Troy Dye, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's most experienced returning tight end, has decided not to play his final college season.
In four years with the program — which included a redshirt season in 2011 — Dye played in 27 games, starting seven, and he made 11 catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, playing behind two-time All-American Faysal Shafaat, he played in 12 games (with four starts) and had six catches for 35 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown reception against Mercer.
"Troy decided it was time to move on with his life," UTC coach Russ Huesman said. "It was a mutual split, but Troy had played for four years and had decided that he needed to move forward."
The program still has three tight ends on the roster: sophomore Malcolm Colvin, redshirt freshman Bailey Lenoir and junior Steve Pickren. Each presents a different skill set, as Pickren — a transfer from Alabama-Birmingham — is primarily a blocker, Lenoir more of a receiver and Colvin a mix of the two.
"As long as you have two [tight ends], you're fine," Huesman said. "Our offensive guys are smart, and I'm confident they'll figure it out."
Busy weekend for the Mocs
UTC's coaching staff is going through a busy final weekend before practice begins on Aug. 3. On Friday night, coaches were scheduled to host the "Helmets and Heels" women's clinic at Finley Stadium.
Today the Mocs will have a one-day football camp to evaluate potential players, and Huesman expects "about 75" participants.
"We sign a lot of players that come," he said. "It's become an important part of our recruiting."
New rules from SoCon
Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino announced a tweak to the targeting rules at the league's media day on Wednesday.
In the new policy, if a player is ejected for targeting in the first half of a game, conference officials will now have 10 minutes at halftime to review the play to make sure the proper call was made. If they decide the ejection was an error, the player will be allowed to return in the second half.
Second-half ejections will be reviewed the following week.
In addition, the league removed targeting penalties from the "unsportsmanlike" category that would have resulted in an automatic one-game suspension.
"I think it's a great change," Huesman said. "Since we don't have instant replay, they have time to make sure they made the right call. It's a great deal for us since we're not on TV like BCS schools and they want to make sure."
ESPN deal extended
The SoCon announced earlier this week it has reached an agreement to continue its partnership with ESPN for six more years. It will run through the 2020-21 academic year, which will also mark the 100-year anniversary of the league.
Over the course of the six years, the member schools will have an opportunity to produce nearly 2,000 live events that will receive national coverage on the online network ESPN3.
"We are very enthusiastic about continuing our valuable relationship with ESPN in such an innovative way," Iamarino said in a release. "Our members are positioning themselves to produce ESPN-quality content that will provide tremendous exposure for their athletic programs. The benefits will be shared not only by our programs, but by our alumni, boosters, fans and students, all of whom will be able to watch an unprecedented amount of Southern Conference sports."
All 10 SoCon schools will be asked to develop production capabilities by 2017 that will be showcased by ESPN3. Only Mercer and Furman produced content during the 2014-15 season.
There will be no fewer than 1,900 live events produced by the league and its members, which includes a minimum of 45 football games and 200 league basketball games that will appear on ESPN3 each season.
The men's basketball championship will continue to air live on either ESPN or ESPN2, and several men's basketball games will appear on one of ESPN's main stations (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPNEWS) during the contracted years.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.