It was nearly dark as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team jogged off Scrappy Moore Field on Tuesday night. The Mocs' third and final two-a-day of the preseason was now in the books, which was reason enough for the players to be in a good mood.
An even better reason was that for the first time since the Mocs reported for practice on Aug. 2, the players knew they would have a chance to catch their breath, put up their feet and relax. Unlike the previous three preseason camps since Russ Huesman took over as coach, the team has a day off -- today -- with no practice, no meetings, no walkthroughs.
"The one-day break out of a three-week camp is, for me, for all of us -- that break is huge," sophomore defensive end Davis Tull said. "We came out intense and really gave it everything we had.
"You want to come out every day, and we like to come out and compete, but at the same time it's going to be nice to have a day off."
Mocs coach Russ Huesman tries to avoid two-a-day practices, but they're often unavoidable at UTC because of how early school starts (classes begin Monday). In order to get the off day, something Huesman said teams have had everywhere else he's coached, that meant adding an extra two-a-day.
Months ago, when he was working on the preseason schedule, Huesman asked the captains if they wanted the off day. Not surprisingly, they did.
The break will be good for the coaches, too. While the players are resting, the coaches will be meeting, something they seldom have time to do during camp, and discussing personnel and other team matters.
"It's good to have this break about halfway through so that we can regroup as coaches," Huesman said.
Preseason camp is all-consuming. The days are scheduled from when the team wakes up, around 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, to lights out at 10:30 p.m. There isn't much time to deal with life's necessities.
"I need some body wash; I need some toothpaste; I need to go to the bank," senior running back J.J. Jackson said. "Those are a couple of things that I can do on the day off because during camp there's no time to do things like go get a bottle of shampoo. Even laundry's hard to do."
One thing the players can't complain about is the weather during camp. Most of the Mocs' practices have been in the morning, and seldom has the temperature been an issue. Tull's only complaint was that the morning dew on the grass at Scrappy made the turf slippery.
"And I'll take that over heat any day, don't get me wrong," he said.
Wide receiver Ron Moore (hamstring) did not practice for the second straight day, while wideout Marlon Anthony is still out with an ankle injury. ... Running back Keon Williams (hip) did not participate in the evening practice. ...The Mocs will help UTC students move in Thursday morning before practicing at 2:45 p.m.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.