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


Tull, Shafaat Named To AP All-American Teams

Chalk up two more All-American honors for the Chattanooga Mocs football team with the release of the Associated Press awards today.  Senior defensive end Davis Tull made the AP first team while senior tight end Faysal Shafaat was a third team selection.  This is Tull’s third appearance on the AP All-American team.  He was a first team pick a year ago and ... (click for more)

Photo Gallery: UTC Women Upset Stanford Wednesday, 54-46

Showing poise down the stretch, the Mocs did not let this game slip away. Instead, they took the challenge from the highly rated Stanford team and beat back the Cardinals with a 54-46 win. (click for more)

Erlanger To Proceed With Manager Bonuses In 2 Steps; Considering Employee Performance Incentive Plan

Erlanger President and CEO Kevin Spiegel said Wednesday night that the hospital plans to proceed with $1.7 million in manager bonuses in two steps. Current participants in the incentive program will receive 50 percent of the approved 2014 performance plan this month. The remaining 50 percent will be paid to the management group in July 2015. At the same time, Mr. Spiegel ... (click for more)

Man Shot In Chattanooga On Wednesday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot Wednesday afternoon. At approximately 3:16 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital for a person shot. P olice were advised that a male victim arrived suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. O fficers are attempting to locate a crime scene at this time. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with ... (click for more)

A Letter To The NAACP

I believe when a "unarmed" man is evil, he will try to beat a police officer on his head in hopes to knock him out, in hopes to kill him. We saw the bruises on the officer's face.  This evil force tried to take his gun away from him , Proof was in the autopsy.  Why did Michael Brown  try to take his gun away from him? Exactly, to kill the officer.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Advice: Just Be Normal

Matthew Kerlin, by his own admission, claims to be just a normal guy. But I am of the opinion, after reading his speech following Samford University’s Winter Commencement exercises, that the university’s Assistant Dean for Spiritual Life is a bit more than that. Dr. Kerlin knows college kids well and his advice to the most recent flock of America’s graduates resonates with brilliance. ... (click for more)