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UTC linebacker Nakevion Leslie, left, and defensive lineman Keionta Davis, right, tackle Wofford quarterback Michael Weimer during their game on Nov. 8, 2014, at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.

In key situations during a football game, it's the offense's job to do whatever it takes to get the necessary yardage to keep the chains moving, which in turn keeps the clock moving.

It's the defense's job to be disciplined enough to prevent that from happening.

Keionta Davis and the other University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defenders have what they consider a good way of doing so.

In key situations, defensive coordinator Adam Braithwaite and defensive line coaches Marcus West and Tony Brown yell "Water!" -- an alert to the linemen not to jump offside.

The Mocs have been doing this for a few years now, but today will the the first time in a game situation for a number of newcomers on the defensive line when they participate in the Blue-Gold scrimmage at Finley Stadium at 2 p.m.

At halftime, the 2014 seniors will receive their Southern Conference championship rings. Following the scrimmage, coach Russ Huesman will hand out the annual Bob Davis Winter Warrior Award, along with offensive and defensive MVP honors from the scrimmage.

"We're trying to tell the defense to 'hold their water' in certain situations where the offense is prone to go on a 2-count," Braithwaite said after a recent practice. "We want no cheap yardage, so on third downs and four-minute situations when the offense is trying to run the clock out, they're trying to get cheap, easy yards on a hard count, so we're trying to hold our water."

Davis said that, from a defensive line perspective, hearing the "water" call helps the defensive line focus on the play ahead.

"It alerts us that we can't go -- to be prepared for false calls or anything like that," he said. "Normally on third downs you want to go, but now we have to be more alert to hard counts and stuff like that."

The defensive line accounted for 31 of the team's 35 sacks during the 2014 season. The collectors of half of those sacks have graduated, and now a new, eager crop of players have come in with goals to replace players such as potential NFL draftees Davis Tull and Derrick Lott, along with vital cog Danny Ring. The new group might be eager, but the goal now is to make sure they're disciplined.

And that's why there's "water."

"The call definitely slows us down, because on third down you want to go get it," Davis said. "You want to be the first off the ball, so if there's any flinch by the offense you want to go, but 'Water' makes us think and be prepared for everything that's going on. It affects us a little bit, but with experience -- the more you play, the more you see it -- the more you can react to it and adjust when you get the 'Waters' call, you can still get that jump off the ball.

"I've been trying to tell the younger guys to make it a process of elimination. You have to check off everything happening: Check the formation; check the alignment; check which hand is down. The faster you can do it, the more prepared you'll be when it's time to go."

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

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