'Vanilla' scrimmage ends Chattanooga Mocs camp

'Vanilla' scrimmage ends Chattanooga Mocs camp

August 16th, 2014 by Stephen Hargis in Sportscollege

UTC's Alejandro Bennifield (15) runs the ball during a scrimmage at preseason camp on August 15, 2014.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

With the exception of going over any mistakes coaches saw from Friday afternoon's scrimmage, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team can finally turn its full attention to the season opener.

Or as freshman receiver DeJuan McQuarters tweeted out just moments after Friday's scrimmage, "Camp finally over."

"I think I speak for everybody when I say we're all ready for camp to be over," quarterback Jacob Huesman said. "It's always nice to be able to prepare for somebody else. It gets old lining up against the Mocs defense every day."

The Mocs have one day of preseason camp remaining, followed by Sunday's "Meet the Mocs" at the First Tennessee Pavilion. After that the next two weeks of practice will be geared specifically toward the season opener at Central Michigan.

Whereas the scrimmage last weekend was another day of player evaluation for the staff, Friday's scrimmage was designed more to look as much like game-day situations as possible.

The Mocs scripted specific game situations to determine which plays worked best and to see how players reacted.

"It was pretty vanilla today," offensive coordinator Jeff Durden said. "We did a few things we can't do if we're going to be successful, but I'll say this, from the start Jacob looked sharp and I thought he made great decisions.

"We talked about having more of a clock in our head as quarterbacks, and I thought Alejandro [Bennifield] was better at that today."

Huesman connected with tight end Faysal Shafaat for a 13-yard touchdown on the opening drive, but the defense countered with a highlight of its own later when true freshman defensive back Trevor Wright intercepted backup Tyler Roberson and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.

Huesman and backup Bennifield each finished 8-of-10 passing for 70-plus yards and Huesman added five carries for 48 yards, while Roberson ran for 32 yards and two TD but completed just two of nine passes for 16 yards. Sophomore kicker Henrique Ribeiro ended the scrimmage by hitting a 56-yard field goal with room to spare.

"I probably have to wait to get to the tape to know how we did today," head coach Russ Huesman said. "I can't even say if it was good or bad, to be honest with you. On the sideline it's hard to tell what's going on.

"Trevor's going to play this year. He's had a good camp for us and is a great athlete. He'll play, no question.

Captains elected

The Mocs elected their four captains for this season, selecting senior defensive end Davis Tull, junior defensive tackle Josh Freeman, senior receiver Tommy Hudson and junior quarterback Huesman.

"It means a lot because I'm a pretty quiet guy normally," Tull said. "I've got a small circle of friends and I kind of keep to myself. So for all the guys to see how I've worked and give me this honor based on that, since I'm not a vocal guy, it means a lot because they don't just see me play but also know me as a person."

Injury update

Junior left guard Synjen Herren injured an ankle near the end of the scrimmage but walked off on his own.

"He hurt his ankle, but I think he'll be fine," Coach Huesman said.

True freshman cornerback C.J. Fritz likely will have surgery in the coming days to repair a torn left ACL. Fritz, a former McCallie star, had been in a battle to earn a spot in the secondary rotation but now will redshirt this season.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.