The first practice with B.J. Coleman as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's No. 1 quarterback looked a lot like the last practice without a named starter. The only difference was the color jersey Jare Gault was wearing.
But that switch spoke volumes.
Coleman, the former McCallie star and University of Tennessee transfer, continued to wear a red, no-contact jersey as he took command of the offense Thursday and got most of the repetitions with the first team.
"We've got to continue to work," Coleman said. "We can't get complacent."
He left Knoxville because he wanted the chance to be a starter. He said he's thrilled to have earned that opportunity and all the responsibility that comes with it.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Coleman, whose father, Bryon, played at UTC with Mocs coach Russ Huesman, "and I'm very, very honored to be able to take the lead and have an opportunity to lead such a great group of guys."
Gault, meanwhile, came out in blue after his role changed Wednesday afternoon when Coleman was named the starter. Gault, who started 10 games last season, is now the No. 2 quarterback, with a twist.
He wore the blue jersey that the rest of the offense wears because he's now part quarterback, part running back, part receiver -- and anything else the coaches want him to do.
"I promise you, Jare will throw a ball every game, catch a ball every game and run a ball every game," offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said. "He's going to be in there when B.J.'s in the game, and he's going to be in there by himself. There's just all kinds of things we can do with him."
After a good spring and summer, Gault said he was disappointed when Coleman was named the starter, but it didn't show Thursday at Scrappy Moore Field during the Mocs' 13th preseason practice.
"I did a lot of different things today, and that's exciting," Gault said. "They even had me as the up man on the punt team, where maybe they can use me for fakes and stuff."
Had he ever been the up man on the punt team before?
"Never, I don't think," he said with a laugh. "I punted a long time ago, but that's it."
Gault's quality play made Thursday's decision a tough one, Satterfield said.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do yesterday," he said. "It was like breaking up with a girlfriend that you knew you needed to stay with."
Coleman took most of the snaps Wednesday and had one of his best practices of the preseason while Gault was bothered by a sore arm. Coleman was sharp again Thursday as the offense continued to click.
"I thought we executed way better today on offense," Huesman said. "We looked really good on offense. We executed; we looked like an offensive football team."
The Mocs spent their morning helping in "Operation Move-In." The football team and members of other UTC squads did a lot of the heavy lifting as freshmen arrived on campus ahead of Monday's first day of class. "That was really good," Huesman said. "The kids did a great job with that, and I'm proud of them." ... Among the onlookers at Thursday's practice was William Giles, a three-year starter on the offensive line who wrapped up his career last season. Giles, an excellent student who graduated with a degree in criminal justice, said he's pursuing a job with the Chattanooga Police Department.