published Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Mocs focus on Furman tight end

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    Furman’s Colin Anderson is the No. 1 tight end in the Southern Conference.
    Furman Photo

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Mocs coach Russ Huesman

Colin Anderson arrived at Furman as a walk-on quarterback in 2008. He’s now the top tight end in the Southern Conference and among the best in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The 6-foot-4, 231-pound Anderson leads the Paladins (4-3, 3-2 SoCon) with 29 receptions for 453 yards and six touchdowns. Those 29 catches are the most of any tight end in the FCS.

“Some of the catches that we see him make on film are incredible,” said University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman, whose Mocs (4-4, 2-3) host the Paladins on Saturday.

“And the bottom line is, they use him. Sometimes you’ve got a great one, ‘ah, let’s give him the ball a couple of times.’ They use him. It forces you to defend him.”

By comparison, Appalachian State’s Ben Jorden, who’s regarded as another top tight end in the SoCon, has just nine catches for 92 yards.

“They don’t feature [Jordan], while Furman is going to get the ball to this guy,” Huesman said.

The Mocs had an all-conference tight end last season in Garrett Hughes. Faysal Shafaat is coming along this season, especially with fellow redshirt freshman Terrell Robinson at quarterback.

The two built some chemistry on the scout team last season and five of Robinson’s 23 completions since taking over for B.J. Coleman have gone to Shafaat.

“I think Faysal’s got a feel for what I do, and [when] he sees me scrambling — just like on scout team last year — and he’ll find me, get in my vision and I know he can catch the ball,” Robinson said.

Getting the ball to Anderson is quarterback Chris Forcier, who has been one of the breakout stars of the SoCon this season. The senior, who transferred from UCLA in 2009, hadn’t done much for the Paladins before this season — due in part to missing most of 2010 with a shoulder injury.

Forcer quietly got off to a good start and then came the Presbyterian game that caught everyone’s attention. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 226 yards and seven touchdowns, and he ran for 58 yards and a touchdown.

Since then Forcier has been sharp and steady, including a 9-for-11, 110-yard performance in Furman’s 26-21 upset of then-No. 4 Wofford last week. He leads the FCS in passing efficiency.

“This is probably the best offensive line we’ve faced, all the way across the board, in our league,” Huesman said. “As a matter of fact, I’ll say it is the best offensive line.”

Along with slowing down Anderson and Forcier, the Mocs will also face a productive running back in Jerodis Williams, who is second in the SoCon with 778 yards on 133 carries.

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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