The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is pulling the plug on trying to get injured defensive tackle Nick Davison back this season.
A preseason All-Southern Conference pick, Davison suffered a torn ACL in his left knee while sacking Jacksonville State quarterback Coty Blanchard in the second game of the season. The No. 17-ranked Mocs (2-2, 0-1 SoCon) had hoped the senior would eventually be able to play through the injury. He will have surgery Oct. 4.
"In the long run, it's probably the best decision," Davison said, "because if I get back out there and something happens, then I'm done for good."
Despite a lot of work rehabbing the knee and getting it stronger, Davison said "there's times when I'm walking when it will just give out on me."
He still has a redshirt year available, so he should be able to play next season. Once the season is over, UTC will apply for a medical hardship waiver -- commonly called a medical redshirt -- that would allow him to make 2011 his redshirt season and play next fall.
With Davison and Navy transfer Chris Mayes in the middle next season, along with rest of the defensive tackles, the Mocs would be well stocked at a position that has been very thin the past few seasons.
UTC has been without Davison the past two weeks and didn't have Keyon Reed last Saturday at Appalachian State following Reed's suspension due to a domestic assault arrest on Sept. 18.
Coach Russ Huesman said a decision hasn't been made on Reed's availability when UTC hosts The Citadel (1-2, 0-2) on Saturday. The Mocs were down to three defensive tackles last week -- Josh Freeman, Devin Scates and Toyvian Brand -- all of them freshmen.
Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said all three played well and "Toyvian was the one that played above the level that he practiced at all week."
SoCon running wild
The top three rushing teams in the Football Championship Subdivision are SoCon programs that run the triple-option. Georgia Southern leads the nation with 416 yards a game (the Eagles had 634 yards last week against Western Carolina), Wofford is second at 355.7 and The Citadel is third at 298.3.
UTC will face a triple-option offense in consecutive weeks starting with the Bulldogs on Saturday. The Mocs will visit top-ranked GSU on Oct. 8.
The Citadel is in its second season in the triple-option and is averaging nearly 90 more yards a game on the ground than in 2010. Players are maturing and getting more comfortable in the system, Bulldogs coach Kevin Higgins said, and they're holding on to the ball.
The Citadel's 23 fumbles lost last season were the most in the FCS. Through three games this year, the Bulldogs have lost three fumbles.
Defending the triple-option involves players knowing their assignments and making tackles in the numerous one-on-one situations that arise, Huesman said. The Mocs have to stick to their assignments initially, then chase the ball wherever it is.
"You've got to be assignment sound, but you can't be robotic out there," he said. "We've got to fly around and be aggressive, too."
Mocs fullback Taharin Tyson (broken ribs, hip) and wide receiver Jeff Veres (thumb, ankle) did not practice Tuesday. ... The Citadel fullback Terrell Dallas (knee) will not play Saturday, Higgins said.