

“We’ve talked about it and kind of have an idea of what we want to do [during the short week],” Huesman said, adding, “maybe at that time of the year change is good.”

Huesman said UTC looked hard at the the numbers to see if NFL teams that played on Thursday nights had an advantage the following week because of the extra days of preparation. The numbers didn’t show any benefit, but Huesman conceded that having additional time to prepare for the Mountaineers wasn’t a bad thing.

The Mocs will receive $435,000 for playing South Florida, and the Jacksonville State game is the last scheduled meeting between the teams that have played every year but one since 2004.

4 to miss practice

Surgeries to two knees and two shoulders will keep four Mocs out of spring practice, which begins Feb. 24.

Offensive lineman Taylor Dodds and defensive tackle Nick Davison sustained ACL injuries last season that forced them to miss numerous games. Fullback Taharin Tyson and defensive tackle Josh Freeman had shoulder surgeries that required offseason surgery — Tyson’s was done before Christmas and Freeman’s is today.

Tight end Jarrod Coleman, who redshirted in 2011 after suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason, is expected to be fully cleared, or close to it, for spring practice.

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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