UTC Mocs making marks in record book

UTC Mocs making marks in record book

October 22nd, 2013 by John Frierson in Sportscollege

UTC defensive end Davis Tull (90) was announced Monday as the Southern Conference football defensive player of the week for his performance that included 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles against Furman.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Davis Tull became the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's career sack leader this past Saturday in the Mocs' 20-9 win at Elon. The junior defensive end is one of numerous Mocs, and one of several defensive ends, in recent years who have set school records or are threatening to do so.

Tull's third-quarter sack of Elon quarterback Mike Quinn gave him 24 for his career, putting him half a sack ahead of former teammate Josh Williams, who became UTC's career sack leader during the 2011 season.

"The fact that we're moving up and constantly getting better, that's a credit to [defensive line coach Marcus West]," Williams said last week. "He's really got that pass rusher's mentality, and now we're just passing the torch."

In 2009, the first season for coach Russ Huesman and his staff, end Josh Beard came out of nowhere to tie the school record for sacks in a season with 12, earning him the honor of Southern Conference defensive player of the year. That same season Williams set a UTC freshman record with seven sacks.

During Tull's All-America and SoCon top-defender season in 2012, he set a single-season record with 12.5 sacks. The SoCon record of 36.5 career sacks should be in reach for Tull, whose 24 have come in 29 games.

The next Mocs record to be matched could be for career interceptions. Senior cornerback Kadeem Wise has 11, two behind record-holder Phillip Aldridge (1982-85).

"It's neat to see these guys break records, and I hope Kadeem breaks it," Coach Huesman, who is seventh all-time at UTC with nine interceptions, said last week. "He's been so good for us. ... It's satisfying, just like when they go to the NFL; you're like a proud parent when it happens."

Former McCallie School quarterback B.J. Coleman set the UTC record for passing touchdowns with 52 in his three Mocs seasons (2009-11) and is second to Chris Sanders in numerous categories.

Jacob Huesman is on his way toward passing Coleman's mark. Seven games into his sophomore season the former Baylor School standout has 24 touchdown passes, good enough for No. 8 all-time, including 11 already this season. Jacob also has 13 career rushing touchdowns; the record is 24.

Running back Keon Williams from Red Bank, who has rushed for 687 yards for the Mocs (5-2, 3-1) this season, needs 547 yards the rest of the way to pass Eldra Buckley's single-season record of 1,233.

Dothard honored

Senior linebacker Wes Dothard also has had a tremendous Mocs career, earning multiple All-America and All-SoCon honors. He was named the SoCon defensive player of the week Monday following his 13-tackle performance at Elon.

It's the fourth player of the week award in Dothard's career, but the first since 2011. He leads the Mocs with 50 tackles and has 264 in his career, which puts him 12 shy of No. 10 all-time at UTC.

Maybe 16 redshirts

Ideally, Coach Huesman wants to redshirt every freshman, every season, though that seldom happens. Of the 16 freshmen in the Mocs' 2013 signing class, all but wide receiver Xavier Borishade (three catches for 27 yards) are slated to redshirt.

Freshman walk-on long snapper Joe McMahon and walk-on defensive back Oscar Prado, who plays on special teams, have played in every game. UTC is trying to redshirt sophomore Henrique Ribeiro, who played last season, going 3-for-5 on field goals. Ribeiro is the backup to junior Nick Pollard at punter and kicker.

"So far, so good," Huesman said of the redshirt plans, "but we're still not out of the woods yet. The way it looks right now, we're going to have the ability to redshirt a lot of guys."

Rare Monday practice

It is fall break at UTC, which means no class this week until Wednesday. The Mocs tweaked their practice schedule and went at it at Scrappy Moore Field on Monday -- normally their off day -- for a little more than an hour. The team normally does some conditioning in the pool on Sundays but had that day off this week.

The Mocs, who have won three straight, host The Citadel on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Finley Stadium.

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