Injuries limit Mocs' progress on defense - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Injuries limit Mocs' progress on defense

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Russ Huesman had a few questions about his defense at the start of spring practice.

A month later, he hasn't found any answers.

Injuries of plagued the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team throughout spring drills, but the biggest ones have come on the defensive side of the ball.

"I'm not sure if I know much more about our defense than I did before we came out here, and that's one of the biggest issues," Huesman said before Wednesday's second-to-last spring workout. "We've looked good offensively, and obviously still have some room to grow, but defensively we're just a really big question mark."

The Mocs entered the spring without four returning defensive players, including three starters. Defensive lineman Nick Craig (knee) and Jesse LoScudo (shoulder), along with defensive ends Josh Williams (shoulder) and Chris Donald (wrist) missed the entire session because of offseason surgery.

Defensive end Davis Tull (hand) and defensive tackle Michael Slowey (concussion) have also missed time on the line, and linebacker Gunner Miller (shoulder stinger) has worn a green no-contact jersey all spring.

"It's been really weird. You look across from you one day, and a guy lines up. Then the next day someone tells you that guy is hurt, so someone else is there lining up in his spot," said junior offensive lineman Adam Miller. "It's been different, but the young guys are all getting some experience, so that will help us."

Huesman and defensive coordinator Adam Fuller had no choice but to turn to their youth in the team's second spring scrimmage last Saturday. Linebacker Ryan Consiglio, defensive back Chaz Moore and safeties Jordan Tippit and D.J. Key joined the previously mentioned seven players on the sidelines.

"It's been really disappointing," Huesman said. "There's been days where we've missed a lot of guys this spring, and last week's scrimmage I think we were without nine potential starters on the defensive side.

"But again, we're getting some young guys a lot of work and a lot of snaps. Guys like Zack Rayl, Keyon Reed, Devin Scates and Muhasibi Wakeel, so that's going to be a good thing."

Huesman hopes to make it one more workout without a new injury when the Mocs conduct their annual Blue-Gold Spring Game this Saturday at Finley Stadium.

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