published Monday, November 7th, 2011

Allison returns to QB in Mocs win at Samford

Three players lined up at quarterback for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Saturday in the Mocs' 24-9 win at Samford.

Seeing Terrell Robinson and Graham Nichols out there in Seibert Stadium wouldn't have been a huge surprise since they're, well, quarterbacks. But Sloan Allison?

With B.J. Coleman still recovering from a sprained shoulder and Robinson slowed all week by a sprained foot, offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield had to come up with a variety of game plans.

"We started the week saying B.J.'s playing and did up a game plan, and he went out Tuesday and had the best practice he's every had in his life," Satterfield said. "He threw 72 balls [in his first practice since getting hurt on Oct. 8] and three balls hit the ground."

However, it was decided that Coleman's shoulder wasn't quite ready. Meanwhile, Robinson suffered a sprained foot late in UTC's 14-7 loss to Furman the week before and hardly practiced all week.

Nichols got most of the snaps in practice, but Satterfield said he felt UTC needed a running threat at the position because of the offense's problems running in the traditional two-back set. In stepped Allison.

"Sloan was our next-best option because he'd played quarterback and he's been calling plays for Terrell half the time anyway," Satterfield said. "He's got a lot of savvy and he allowed us to [use a Wildcat-type system]."

Allison was already UTC's jack-of-all-trades player before last week. The fifth-year senior -- who played in 11 games at quarterback in 2008 -- is UTC's third-leading receiver, but he also is the holder on place kicks and plays on punt and kickoff teams.

Nichols started the game at quarterback, going 11-of-17 passing for 66 yards, but Allison lined up in the shotgun on the second play, rushing for 4 yards.

Allison finished with 32 yards on nine carries and he was 0-for-1 passing, while also catching two passes for 12 yards.

"Without a doubt it was fun," Allison said.

The only thing that would have made it better would have been a touchdown pass.

As a quarterback in 2008, Allison struggled, finishing the season 35-of-87 for 331 yards and nine interceptions, with no touchdown passes. In the Furman loss Allison threw a pass on a fake field goal, but put too much air under the ball and the pass was broken up.

During UTC's 17-play drive in the second quarter, Allison tried a jump pass to tight end Faysal Shafaat on third-and-8 at the Samford 12-yard line. But the timing was off and it fell incomplete.

"The jump pass, if I would have completed that one, then we could have talked about some redemption [for 2008], because I've never thrown a touchdown pass here," he said.

The Mocs still have one game remaining, against No. 9 Wofford on Nov. 19, so there's still time.

As different as UTC's offense looked Saturday, it may be way different against the Terriers. The banged-up Mocs have finally hit their off week, so there's time for Coleman and Robinson, among others, to heal before the next game. The Mocs will practice on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

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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