CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Russ Huesman wasted no time calling out his offensive line this spring.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach told reporters before last week's first practice that his team ran the ball poorly last year, and the guys up front shoulder much of the blame.
While he has not yet discussed it with the group directly, they've already accepted the challenge.
"That goes without saying. We know we have to block better," said rising senior guard Kevin Revis. "We came a long way last year and we've played together for a long time, so now it's time for us to take that next step to where we're one of the strengths of the team."
Rhea County's Revis is part of an experienced group ready to step up and make that happen.
Fellow guard Synjen Herren and center Patrick Sutton started all eleven games alongside Revis last fall, while Hunter Dockery (seven starts) and Brandon Morgan (four starts) accounted for all 11 starts at left tackle.
"Me and Patrick don't have to say anything. We just look at each other," Revis said. "You don't have to make your calls because you know what the other is thinking and how they're going to block it.
"How everything meshes, that has a lot to do with continuity."
The group is far from flashy and indeed rarely vocal, but that's how Huesman likes it.
Senior right tackle Adam Miller, the only departure from last year's line, and player-turned-assistant coach Chris Harr have been the line's leaders the past few years with a similar personality.
"Since I've been here, that's what it's been," Huesman said. "We haven't had a guy that's been very vocal. But you lead by example up front, and I think that's the most important thing."
And the veteran group is doing plenty of leading so far this spring.
Revis, Sutton, Herren and Dockery have combined to start 61 games over the last two years, so they have plenty of experience to share with a talented crop of newcomers.
Huesman is making sure rising sophomore Corey Levin, early-enrollee Hunter Townson and Marshall transfer Channing Smith are all getting plenty of reps, too.
It's part of his plan to keep pushing his line to rise to his challenge.
"The younger guys will come up and ask us questions. It's our responsibility to tell them stuff because we know what to expect in the games," Revis said. "As a senior, I think I need to step into that (vocal) role a little bit, but it's a transition.
"I've never been a big 'yell at everybody' kind of guy."