Chattanooga opens spring practice in less than a week. The Mocs return a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball from last season’s 6-5 campaign, and this spring will offer the first glimpse of new offensive coordinator Jeff Durden’s system.
Nooga.com will preview each position group leading up to the first practice on March 22.
Gone: Adam Miller (graduation); Devin Caldwell (left team); Dustin Tate (graduation); Irvin Hernandez (graduation); Michael Slowey (graduation); Steven Nease (graduation)
Returning: Kevin Revis (SR); Brandon Morgan (JR); Patrick Sutton (RS JR); Synjen Herren (RS SO); Hunter Dockery (RS SR); Robert Hill (RS FR); Sean Hill (JR); Casey Hybarger (RS SO); Corey Levin (RS FR); Jose Bruno (RS FR)
Early Enrollees: Channing Smith (TR-Marshall); Hunter Townson (2-star)
Arriving in summer: Jacob Revis (2-star); Logan Teichmann (2-star)
Injuries: Taylor Dodds (knee)
Outlook: It’s been a while since Chattanooga’s offensive line has been considered one of the squad’s strengths, but with plenty of starting experience returning, that could be the case this season.
The Mocs’ offensive front showed improvement last year, but left plenty to be desired, especially in the run game. Chattanooga finished seventh in the nine-team Southern Conference in rushing offense (166.4 ypg), while allowing 25 sacks. That number would have been higher, too, if not for the escapability of signal callers Jacob Huesman and Terrell Robinson.
Adam Miller, a four-year starter at right tackle, will certainly be missed, but the Mocs welcome back four starters on their offensive line with a combined 66 starts-senior Kevin Revis, sophomore Synjen Herren, junior Brandon Morgan and junior Patrick Sutton.
Sutton, a former walk-on, has started 22-straight games at center for the Mocs, while Revis, a transfer from Tennessee, and Herren both started all 11 games last season at right and left guard, respectively. Morgan, who started eight games as a true freshman in 2011, won the starting left tackle job against during preseason camp last year, but an injury forced him to miss substantial.
Senior Hunter Dockery filled in for the injured Morgan, starting the final seven games at left tackle. The 6-5, 305-pounder could possibly crack the starting lineup in his final season with the Mocs.
Sophomore Channing Smith could also see some first-team reps for Chattanooga this spring after transferring from Marshall University, where he spent the last two seasons. The 6-4, 280-pounder enrolled early and will participate in spring practice, as will freshman Hunter Townson, a two-star recruit out of Ider, Ala.
Junior Sean Hill, sophomore Casey Hybarger, and redshirt freshmen Robert Hill, Corey Levin, and Jose Bruno will also be taking part in spring drills, while true freshmen Jacob Revis-Kevin’s younger brother-and Logan Teichmann will arrive over the summer.
By the numbers:
. Sutton: 22 career games (22 starts)
. Revis: 21 career games (21 starts)
. Morgan: 14 career games (12 starts)
. Herren: 11 career games (11 starts)
. Dockery: 28 career games (7 starts)
. Dodds: 8 career games (4 starts)
. Hill: 7 career games
. Hybarger: 2 career games
. Total game experience returning: 113
. Total starts returning: 77
Projected initial spring depth chart: Revis (RG), Sutton (C), and Herren (LG) will almost certainly return as starters, but there could be some competition at the two tackles positions. Left tackle seems to be Morgan’s position to lose, but Dockery and Smith will certainly get looks as well.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.