Vols Knock Off Florida Gators, 38-33, To Start Season 4-0

Randy Smith: Rusty's Ready To Go

Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
As the Chattanooga Mocs open their fourth season under head coach Rusty Wright, there is an air of excitement and high expectations. The Mocs are the pre-season favorites to win the Southern Conference Championship as well as being ranked 12th in the polls before the season gets underway. That's pretty good for a guy who has more than paid his dues since he graduated from UTC in 1995. He's been an assistant at several stops including Georgia State, Butler and Furman. He also has two different stints at his alma mater and, after spending four years as an assistant coach in his second tour of duty, he was named head coach in 2019. He has climbed the ladder and worked his way through the ranks to get where he is today and he's proven in his first three seasons that UTC made a great decision to give one of their own his first head coaching position. 

You might call Rusty Wright a "blue collar" football coach.
He's always ready to go to work and he doesn't just wait until August. "It' s what we've done since January. Just the attitude and work they've put in since January to get us to this point. The competition....the things we've done internally gets me excited for these guys." 


The reason for all this excitement is the fact that the Mocs return 25 starters from last year's squad that finished 6-5. It's not really a season that indicates there are great things to come but there is plenty of talent and, when you add in 43 newcomers and 17 redshirts, you can't help but get excited. 

UTC had great success under another former Moc player when Russ Heusman took over the program in 2008. Now it's Rusty's turn to bring the Mocs back to the glory days of Joe Morrison in the 1970s . Since then, Chattanooga has been an up and down program while competing in the Southern Conference. In fact, the Mocs have been members of the SoCon since 1977. That's 45 years for those who are counting. It was just a year or so ago that the Mocs were approached by the OVC and a couple of FBS leagues. UTC was obviously not interested in breaking from the Southern Conference but to be totally honest, joining a bigger better conference is the only way for the program to grow. 

You need to look no further than former UTC foes Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. They were once big rivals and big draws at Finley Stadium. Now, the biggest opponent to enter Finley in 2022 is Mercer or Wofford, the Mocs' season opening opponent on Sept. 3rd. 

I've written about this several times before and no one seems to take it seriously. Forty-five years of mediocrity may be enough to satisfy some people, but the majority of Chattanoogans I've spoken with support a move up for the Mocs. In the meantime, Coach Rusty Wright has things moving in the right direction. We are more than lucky to have him at the helm!

* * *
Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com


College Football On TV

Moc Golfers Travel To J.T. Poston Invitational

UTC Women Finish Sixth At Mason Randolph Championships


Saturday, Sept. 24 Kent State at Georgia, on SEC Network and ESPN+, noon Vanderbilt at Alabama, on SEC Network, 7:30 p.m. Florida at Tennessee, on CBS, 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 ... (click for more)

-The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team heads east into the Smoky Mountains for tournament No. 2 on the 2022-23 season. The J.T. Poston Invitational awaits as the Mocs sprinter brings the defending ... (click for more)

-It was a weekend of opportunity for the Chattanooga Mocs women’s golf team. The ladies did not disappoint coming in sixth against a power-packed 14-team field. It ended with a 294 today to complete ... (click for more)



Sports

College Football On TV

Saturday, Sept. 24 Kent State at Georgia, on SEC Network and ESPN+, noon Vanderbilt at Alabama, on SEC Network, 7:30 p.m. Florida at Tennessee, on CBS, 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 West Virginia at Virginia Tech | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN Coastal Carolina at Georgia State | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU Chattanooga at Illinois | 8:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network Friday, Sept. 23 ... (click for more)

Moc Golfers Travel To J.T. Poston Invitational

-The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team heads east into the Smoky Mountains for tournament No. 2 on the 2022-23 season. The J.T. Poston Invitational awaits as the Mocs sprinter brings the defending champion home to the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. Sophomore Braedon Wear was impressive in claiming win No. 1 of his college career there a year ago. He opened with twin 66s on ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Over 1,600 Athletes Take Part In Chattanooga Ironman 2022; Drew Jordan, Amy Corrigan Take 1st Place

Over 1,600 athletes took part in the 2022 Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga on Sunday. The athletes kicked off their IRONMAN journey, beginning with a 2.4-mile swim in the Tennessee River before taking on a 112-mile ride through the hills of North Georgia and a 26.2-mile run around historic Chattanooga with an unforgettable finish down Riverfront Parkway along the Tennessee River. ... (click for more)

2-Year-Old In Critical Condition After Being Found Unresponsive In Neighbor's Pool In Bradley County

A two-year old child is in critical condition after being found in a neighbor's pool Sunday afternoon. The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Bradley County EMS and Bradley County Fire and Rescue were dispatched at 1:18 p.m. to an address on Burnt Ridge Drive, Charleston, in reference to a possible drowning. The call came when neighbors discovered an unresponsive child ... (click for more)

Opinion

What Lessons Are We Teaching Our Students? - And Response

A parent spanks their kid in the year 2022 and gets CPS and the police called on them. A cop body slams a child by his dreadlocks and maces him at his school and most people cheer it on as teaching him a lesson by disciplining him. What lesson are we teaching our kids? That violence solves problems? That talking back to authority figures is a crime? The kid never put his ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: MTSU's Biggest Win Ever

There are those among us who believe Tennessee’s 38-33 win over Florida was the biggest win in the South on Saturday but, ah, that’s because they still don’t know that “little” Middle Tennessee State, a 25-point underdog to nationally ranked Miami, just clobbered the proud-and-might Hurricanes in a far-better football game. That’s right, MTSU clobbered No. 25 Miami, 45-31, Saturday ... (click for more)