UTC's Brand Part of Talented Mocs Front Four

Monday, August 12, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

“We are tired of being a mediocre team. And I feel the last few years we have been mediocre. We have the talent to be a great team and are working every day to improve.”

UTC junior defensive end Toyvian Brand

 

High expectations. A break-out year. A run at the conference championship and go deep into the NCAA playoffs.

Thanks, in part, to a solid defensive front four, the Tennessee at Chattanooga football program is poised to fight for a Southern Conference title and an NCAA playoff spot for the first time in three decades.

One reason for the excitement among Blue and Gold faithful is the play of the deep and talented defensive front four.

UTC, 6-5 in 2012, was 10th in the nation (FCS stats) in total defense a year ago and tied for 14th in turnover margin (17 for and 9 against;  +.73) and all but Josh Williams are back on the front line, including junior Toyvian Brand.

Four of those 17 team takeaways were fumble recoveries by the front four – one each for Zack Rayl, Williams, Brand and Derrick Lott.

“Toyvian (Toy-VEE-ahn) had to play inside (defensive tackle) last year out of necessity, but we have him at defensive end this year and we expect him to have a big year,” said UTC head coach Russ Huesman.

An all-state defensive end for Hillcrest High School (Ala.) outside of Tuscaloosa, Brand started all 11 games in 2012 with 25 tackles, two tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and three quarterback hits.

Anchoring the right end spot on the second group, Brand has started 16 games in his first two seasons and currently plays behind All-American end Davis Tull.

The starting four – Tull, Lott, Josh Freeman or Chris Mayes and Zack Rayl – is among the best in the country, while most Southern Conference defensive coordinators could easily insert the  Mocs number two group – Brand, Devin Scates, Daniel Ring and Keionta Davis – as their starters.

When asked what it will take to be a national-quality defense, Brand with a smile and without hesitation said, “be disruptive, be relentless, be accountable off the field and work hard every day in practice will make us better as individual players and as a team.”

The 6-2, 260 junior also stated, improving my foot work, hand fighting to control the offensive lineman across from me and getting off the ball quickly are keys to making me a better defensive end.”

One big change the past few months for the honor roll student has been spending time in the film room.

“My first two years I watched very little game film. I didn't understand the importance, but I now realize that by watching practice and game films I can see where I need improvement.”`

While opposing coaches will also spend time in the film room this fall looking for ways to stop or at least slow down the oncoming charge from the Mocs' front four, Brand and the rest of the two-deep front line will stay the course to be relentless, disruptive and anything but mediocre.

Upcoming Events:

* Sat. Aug, 17 – Meet the Mocs - 1 p.m. at First Tennessee Pavilion at Finley Stadium

The afternoon begins with an autograph session with all teams in the First Tennessee Pavilion.  Fans can get photos, autographs, posters, schedule cards and other Blue & Gold giveaways.

Be sure to get a FREE T-Shirt by taking the ‘Tried & True Blue’ pledge.  The first 1,500 fans who promise to introduce a friend to the Mocs football home opener will get a free shirt on the spot. 

The football team will take the field at Finley Stadium at 2:30 p.m. for an afternoon practice.  All fans are encouraged to watch the squad's preparation for the 2013 season. 

* Season Opener: Thurs. Aug.29 vs. UT-Martin – Finley Stadium, 7 p.m.

 

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net


Holley Earns Low Pro Honors At Windstone

Tad Holley shot 69 Monday and earned low-pro honors in the Chattanooga Chapter TN PGA Pro-Am at the Windstone Golf Club. Monday's Results Low Professional: 1st: (69) Tad Holley 2nd: (70) Robin Boyer Professional Skins: #1 & #11 Brandon Merritt, #7 & #14 Tad Holley Low Amateur: (71) Matt Hadden & Jay Potter Amateurs Skins: #1 Jess Lee, #4 Mike D Johnson ... (click for more)

Lookouts End Losing Streak With 4-3 Win At Biloxi Monday

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) -- Felix Jorge allowed just five hits over seven innings, leading the Chattanooga Lookouts over the Biloxi Shuckers in a 4-3 win on Monday. Jorge (4-1) picked up the win after he struck out three and walked one while allowing three runs. T.J. White led the offense with two hits. Ryan Strausborger tripled and his eighth inning walk drove in the game-winning ... (click for more)

Woman Found In Trunk Of Wrecked Car In Hixson Had Been Shot Multiple Times

A woman whose body was found in the trunk of a car after a wreck on Norcross Road in Hixson on April 7 had been shot multiple times, it was testified on Tuesday. Charges that included criminal homicide were bound to the Grand Jury against  Joshua Mincy, 25. He was also charged with aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm (convicted felon), ... (click for more)

Defense Attorney Wants To Take Jury To Scene Of 2015 Deadly I-75 Crash

Erin O'Leary of the public defender's office said Tuesday she wants to take the jury in the Benjamin Brewer case to the stretch of I-75 where six people were killed in a 2015 crash.   Judge Don Poole said a written motion should be filed on the request.   A jury will be picked on June 12 in Davidson County for the trial of the truck driver charged in a deadly ... (click for more)

Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs. To a great extent, Bradley and Polk Counties have benefited from that investment.   From February 2015 to February 2016, Cleveland/Bradley County led the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Public Defender And The Mental Health Court

I am holding in my hand a list of the names of 50 very real people who cost the taxpayers of Hamilton County a combined $3,037.090 in incarceration charges before July 2015. These people live in our county and I dare say it is not completely their fault that they were put in the county jail. Each has a professionally-diagnosed mental illness and today, most regretfully, the County ... (click for more)