Two years ago, Chris Harr was the All-Southern Conference anchor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's offensive line. He's now a student assistant coach who's helping new line coach Alex Atkins improve one of the Mocs' weak spots of 2011.
Harr spent several weeks in the Kansas City Chiefs' training camp last August before getting cut. He then returned to Chattanooga and helped former line coach Geep Wade from time to time.
This year, Harr has been fully involved since the start of preseason and sees this opportunity as the true beginning of what he hopes will be a long coaching career.
"I came out last fall after I got back [from the Chiefs' camp], and I was just trying to help out a little bit," he said. "But now I'm coming into this season full-time, trying to help out the team and teach the O-linemen the stuff that I've taken with me the past five years playing football at the highest level.
"I'm just trying to learn the business and get ready to start my career. Coaching is what I want to get into, and this is the start."
Harr and redshirt senior right tackle Adam Miller played together for two seasons. Coaching someone he played with hasn't been a problem, Harr said.
"We have a mutual respect and he still talks to me like we're buddies, but he understands that he's a good player and I'm trying to help him get better," said Harr, who will finish his undergraduate degree in December.
Nick Davison, a former Mocs defensive tackle, is helping defensive line coach Marcus West.
After taking Monday off, the Mocs began what will be, in one sense, their usual practice routine Tuesday. Practice began at Scrappy Moore Field at 3:55 p.m., which is how most Tuesday-Thursday practices will go once the season begins.
Unlike game weeks when the Mocs will spend most of their time preparing for the next opponent, coach Russ Huesman said the UTC team still is focusing on itself. The preparation for South Florida, he said, will start Saturday.
"We haven't even talked about South Florida," he said. "It's still getting us fundamentally better and getting more playmakers out here."
The most impressive moment of Tuesday's practice may have come at the end, when freshman kicker Henrique Ribeiro made a 58-yard field goal.
The Mocs conducted their annual "30 Minutes or Less" season ticket promotion Tuesday, during which anyone who ordered season tickets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from a location within a five-mile radius of McKenzie Arena was guaranteed to get them within a half hour or they were free.
Huesman and athletic department staff members did the delivering, as they have since the promotion began in 2009. UTC set a season-ticket sales record during each of Huesman's first three seasons and appears set to break the current mark of 2,761 well before the home opener on Sept. 13. According to UTC, 81 season tickets were sold during Tuesday's promotion, raising the total to 2,404.