CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team practiced in pads Tuesday for the first time this fall.
"So what," says head coach Russ Huesman.
The veteran coach said the two-and-a-half hour morning workout was similar to its Monday predecessor in which the Mocs wore just shoulder pads and helmets.
"Everybody always starts screaming 'Full pads! Full pads!' like something is going to change, but it really doesn't," Huesman said. "We could scrimmage in shorts if we really wanted to. I know there's kind of a psychological aspect to it, but it really shouldn't be any different."
J.J. Jackson was excited about the first day in pads, but it wasn't because of any extra hitting.
"We got new practice pants this year, so I was anxious to try them out," the senior running back said.
While they added thigh and knee pads, the Mocs withheld from full-on live tackling on the fifth day of camp. Huesman said they plan to do their first intense tackling of the fall during the morning session of Wednesday's first two-a-day practice.
For now, UTC players are keeping their focus on "thudding" and staying on their feet.
"For the young guys it's hard because they want to grab and pull and fall to the ground," Huesman said. "You have to have the ability to just square people up, thud 'em up, chest 'em up and then let 'em go. Sometimes it looks good and sometimes it looks sloppy, but it's going to make us a better football team."
Haynes to miss time with a foot injury
Dean Haynes hoped to make a big impact upon his return to the Chattanooga area this summer, but an injury has slowed the start of the junior defensive back's first UTC camp.
The North Carolina State transfer hurt his foot in Monday's practice and was not on the field for Tuesday's workout. Huesman said the injury will likely sideline the former Northwest Whitfield star for a few weeks.
"It doesn't appear to be a real serious injury. We expect him to be back for the South Florida game, but we'll see how he progresses," Huesman said. "Sometimes it's all about how kids heal. Some kids heal faster than others.
"We think it's similar to what Chris Lewis-Harris had two years ago in camp, and he was ready for the opener."
Mocs' work-in-progress offense experiences extremes
As expected, Chattanooga's switch to the spread offense continues to be consistently inconsistent a week into fall camp.
There wasn't much room for middle ground in Tuesday's workout, with the offense more often experience extreme highs and lows in the full-team scrimmage and seven-on-seven drills.
"If one thing goes wrong, it definitely screws up the whole play right now," said Jackson with a big smile.
Jacob Huesman mishandled a few snaps and threw an interception that freshman linebacker A.J. Hampton returned for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Terrell Robinson had offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield coming unglued after taking several sacks in the pocket.
Both quarterbacks rebounded in the final scrimmage period, though, to toss a pair of touchdowns.
"We knew there was going to be a lot of bad that would happen," Huesman said. "There's kinks in it and we'll get better as we figure it out more and more.
"Now if we're still saying that in the middle of the season, I've got issues with it."