Big Hits, Tempers Shown at UTC's Spirited Football Practice

Mocs Hold Scrimmage Friday at Finley

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

UTC Football practice No. 16 was Die Hard, True Grit and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly all rolled into one, two hour practice at Scrappy Moore Field Tuesday afternoon.

The defense got blown up early on a Jacob Huesman long touchdown pass, coach Russ Huesman yelled about having pride on defense, true freshman Penny Smith got his toes down in bounds on a couple of good touchdown catches (a little push off on the second one, but who’s counting) and a few punches were thrown as tempers flared late in the day.

Bruce Willis, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood would have smiled from the sidelines saying in unison “make my day” on sophomore receiver C.J. Board’s bone jarring, helmet-rattling block on junior defensive back Sema’je Kendall.

“No doubt that was the play of the day,” said wide receivers coach Will Healy with a smile.

“There was some tempers showing out there today, but it means they are tired of hitting each other and getting ready for Central Michigan.”

But defensive line coach Marcus West was not pleased with the throwing of punches by linebacker Nakevion Leslie towards a couple of offensive linemen after one play when both the No.1 offensive and defensive units were facing off.

“We need controlled energy out there and that (fighting) doesn’t help us,” said West shaking his head.

Coach Huesman was preaching pride and he didn’t even need a pulpit.

“Whether it’s one on one, seven on seven or 11 on 11, you have got to have pride,” he yelled at his defense. “Great defenses have pride in what they do.”

Yet he did give a hand slap to true freshman Trevor Wright on a well-executed pass break-up.

After the players headed off to the locker room, Huesman also stated that “we had a few fumbles (third unit), but overall we had pretty good ball security.”

The sixth year head coach smiled and walked off Scrappy Moore Field knowing that the season opener is 16 days away (Aug. 28 at Central Michigan) and hopefully enough practice sessions remaining to have the Blue and Gold ready for the start of season No. 107.

What’s Next: The Mocs are back at it Wednesday with the last two-a-days (7:45 a.m. & 5:45 p.m.), followed by single practices Thursday and Saturday sandwiched around a 3 p.m. Friday scrimmage at Finley Stadium prior to the 55th annual Prep Football Jamboree starting at 7 p.m.

contact B.B. Branton at

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