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Russ Huesman won't know until preseason practice begins, just how much effort and dedication his players have put into their summer workouts.

"When Aug. 1 rolls around, we'll see what kind of shape they're in," the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach said. "I'm hoping and praying that they've made gains this summer."

NCAA rules prohibit Huesman or any of the Mocs' coaches from attending offseason conditioning sessions, and even if the coaches could watch the workouts, only about half the team has been in town. The rest returned home for the summer and were expected to run and lift weights on their own.

Most Football Championship Subdivision programs don't have the money to pay for everyone to attend summer school and stay in town to work out together. Huesman said about 25 players have taken classes this summer and most of those courses have been paid for by UTC. A few others, not counting the locals, have remained in town to work and work out with strength coach Scott Brincks.

Because UTC doesn't have the money to pay for summer school and a stipend for rent and food, it's sometimes easier for the players to go home, Huesman said.

"They can go home and find a weight room and lift, and it's probably easier on them. I'd love for 70 people to be here the whole summer, but all the sudden they got a job, school, pay their rent, feed themselves, work out, all those things," he said. "Sometimes when they go home, they get a job, mom feeds them, they pay no rent, they go work out. The kids that stay here, I commend them because it takes a big effort, but it's important."

Huesman, like any coach, hopes to one day have everyone remain in town during the summer, which is the case this summer at The Citadel. Bulldogs preseason All-American senior wide receiver Andre Roberts said that number is way up from his first year when less than half the team participated in summer workouts.

"We're very fortunate in that we had 100 percent participation from our players," Bulldogs coach Kevin Higgins said. "We had anywhere from 10 to 15 walkons that were part of the summer program, as well."

Of course, the big perk that comes with summer school at The Citadel is that the students don't have to wear their uniforms.

"It is a nice change," Roberts said.

Not having players in town is one of the things that quarterback B.J. Coleman, who transfered from the University of Tennessee, is having to get used to now that he's joined the Mocs. Pretty much all the Volunteers spent their summers in Knoxville, the former McCallie standout said, and were able to train and practice on their own together.

"It's one thing I'm noticing and it is a little bit irritating, but understandable," he said. "I really pay a lot of respect to the guys that are staying in town and working to be able to be at workouts. But at the same time, they're having to work during the day so you can't necessarily get your hands on them when you want to."

Senior linebacker Joseph Thornton is taking classes, working and participating in workouts. Huesman said Thornton is in summer school because he's trying to graduate in four years. While UTC is able to cover the cost of his classes, Thornton is having to work to pay for his other expenses.

"I feel for him because that's a tough summer," Huesman said. "I admire Joe Thornton for what he's doing right now."

Fifth-year senior wide receiver Blue Cooper is also in school this summer, one of several seniors taking classes in an effort to finish their coursework in December. Cooper has also been busy in the weight room trying to regain the weight he lost in the spring when a broken jaw, which had to be re-broken because it wasn't healing properly, resulted in his mouth being wired shut for about nine weeks.

"I really couldn't do anything (in the spring) because I couldn't eat and I didn't have any energy," Cooper said. "It was miserable, but I'm feeling good and getting my strength back - finally."

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