The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team avoided Friday's storms and practiced in full pads for the first time this spring.
In the third of 15 spring practices, the Mocs were at Scrappy Moore Field for more than two hours. The practice featured the first live contact of the spring, though that was primarily between the offensive and defensive lines. There was no tackling.
Coach Russ Huesman said he would have liked to have seen a little more intensity from the Mocs during practice. Offensively, the day was a mix of good and bad, he said.
"We didn't throw the ball very good today, but the one thing I liked, probably the best part of the day, was the quarterbacks [Terrell Robinson and Jacob Huesman] actually looked good running," Huesman said. "They looked like good runners."
A year ago, quarterback B.J. Coleman would have been in a red no-contact jersey. Now that he's off preparing for the NFL draft and UTC has switched to a spread-style offense, the quarterbacks aren't getting special treatment. They will take hits in practice just like the running backs and receivers, and those hits could come as early as today when UTC does some scrimmaging at the end of this morning's session.
During an offense vs. defense run-game period, which primarily featured runs between the tackles, the offense and defense had equal success. Some runs gained more than 3 yards and some were stopped short of 3. Robinson and Huesman had some of the best runs of the period.
The defense came up with a few turnovers, as it has during each practice. A couple of tipped passes were picked off, and the defense forced a Keon Williams fumble in the run period.
The Mocs closed out Friday's practice with a couple of punting periods. Kicker Nick Pollard was working with the first team, executing the rugby-style punts that Joel Bradford did so effectively in 2011. Jacob Huesman punted with the second unit.
"Nick looks like he could be real good at it, and Jacob could be good if he keeps working at it all spring and this summer," Coach Huesman said.
One thing the coach liked was how quickly the ball went from being snapped to being punted. With Blake Coddington snapping, the times were around 1.7 seconds.
"Those were really good," Huesman said. "It's hard to block them when you're getting them off that fast."