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


PHOTOS: Ooltewah Dunks Fairyland In Mountain Top Experience

Former McCallie Lacrosse Standout Tate Boyce Named To All-USA Boys Team

McCallie's graduated senior Tate Boyce was named to the USA Today All-USA Boys Lacrosse Second Team. Boyce, a boarding student from Matthews, N.C., played goalie for the Blue Tornado and was instrumental in leading McCallie to the 2015 Lacrosse State Championship. It marked the program’s 10th overall state title in 25 years. Boyce was an All-State performer and a Tennessee ... (click for more)

Boyd Asks Coppinger, Compton To Apologize For Chief Of Staff's Outburst; Says Handbook Calls For Termination

County Commissioner Tim Boyd has written a letter to fellow commissioners and the county mayor's office asking an apology from County Mayor Jim Coppinger and his chief of staff, Mike Compton, for remarks after last week's commission meeting. Mr. Compton took strong exception to comments by County Commissioner Tim Boyd about discretionary funds. In a clash between the two just ... (click for more)

Settlement Reached In Case That Was County's Largest Verdict Award; Will Avoid Any Appeals Of Canyon Ridge Litigation

A settlement has been reached in the case in which a Hamilton County Circuit Court jury awarded over $32 million to Chattanooga developer Duane Horton in connection with a resort project on Lookout Mountain that never got off the ground. Circuit Court Judge J.B. Bennett said the two sides had informed him that it was agreed during a mediation session he ordered that there would ... (click for more)

Police Need To Stop The Road Cowboys

Where is our highway patrol?  If they were known to regularly patrol our interstate highways through our city I don't think it would take long before the "truckers" were aware of it.  There are places in our country where this is the case.   When I have traveled Interstates 24 and 75 I may see the occasional car pulled over but rarely if ever is it an 18-wheeler. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

As the month of July dawns this morning, a walk through my garden shows some flowers blooming, my marigolds dying, and the grass is greener than I thought it would be. But as I look for what’s good and what’s bad, let’s remember that some firecrackers pop while others fizzle. Here we go… A BANG to career criminal Whitely Bulger, the 85-year-old master criminal who in a recent ... (click for more)