Derrick Lott said the last time he lined up at defensive end was during his sophomore season at North Cobb (Ga.) High School. Of course he was smaller then.
Lott, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior, is now 6-foot-4 and around 300 pounds. That's pretty big for a Southern Conference defensive tackle and it's really big for a SoCon end, which is where the preseason All-SoCon first-team pick lined up at times during UTC's season-opening loss to UT-Martin.
UTC sometimes used a three-man front in the 31-21 loss to the Skyhawks, with All-America end Davis Tull on the left, tackles Josh Freeman or Danny Ring in the middle and Lott on the other end.
"It was a little challenging at first," Lott said. "Coming from inside and learning what to do, different techniques, and then moving to the end, it's a little bit more fast-paced. I had Davis, [defensive line coach Marcus West] and Zach Rayl, who I was helping fill in for, coach me all week and tell me things I needed to do."
Lott finished with eight tackles, including one for lost yardage. Mocs coach Russ Huesman said Lott had some ups and downs playing outside and inside.
"I don't remember him being a fish out of water out there [at end]," Huesman said. "He made a couple of plays where he really wasn't where he was supposed to be."
Lott isn't the only 300-pound end in the SoCon. Samford, which beat Georgia State 31-21 last Friday, has a 6-foot, 309-pounder in Michael Pierce.
In the four-man front, Lott was back inside and former Red Bank High School standout Keionta Davis started at right end due to Rayl's season-ending knee injury and Toyvian Brand being out with an ankle injury.
Brand practiced Sunday (the Mocs were off Monday) and could be available for Saturday's game at Georgia State, which like UTC is seeking its first win. Huesman said Lott could be back at end some this week.
"We're trying to get the best players on the field, however that is," Huesman said after Sunday's practice.
And that will include more playing time for Ring, who has come on strong of late.
Huesman said Chris Mayes needs to get in the mix this week as well. The 6-3, 295-pound Mayes didn't play against UT-Martin because UTC rotated Freeman, Lott and Ring. Mayes played in every game last season but was slowed during the preseason by a knee injury. Keeping Mayes on the sideline was a mistake, Huesman said.
"We've got to get him more involved," Huesman said.
Dropping in polls
In the FCS coaches' poll, Wofford is the lone SoCon representative this week after UTC dropped out after opening the season at No. 25. Wofford, which lost to Baylor University on Saturday, fell from No. 5 to 14.
In the Sports Network media poll, which includes Appalachian State and Georgia Southern despite them playing with more than 63 scholarships, GSU is down a spot to No. 10, Wofford fell eight to No. 16 and App State dropped from No. 12 to 21 after getting blown out at Montana, which moved from No. 20 to 13.
The Mocs dropped out of both polls but continue to receive votes.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat.
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 ...