Even after moving to the top of the depth chart, running back Chris Awuah said the chip is still on his shoulder.
"You've got to keep chipping away. You can't get content," he said.
As a true freshman in 2009, Awuah led the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team in rushing with 459 yards on 153 carries. Last season, as essentially the fourth member of a four-man rushing attack, Awuah had just 26 carries for 113 yards.
That, he said earlier this month, had him "running with a chip on my shoulder from a sluggish performance last year."
The Mocs entered spring practice with a three-man rotation at running back: rising redshirt junior J.J. Jackson (five starts and 223 yards rushing in 2010), rising sophomore Keon Williams (three starts and 500 yards) and Awuah, a rising junior.
Jackson started the spring atop the depth chart because, offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said, he's the most consistent of the three. Just before spring break, however, Awuah moved to the top.
"He just gives us a little more explosiveness," Satterfield said. "It's not like we're saying, 'You're better than J.J.' It's just what we're doing right now, he's making some plays. When he gets the chance to make some plays and gain some yards, he's doing it.
"J.J.'s doing a great job, too. It's just now that Awuah's passed him, he's got to catch him."
Williams has had some memorable runs this spring, turning dead-end plays into big gains, but he's been limited at times with back spasms.
In August, UTC's will add running back signees Kendrix Huitt and Marquis Green, as well as fullback Taharin Tyson.
"It's a competition," Awuah said. "We all want to play, so everybody's going to push each other. Even when the new ones come in, we're going to push them and they're going to push us."
After sitting out last Saturday's scrimmage, linebacker Ryan Consiglio (elbow), D.J. Key (concussion) and cornerback Chaz Moore (hip) practiced Monday. Defensive tackle Nick Davison (knee) did not practice but is expected back for the Blue & Gold game Saturday. ... The Mocs practiced in helmets Monday and will do some scrimmaging Wednesday during their final practice of the spring.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.