Kadeem Wise is hardly an unknown quantity in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga secondary. As a redshirt freshman last season, the cornerback was named the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year.
The big difference in 2011, however, is that Buster Skrine is no longer on the other side of the field. The Mocs' top corner the past three seasons, Skrine was picked in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.
Wise was tied for second in the SoCon last season with six interceptions, breaking Mocs coach Russ Huesman's freshman record, and he also had six pass breakups. It was a good season, he said, but it could have been better.
"As the season went along I did [improve], but I also left a lot of plays out there," he said. "In the spring and this summer, I'm really working hard."
Heading into his second season of college football, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Wise is now the veteran corner after starting every game last season. On the opposite side will be Chaz Moore, who started a pair of games when Skrine was injured and played in all 11 as a true freshman last season.
Wise said he had a very good spring, which he's hoping to build on this summer.
"I felt like I got better footwork-wise, coming out of my breaks," he said. "My main focus coming into spring practice was tackling, footwork and seeing the ball out [of the quarterback's hand]. I also wanted to become a more vocal player."
Practicing against the Mocs' receivers, such as third-team All-American Joel Bradford or 6-5 Marlon Anthony, is helping Wise improve.
"It's helping me a lot, I can't even explain it. It's every play," he said. "When the season comes, it will help tremendously."
Wise and the rest of the Mocs in town this month - about 60 total - are working out in the mornings and conducting throwing sessions three afternoons a week. Players report for preseason practice on Aug. 3.