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CHATTANOOGA—The 2022 football season is fast approaching for the 12th-ranked Chattanooga Mocs. At the time of this writing, kickoff is just 17 days away. Tickets are available at the link above. Stay tuned for more on the Southern Conference preseason favorites later.
This is the second in a position-by-position preview for the upcoming campaign.
Vol. 1: Line of Defense
Round two shows the guys making the offense work. You can’t run, pass or control a game without a strong group up front. Everything the Mocs look forward to on offense depends specifically on the work of this unit.
Two out of five starters return in the seniors McClendon Curtis and jr Colin Trett. The duo have spent the last few years side by side at right guard and tackle respectively. This partnership could fade away depending on how the rest of the lineage develops.
There are three guys pushing hard for time in the center/guard that might get someone to attack other than the two in an early fight on the left there. The above trio all have beginning experience from sophomore year Reid Williams.
Williams held the center job for three games in the spring of 2021 and has made a good use of an injured man Kyle Miskelly. Miskelley and Blake Mitchell made a majority of the snaps in 2021, but Williams is in a good position to snap or take over at left guard if an NFL first round draft pick isn’t selected Cole Strange.
Junior Nick Cerimele started in central Elon before his move this summer. Malone Van Gorder made 12 starts at FBS Bowling Green as a freshman last season. Those two and Williams will battle for center and guard snaps, with all three potentially getting Curtis to tackle. However…
Senior Luke Lavan and second graders Dave Monnot III working on tackle and broadcasting from Northern Colorado and Purdue respectively. Both have shown they can perform at this level, meaning there are a lot of bodies for five places.
That doesn’t even count for returnees like Jeremiah Katt, Cameron Cilurzo, Haze Solomon and Cameron Perry. transfers Luke Lane (Indiana), Bryce Goodner (Virginia Tech) and JD Broussard (Austin Peay) are there along with freshmen Adorian Favors, Jacob Klein, Will Collier, Cooper Rumfelt and Cameron Thomason.
It’s still early in camp so the competition is tough with three positions open. Everyone has a chance to make an impression and fight for time.
Quick take with offensive coordinator Joe Pizzo
“(In our scheme) it all starts with the offensive line. We are a run first team. These guys start the run game that opens the passing game. They are the heart and soul of the offense.”
Starters go back/lost: 2/3
Letter winners come back/lost: 4/6
Return of the Red Shirts: 3 (Cameron Cilurzo, Cameron Perry & Haze Solomon)
Newcomer (J.): 12 – Luke Lane (Sun Indiana), Malone Van Gorder (Sun.-Bowling Green), Nick Cerimele (Jr. Elon), Adorian Favors (Fri.), Bryce Goodner (Ms. Virginia Tech), Luke Lavan (Sr. North Colorado), Jacob Klein (Fri.), Will Collier (Fri.), Cooper Rumfelt (Fri.), JD Broussard (Ms. Austin Peay), Cameron Thomason (Fri.) & Dave Monnott III (Sun.-Purdue)
Six years: McClendon Curtis
McClendon Curtis is one of two Mocs in their sixth year in the program. He and defensive tackle Devonnsha Maxwell try to use the COVID permission exception in the same way Cole Strange made a year. That’s building a resume from solid NFL prospect to spectacular. “Big Curt” is almost unanimously a preseason All-American First Team and is under the watchful eye of NFL evaluators.
#SmallSchoolSaturday Volume 6
In this week @seniorbowl with Fordham LB Greenhagen who set the NCAA record with 31 tackles against Nebraska, Chatanooga OL McClendon with 35 inch guns, Under-Radar Incarnate Word WR Grimes and FAMU OLB Land who led the nation with 19 sacks.😴#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/hulIEWSbQR
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) July 9, 2022
A view from the other side
Defensive Line Coach Anthony Shakir who has the unique perspective of playing the Mocs-O-Line at ETSU in 2021 and seeing them up close in 2022:
“The first thing you notice is that they are well trained and they work so well together. They make you beat them with great technique. You have to be with your hand placement, your keys and in the right place. What struck me the most is how they finish every moment and play to the whistle.”
Under the Radar: Reid Williams
Reid is in his third year at Chattanooga. He started a few games during the COVID spring 2021 list and was a reserve in the fall of 2021. Now a sophomore, he appears poised to take on a regular role in the Mocs fortune. The question is where? He can snap in the middle or either give Coaches Pizzo and Guard Kevin Revision many ways to find out which combination will best lead the offense in 2022.
The Final Word with Offensive Line Coach Kevin Revision
“We added a lot but I wasn’t worried about the culture of the room because we had back. The incredible character and leadership of the guys we have back who are bought into the program brings the new guys to the same page. They’re starting to gel and we need to keep coming together over the next few weeks. There’s no substitute for playing experience, but I think we have a good mix in the room.”
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