Mocs making good use of extra practice hours

Mocs making good use of extra practice hours

August 25th, 2011 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Austin Wilson, No. 54, pushes past Brandon Morgan, No. 73, during drills at Wednesday's practice. The UTC Mocs met for practice at Scrappy Moore Field on Wednesday afternoon to continue preparations for their Sept. 3 kickoff at Nebraska.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

Russ Huesman still runs his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team's practices with precision, checking his watch every few minutes to make sure the Mocs are staying on schedule.

When the horn sounds at the end of each period, the Mocs quickly move from one exercise to the next. Other than maybe a 30-second water break here and there, there is very little down time.

"Like today, all we had was 3 hours and 15 minutes for meetings and [practice], and we've got to make it work," Huesman said.

During his years as a defensive coordinator, Huesman said, he never kept track of time during practice.

"Shoot, I just kept going until somebody told me where to go," he said. "These guys [UTC's assistants] just keep going until I tell them where to go."

For the first time since the 2007 season, UTC has a full allotment of practice time at its disposal. The NCAA allows 20 hours of team activities a week during the season, but nobody on the Mocs' roster except the seniors have experienced that.

"We'll definitely notice [the extra time] in the meetings, preparing for each game each week," said fifth-year senior safety Chris Lewis-Harris. "And when we come out [to practice] we get more time to do individual [position drills] to work on our technique."

During the past three seasons, because of penalties handed down by the NCAA for poor Academic Progress Rate performance, the Mocs have been shorthanded in practice time, as well as scholarships. In 2008, UTC was allowed 18.0 hours per week and the past two seasons it had to squeeze everything into 16.0.

Also, last season, the Mocs had to limit team activities to five days a week. UTC took Fridays off, which meant the coaches weren't able to conduct walkthroughs. Instead, the captains elected to run them.

"Friday walkthroughs are going to be awesome," quarterback B.J. Coleman said. "It's really going to help us out a lot from last year to this year."

Younger Coleman out

Freshman tight end Jarrod Coleman will undergo surgery today to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and will redshirt this season. Jarrod, B.J.'s younger brother, will be out at least six months, but he said he expects to be cleared in time for spring practice.

Huesman said the Mocs are also hoping to redshirt freshman tight end Troy Dye.

Extra points

During Wednesday's "30 Minutes or Less" promotion, UTC sold 52 sets of season tickets, raising its total to 2,417. The school record is 2,678, set last season. ... The Southern Conference announced Wednesday that WABM-TV in Birmingham has agreed to broadcast the league's eight-game television package this season, joining PBS stations in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina as SoCon broadcast partners.