published Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Fuller delighted to be UTC defensive coordinator

UTC defensive coordinator Adam Fuller.
UTC defensive coordinator Adam Fuller.
Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Adam Fuller would like to be a head football coach again one day, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive coordinator is in no rush to change jobs.

"I have the best job, probably, in [the Football Championship Subdivision]," said Fuller, whose unit led the Southern Conference in total defense and scoring defense this season.

Why? Because head coach Russ Huesman "lets me do my job, and if I have a question, I just walk down the hall."

Fuller, a Tewksbury, Mass., native, spent the 2008 season as the head coach at Assumption College, a Division II school in Worcester, Mass. The Greyhounds went 1-9 that season, and soon after that Fuller joined Huesman at UTC. However, that doesn't mean he doesn't want another shot at being the man in charge.

"I would love to be a head coach again," he said. "I've never been one to pick my head up from the sand very much, and you just find yourself every single year going along, doing the next thing in the job you've got."

Fuller said he hasn't given any thought to other opportunities since he came to UTC because he's been so focused on turning around the defense.

"You always want to finish a job you start, and it's not finished yet," he said.

And during the next five years, should UTC continue to finish with records of 6-5 or 5-6, "you probably won't be talking to me," he said.

Fuller worked with Huesman at Richmond from 2005 to '07. After the 2007 season, Fuller took over at Assumption.

While he was coaching the Greyhounds, Huesman was leading Richmond's defense and helping win a national championship. After Huesman was hired by UTC, he brought in Mike Elko to be his defensive coordinator -- only to lose him a couple of months later to former Richmond coach Dave Clawson at Bowling Green.

Fuller, who also coaches the linebackers, joined UTC before spring practice in 2008, and it has been his defense ever since. Huesman, because of his background, is perceived by many as the leader of the defense, but that's not the case.

"I hope I come across and say it enough and deflect it," Huesman said. "If I don't, I need to do a better job of that, because everybody needs to know that our defensive coordinator is Adam and he's the one that puts the defense together.

"And I'll say that our linebackers were the best-coached unit on this football team. That's on him."

Fuller said he appreciates Huesman's input and how the head coach lets him run the defense.

"He's allowed me to call every single thing since the day I got here," Fuller said. "Since the Glenville State game [to open the 2009 season] to the Wofford game [the 2011 finale], every single call he allows me to make."

Two of UTC's three starting linebackers, Ryan Consiglio and Wes Dothard, were voted first-team All-SoCon by the league's coaches. Consiglio led the league with 120 tackles, and Dothard had 15.5 tackles for loss.

Consiglio, a senior who just finished his career, said playing in Fuller's defense for the past three seasons was a thrill.

"From just how he is as a person, he's so motivational; he can really get a lot out of you and he demands a lot out of you, which he should," Consiglio said. "And then the X's and O's part of it -- I've learned so much from him and I've enjoyed every minute of it, watching film and talking about football."

The 4-3 defense Fuller runs is very similar to Huesman's. Philosophically, the two are almost exactly alike when it comes to defense.

"It's the same defense [as Huesman ran at Richmond]," Fuller said, "but it's just like if he was running it -- it's evolved."

The Mocs' defense finished the 2010 season ranked eighth in the SoCon in scoring defense and sixth in total defense. This season, thanks to "health, players and depth," Fuller said, UTC led the league in both categories.

Fuller has something to brag about this winter as he hits the road recruiting. He said UTC could sign as many as 10 defensive players.

The Mocs already have a commitment from linebacker Alex Kirby, who helped Calhoun High School win the Georgia Class AA state championship Friday. Also committed is North Gwinnett (Ga.) High School defensive end Justin Alabi.

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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