to Begin its 100th Year of Football
UTC kicked off the 2003 football season and its 100th year
of football when Athletics Director Steve Sloan and Head Coach Rodney
Allison unveiled the school's Century of Football logo to be used this
season. Seniors James Clark and Blake Kirkland also modeled the team's
new uniforms at the UTC Alumni sponsored event.
The uniforms use more of the color white in the blue and
gold color scheme, and the jerseys have the word "Chattanooga"
emblazoned across the front. The gold pants have a wide navy blue stripe
down the sides, as opposed to the two-stripe version from last year's
pants. A single blue stripe down the center of the gold helmet matches
the stripe on the pants.
This year marks the 100th year of football at the University, and UTC
and the community will hold a season-long celebration commemorating the
The University kicked off intercollegiate competition in the sport of
football with its first official game, Oct. 29, 1904.
The Century of Football celebration has several events planned throughout
the season. The Century of Football Gala will be held Sept. 12 in the
Chattanooga Choo Choo Ball Room. A special dinner and program is open
to the public, and the UC/UTC All-Century Football Team will be presented.
The All-Century Team will be selected from fans’ nominations and
will consist of 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, a punter,
a place kicker, a return man and a head coach.
A special commemorative ticket will be produced, and an exclusive exhibit
on the history of Chattanooga Football will be on display from August
through December at the Chattanooga Regional History Museum. There are
also plans for every available former football player and coach to return
to campus and join each other on the Finley Stadium field for the Homecoming
Game, Oct. 4 against Wofford.
A Look at the Team Through Head Coach
Rodney Allison’s Eyes
Allison admits his job this year will be challenging. The
Mocs lost nine straight games last year to open the season before winning
two of the last three and finish 2-10.
While the squad will be without the services of All-America linebacker
Josh Cain and quarterback Ryan McCann, Allison does have some talent with
which to work. Senior receiver Jason Jones led the Southern Conference
in touchdown catches in 2002 with 10 and was a Second-Team All-SoCon selection.
Jones joined center Chris Cook and place kicker Patrick Shutters on an
All-Southeast Region Team. Utility player Jeremy Grier led the league
in all-purpose yardage and was fourth in the SoCon in receptions.
The quarterback position will be a question mark this season. McCann was
a kind of one-hit wonder for the Mocs. He transferred to UTC from UCLA
for his senior season and won the starting job at quarterback. In the
old regime’s Air Raid offense, McCann stood second in the conference
in passing yards and ranked 30th nationally with 210 yards per game.
When McCann went down with a shoulder injury early in the season, Justin
Barnes took over the controls. Barnes, a senior, has seen various degrees
of action over the last two seasons. Last season, Barnes completed 53.2
percent of his pass attempts (50-for-93) with four touchdowns and three
interceptions. Unfortunately, the sure incumbent at signal caller will
serve as a student assistant this season because an injury has pulled
him from the field.
Sophomore Kurtis Koester and freshman Matthew Lopez, both of whom redshirted
last season, will battle for the first-string quarterback job. Lopez was
named the starter following spring drills.
“We are OK right now at quarterback,” Allison said. “I
feel that we have two or three players who can be effective in our offense.
We will be as good on offense as what our quarterbacks are capable of
For a broader look at the 2003 season, visit www.gomocs.com