published Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Huesman favors more in playoffs

UTC head coach Russ Huesman speaks to his players at the end of the Chattanooga Mocs' second practice of the 2011-12 school year early Friday morning.
UTC head coach Russ Huesman speaks to his players at the end of the Chattanooga Mocs' second practice of the 2011-12 school year early Friday morning.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

When the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs were expanded from 16 to 20 teams in 2010, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman wasn't in favor of the change.

"I didn't think it would work," he said Friday.

Huesman was concerned about the added round of games, which forced the final into January, and the possibility that the field might be diluted.

As it turned out, despite the Mocs missing out on the playoffs, Huesman said he liked the new format. He also is in favor of expanding the field again.

When the FCS Presidents Group meets with NCAA president Mark Emmert in Indianapolis next week, one of the topics to be discussed is increasing the field to up to 24 teams -- the same number as the Division II playoffs.

"I think if they go to 24, because it's not adding another week onto [the playoffs], I think it's a good idea," Huesman said.

In the current system, 10 of the 20 teams in the field are conference champions from the 10 leagues with automatic bids. The other 10 are selected by the FCS committee, which has 11 athletic directors from FCS conferences.

Seven wins against Division I opposition usually has been the magic number for at-large-bid consideration. That doesn't guarantee a spot, but for teams from power conferences such as the Southern Conference and the Colonial Athletic Association, it's often enough.

And once a team is in, anything can happen, as a 7-4 Georgia Southern squad showed last season by advancing to the semifinals.

"I think if you're 7-4 in some of these leagues, you probably deserve to go," Huesman said. "For the leagues like the CAA and the Big Sky and the Southern Conference, I think if you're a 7-4 team in those leagues you can probably play with a lot of people."

Good morning

The Mocs arrived at Scrappy Moore Field before the sun came up Friday. Their second preseason practice began at 6:30 a.m., well before the temperature soared into the 90s.

"I thought they moved around good," Huesman said. "As the days progress they're going to be a little sore, a little weak, a little tired. ... It was really cool [this morning] and I'm sure they were pretty excited about it."

Cornerback Chaz Moore (shoulder) and wide receiver Marlandas Crane (groin) did not practice.

Extra points

UTC practices at 7:45 a.m. today and Sunday, and the Mocs will be in shorts and shoulder pads both days. ... State Senator Bo Watson, of Hixson, a UTC graduate and avid Mocs fan, attended Friday's practice.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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