Oliver brothers have UTC snapping streak

Oliver brothers have UTC snapping streak

November 14th, 2012 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Brothers Brynn, left, and Brock Oliver sit in the UTC locker room Monday afternoon.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Brock Oliver remembers his collegiate football debut very well. The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga long snapper, then a true freshman, entered the game in the first half at Oklahoma.

"I just remember my heart pounding in front of 85,000 people," said Brock, who is in school finishing his degree. "I'm 19 years old with no experience in college whatsoever, other than a couple of weeks at camp."

That was the 2008 season opener and Brock was the Mocs' snapper for the next four seasons. The Oliver run has continued with Brynn wearing the same No. 42 as his brother and serving as the snapper in every game this season.

The Mocs (5-5, 4-3 Southern Conference) host Elon (3-7, 1-6) on Saturday, and that will be the 56th consecutive game UTC has had an Oliver snapping on special teams.

"That's pretty nuts when you put it in terms like that," Brock said.

Unlike Brock, who was the snapper at Ooltewah High School, Brynn had never snapped in a game until the Mocs' opener against South Florida.

Brynn played football his first two years of high school before focusing on baseball. In the summer of 2011, when he was headed to UTC as a regular student, he went to his big brother to ask about learning to snap.

"We don't have a big yard, so we just kind of snapped to each other," Brynn said.

The two worked together and Brynn came out for football during spring practice. He earned the starting job in the preseason and made not only his collegiate debut but also his snapping debut at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

"I was pretty nervous," Brynn said.

Brock can take a lot of pride in the job his brother's done. He taught him how to snap and also stressed to him the hard truth about a snapper's responsibilities -- that perfection is required.

Brock made the point, and Mocs coach Russ Huesman later echoed it, that long snappers should be anonymous players.

"I told him that this is a job where you have to be perfect and to make sure that nobody knows who you are," Brock said. "Because if somebody knows who you are, then you're not doing your job right. I really pounded into his head, like Huesman did to me, that you've got to be perfect."

Huesman went through three seasons with Brock as his snapper and seldom had a complaint. Heading into Saturday's game, there's been little reason for complaint with the job Brynn has done. He needs to work hard on his velocity, but the accuracy has been spot on, the coach said.

"His velocity's not there, but I'll give Brynn a lot of credit," Huesman said. "He's been in a lot of pressure situations and he's put that thing on the money."

Brock said there are no more Oliver brothers at home to keep the run going, but he's working on his girlfriend's cousin.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.