Coach Arth finds promise in freshman Cole Copeland
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
The Chattanooga Mocs have had a tough 2017 season, to say the least.
The Mocs have won only one game, but have been besieged by injuries at the quarterback spot.
However, freshman quarterback Cole Copeland, who starred at Bradley Central, has been a bright spot.
The Mocs suffered its latest loss, 30-10 against Mercer last Saturday.
But coach Tom Arth said Copeland did many things well. Arth explained at his Tuesday news conference, "I thought we threw the ball well. I thought Cole played a very good game, very solid game, made some accurate throws on third down in some pressure. Was able to escape the pocket and make some plays as well. That was great to see."
Copeland got his first start the week before against Furman. He set freshman records with 317 passing yards and 30 completions on 42 attempts.
With Alejandro Bennifield sitting out the first four games due to an NCAA academic suspension, a first game moment of "deer in the headlights" almost happened to Copeland.
Nick Tiano started against Jacksonville State in the first game. During one play, his helmet came off. By rule, a player must exit for one play if his helmet comes off.
When that happened, Copeland thought he was going into the game.
But the Mocs called a timeout and were able to avoid inserting the former Bradley Central star.
Make no mistake, Copeland said the speed of the game on the FCS level is a major adjustment. "The only way to get really comfortable is getting thrown in the fire, you know. It's hard to like sit back and watch somebody else do it. You can learn from their mistakes, but until you're in the game or making your own mistakes, that's when you really get comfortable," Copeland said.
His maturity is increasing week to week and he may get the call on Saturday against The Citadel.
Arth said Bennifield is still "symptomatic" from the concussion he suffered against Western Carolina. The coach added Tiano is progressing from his shoulder injury suffered in the same game. If those two aren't ready to play, Arth said Copeland will get the nod.
Saturday's game kicks off at 2:00pm at Finley Stadium.
It's Military Appreciation Day and veterans get in free if they bring an acceptable form of military ID.
There will be a table next to the First Tennessee Pavilion ticket booth where veterans can pick up their free tickets.