University of Tennessee at Chattanooga receivers coach Ryan Aplin is accelerating a portion of the learning curve for some freshmen under his guidance.
The preparation portion.
Aplin instituted a rule giving receivers two options as punishment if they forget their notebooks for meetings: singing a song of their choice in front of the room, or physical activity — usually up-downs or gassers. Videos of the performances are posted to Aplin's Twitter account (@CoachRyanAplin).
So far, he has claimed two victims — Jordan Ferguson and Jeffery Wood.
Each chose to sing a song. Ferguson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder from Knoxville, selected Alicia Keys' "No One," while Wood, a 5-8, 165-pounder who prepped at Webb School in Knoxville, chose Ne-Yo's "Sexy Love."
"It's just a way to keep them accountable," Aplin said after Wednesday's practice. "I think it's good because a lot of old guys understand the expectation, but you can always get a young guy who will slip up. It makes it fun because the old guys get to see the young guys sing, which kind of helps them come out of their shell a little bit, but at the end of the day we're trying to teach guys to always be prepared for meetings.
"If they get up there and sing one time, a lot of time that's all it takes."
When asked to assess the performances, Aplin praised Wood for being more interactive and bringing more excitement — he stood on a table at one point — while also pointing out Ferguson hit some high notes and tried to "fluctuate his vocals a little more."
"You would hope after two times, everybody else will learn," Aplin said. "I hope not to have to do again, but they know the expectation if somebody forgets their notebook."
Mocs on TV
In addition to all of their games being available via internet-based ESPN3 this season, the Mocs will appear on television networks on five occasions.
UTC will have two games (Sept. 23 at VMI, Oct. 14 at Mercer) air on Stadium, "a new 24/7, linear, multi-platform sports network with both digital and on-the-air broadcast feeds formed through a combination of Campus Insiders, 120 Sports and American Sports Network," according to a Southern Conference news release.
A third game, Nov. 4 at Wofford, will be branded as "College Football Down South," and will be operated by 7 Communications, a production company based in Raleigh, N.C.
In addition, the Mocs open the season on ESPN against Jacksonville State on Aug. 26 and will play their second game on Sept. 9 at LSU, a game broadcast on the SEC Network's alternate channel.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.