Recharged Rob Spence enjoying working with Mocs receivers

WR Coach Rob Spence talks with Bingo Morton (5) during practice Wednesday at Scrappy Moore Field.
WR Coach Rob Spence talks with Bingo Morton (5) during practice Wednesday at Scrappy Moore Field.

Rob Spence needed a little dose of reality. His time as the head football coach of Chattanooga Christian School gave him that.

He's been grateful for that time, just like he is grateful for his current opportunity, which happens to be coaching one of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's most loaded position groups.

Spence was named the replacement for departed wide receivers coach Will Healy in February. He inherited a talented group that returns intact from the 2015 season.

He also brings 28 years of coaching experience at the college level, including stints as offensive coordinator at Clemson and Syracuse. But he said his most recent two seasons at CCS helped refocus him.

"Going back to high school was an outstanding experience," Spence said Friday. "You're coaching high school athletes and teaching them the basic fundamental approaches to football. It's all about building relationships, and I was reminded of that going back to high school. The importance of the relationship between the coach and the player can't be understated, and I love to coach this level of athlete.

"Every coach should have that reminder, that at the heart of coaching at any level is all about the player-coach relationship."

When Spence looks at the roster, he will have the opportunity to build said relationships with players such as seniors Xavier Borishade, C.J. Board and Alphonso Stewart; junior James Stovall; and sophomores Will Young, Bingo Morton and Dejuan McQuarters.

The program also added transfer Thomas Richard from Missouri and his brother Joseph, who will be at preseason camp.

"I think I have some veterans, some experience, some playmakers who play with a lot of enthusiasm and high energy," Spence said. "They are a lot of fun to be around, and they're a hard-working bunch that wants to get better, and I enjoy working with them."

His philosophy focuses a lot on fundamentals and technique. He said players need to work hard on their individual technique and will improve and get better based on that.

And his style has produced results. He has put a number of players in the NFL, including current Kansas City Chiefs receiver Rod Streater.

"He is a very smart coach who has been at multiple colleges, so he knows what he is talking about," Borishade said. "He's coached at our position and there can be a lot of things to take from him, because he has a lot of experience, seen a lot of film and has seen a lot of his players make the league.

"If we stay with him, we can have that kind of opportunity, so that's good for us this year."

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