Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - by B.B. Branton
“Patrick Sutton is a fantastic kid, a hard worker and a team guy. He knows the offense inside and out.”
UTC head football coach Russ Huesman on UTC starting center Patrick Sutton
It was the summer of 2010 and a man was in the water, in trouble, bleeding with a severely cut leg after hitting a boat propeller and in great need of help.
In an instant, UTC freshman Patrick Sutton was out of his nearby boat in the water and helped get the man to shore.
“His leg was badly cut from his ankle to his knee so we were able to get him on our boat, secure a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and then the medical staff got him to the hospital once we got to shore,” said Sutton who had learned first aid from his dad who is a policeman.
“He was in real bad shape at the time, is fine now, but does walk with a limp.”
Also that summer, Sutton jumped in with both feet into other unchartered waters – as the future starting center for the UTC Mocs football team.
“I played defensive end in high school and other positions on the line as a junior, but had never played center until I got here,” stated Sutton who was all-state at Sevierville HS in 2009. “The coaches wanted me to move to center and it has worked out well.”
“Well” might be an understatement as he won the starting job as a walk-on (now on scholarship) and has started 22 straight games snapping the ball, first to B.J. Coleman in 2011 and last year to signal callers Jacob Huesman and Terrell Robinson.
“I knew nothing about the position at first and my snaps were pretty bad,” said Sutton with a laugh, “but B.J. was the key to my learning the position as he had me do 50 snaps a day all that summer prior to the 2010 season."
UTC offensive line coach Alex Atkins describes Patrick as “smart, intelligent and has the experience from starting the past two years.”
“He is like me in certain aspects as I was a walk-on at UT-Martin and ended up being a four-year starter and the same could be true for Patrick.”
Success in the Trenches: A member of a veteran offensive line, Sutton believes the key to being a good center is winning the battle in the trenches with hands and feet.
“As a lineman you have to win the battle on every play on positioning your feet so the defensive linemen don’t move you around and winning the hand fighting war,” stated the 6-0, 275-pound Sutton who carries a 3.5 grade point average in the classroom.
Sutton and his O-Line teammates, including Kevin Revis, Brandon Morgan, Hunter Dockery, Synjen Herren know that for the Mocs to have a great year and a run at the Southern Conference title, winning the war in the trenches, opening holes for the running backs and protecting the quarterback are vital parts of the road to victory.
Willing to Change: Sutton attributes his success at the center position to hard work on the field, but also to a training in the weight room.
I weighed about 260 as a junior in high school, but it wasn’t all muscle and I knew that to become a better player I had to make some changes,” said Sutton with a smile who also started every game his last three years at Seviervillel earning all-conference honors each year..
“I started working with a personal trainer in high school and went from 260 to 225 as a senior and made the all-state team,” he said.
A growing teenager who liked to eat – his favorite meal then and now is his mom’s chicken and dumplings, green beans and potatoes – he had to push away from the table and hit the weights and fitness.
“My trainer really worked me hard as I worked on movement and balance and keeping my heart rate up for long periods of time,” Sutton stated.
“I have put on about 50 pounds since high school, but I am much more toned through weight training and exercise, but of course, I still do my fair share of eating.”
With a team goal of winning the first SoCon title in nearly 30 years (1984), Sutton and company hope to get championship rings along with a possible victory dinner of his mom’s chicken and dumplings.
Practice Notes: Wednesday.& Friday - Mocs have 2 practices - 7:45 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. - both at Scrappy Moore Field
Thursday: 7:45 a.m. Scrappy Moore Field
Saturday: 2:30 p.m. - Scrimmage at Finley Stadium (closed to the public)
Sunday: Off Day
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