published Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Offensive overload: Mocs look to confuse opposing defenses with different formations

UTC quarterback Terrell Robinson (17) points to a teammate during a game against Appalachian State at Finley Stadium.
UTC quarterback Terrell Robinson (17) points to a teammate during a game against Appalachian State at Finley Stadium.
Photo by Allison Love /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

On the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's first play from scrimmage last Saturday against Samford, the Mocs had two quarterbacks (Jacob Huesman and Terrell Robinson) and three running backs (J.J. Jackson, Marquis Green and Taharin Tyson) on the field at the same time.

It was a lineup and a formation that seemed inconceivable a year ago, but in 2012 it was just another creative configuration. And the play resulted on a 12-yard run by Jacob.

"[The formation] drove them nuts because they did everything off of personnel," UTC offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said of the Bulldogs' defense.

Not every play and not every idea works. But even if a play proves to be a dud, there's value in its existence. If UTC lines up in a formation or runs a play in a game, future defenses have to prepare for it.

"That's how [Arkansas State coach and offensive guru] Gus Malzahn makes his living, by giving you a bunch of stuff," Satterfield said. "By the third or fourth week, he's got you because there's so much there -- and you have to prepare for all of it."

Satterfield said the Mocs (4-3, 3-1 Southern Conference) aren't quite there yet, in terms of volume of plays, but they will be following Saturday's game against No. 2 Georgia Southern (6-1, 5-1).

The Mocs have their base plays -- hand-offs, quarterback runs, screens and more -- but as they've shown often, they have what Satterfield calls "circus" plays, as well.

Against Samford last week, Jacob Huesman was 19-of-25 passing for 165 yards and a touchdown, and had 23 carries for 64 yards and a score. Robinson caught a career-high nine passes for 65 yards, was 4-for-4 passing for 14 yards and had one carry for a yard.

Mocs coach Russ Huesman said Robinson needs more touches, perhaps from the quarterback spot.

"He poses problems when you can get the ball in his hands with a little bit of space," Huesman said. "We didn't do that very well [against Samford] for Terrell. We got him the ball, but not enough in space, where he could use his athletic ability.

"He'll probably play more quarterback this week, and we'll try to get him the ball that way."

That's fine with Robinson, who said he just wants to play and make things happen for the team. With a total of 17 receptions in UTC's past two games, he's developing as a receiver, and remains a running and passing threat. Robinson is 27-of-38 passing for 278 yards this season.

"We've just been adding on and adding on to see what works," Robinson said of the playbook. "If we like it we keep it, and if we don't think it will work, you've got to keep moving."

Mocs on ESPN3

The SoCon announced Wednesday that the UTC-Wofford game on Nov. 10, will be broadcast on ESPN3.com. The game is one of two "wild card" games that the SoCon is selecting based on late-season significance. The SoCon will also pick a Nov. 17 game.

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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