It doesn't seem like that long ago that a small, young cornerback named Chaz Moore from Whitehaven High School was in town for an official visit to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Moore, who is now about to begin his senior season with the Mocs, remembers that visit. It was late January 2010, and Chattanooga got a lot of snow. A two-star prospect, Moore saw a program on the rise and the chance to get a lot of playing time early.
"That doesn't feel like that long ago," Moore said.
Now it's July 2013 and Moore, who is still two months from his 21st birthday, is a veteran in the Mocs' secondary. He played a lot as a true freshman in 2010, starting two games when Buster Skrine was injured. He played plenty and started four games in 2011, and he started every game last season, finishing with 52 tackles.
"It feels funny, but the reality has set in," Moore said. "This is the year, my last year."
Moore started in multiple spots in the secondary last season, depending on UTC's defensive formation. The Mocs have played more and more nickel the past couple of seasons and that's not changing.
"We're playing three corners at all times," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said. "With what teams are doing now [on offense], we're probably 80 percent nickel."
Moore said it took a while to get comfortable in the nickel, but he'll be ready to go from the first snap this season.
"Last year I was doing all that thinking before I got in the groove toward the end of the season," he said. "Now I know my position."
He also knows the clock is ticking on his, and his fellow seniors' careers. Just making the playoffs won't be enough, he said.
"I've got it all on the line and I want to go out with a championship," he said. "I want to go out with a bang."
The Mocs' helmets this season will still have the familiar gold "C" on the sides, but instead of being on a navy helmet, the stickers will really stand out on UTC's new white helmets. Huesman said assistant coaches Will Healy and Wes Satterfield pitched him the idea of changing.
Of all the things Huesman cares about in the world, UTC's helmets and uniforms don't rate too high on the list. But the players liked the helmet change - the uniforms will remain the same - and so Huesman gave the go-ahead.
"To be honest with you, I couldn't care less what they wear," he said.
UTC has gone with numerous helmet designs in the past few decades, including a white helmet. Moore said he thinks the new helmet looks good and he likes being a part of a change.
"It's the start of something new," he said, adding, "You've got to look good, feel good, play good."
After sitting under several feet of water earlier this month following several days of heavy rain, Scrappy Moore Field is looking as good as new. The grass is green and lush and the artificial turf has been cleaned and the Mocs have already worked out on the cleaned turf a couple of times. ... The SoCon will hold its media next Wednesday in Spartanburg, S.C., and joining Huesman will be a pair of All-Americans: defensive end Davis Tull and linebacker Wes Dothard.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.