Former UGA lineman settling in with Mocs

Former UGA lineman settling in with Mocs

August 20th, 2015 by Gene Henley in Sports - College

Offensive lineman Josh Cardiello puts on his helmet during the first day of practice for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Aug. 3. Cardiello transferred to UTC after beginning his college career at the University of Georgia.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

Josh Cardiello's transition from the University of Georgia to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been smooth so far.

Except for that pesky parking problem.

"There is none," the Mocs offensive lineman said with a laugh Wednesday.

Other than that, the 6-foot-3, 290-pounder has enjoyed every part of the decision that brought him to the Scenic City.

Once ranked as the No. 5 high school center in America, Cardiello chose the Bulldogs over the likes of Nebraska and North Carolina. He spent three seasons with the Southeastern Conference program before deciding to join the Mocs, for whom he is currently slotted as the starting right guard. UTC opens the season Sept. 5 against Jacksonville State at Finley Stadium.

"He's done a great job fitting in with the guys. I think they kind of welcomed him with open arms," UTC coach Russ Huesman said. "I'm proud of how he's performing. He's still getting his feet wet a little bit, but he's doing a nice job for us. I think he likes it here, I think he likes our guys, and our guys like him a lot."

Cardiello said the biggest difference in moving from FBS to FCS competition has been the skill level, which is to be expected. Football is football, though, and it's been the right move for him and his career.

"You're not going against 6-foot-7, 350-pound guys, but it's still good football, and I think we're going to compete and be really good this year," Cardiello said. "I learned a lot skill-wise at Georgia, but we kind of played different. You have to play a little bit higher at that level, but most of the stuff I learned there has helped me come in and be able to compete here."

Cardiello came in highly recommended by the Georgia coaching staff. As a highly-touted recruit, he didn't cross UTC's radar during his school days at Georgia powerhouse Buford, but he's here now and ready to contribute — which is what the coaching staff expected upon his arrival.

"We had a feeling he'd be a good player for us, and he'll get better as the year goes on," Huesman said. "He's still young."

Cardiello has three seasons of eligibility with the Mocs. That's plenty of time to learn his way around campus, figure out the parking situation and buy into the mission of the football program.

"I definitely think we have what it takes to make a playoff run," he said. "I've focused on coming in and buying into what everything is trying to do here, and following the leadership of some older guys has helped me learn what goes on here, and that's helped me buy in."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.


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