published Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Mocs defense had a few bright moments

South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels (7) eludes Chattanooga defensive lineman Derrick Lott (91) and defensive lineman Zack Rayl (31) to score during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Tampa, Fla.
South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels (7) eludes Chattanooga defensive lineman Derrick Lott (91) and defensive lineman Zack Rayl (31) to score during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Tampa, Fla.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach Russ Huesman was sitting with the lights out Sunday afternoon as he talked about the Mocs' 34-13 season-opening loss at South Florida on Saturday.

Huesman wasn't fuming in the dark about the defeat, though he was far from satisfied with the Mocs' performance. The lights were out because the power was out at McKenzie Arena and other parts of campus.

As sunlight provided the only illumination in his office, Huesman went over the few bright spots he was able to find, all of them on the defense:

• "Other than the big plays, defensively, I thought we ran to the ball really well, played pretty hard and pretty good."

• "We had some mistakes on defense, but I thought for the most part we actually looked like we can be pretty decent on defense."

• "We've got two defensive ends [Josh Williams and Davis Tull] that are really good and can make things happen. Those were the two best players on our side of the ball, for sure."

Tull forced a fumble on a sack and safety D.J. Key returned an interception 43 yards. The former set up a field goal and the latter a touchdown that cut the Bulls' lead to 21-10 at the half.

As for the offense, which didn't get a first down in the first quarter and finished the game with 151 net yards, there wasn't much to be positive about, Huesman said. He lamented the many plays that lost yardage, the offensive line getting "manhandled pretty good" and the high number of penalties on both sides of the ball.

UTC was flagged 11 times for 105 yards, and one holding penalty negated a 2-yard touchdown run by Huesman's son Jacob, the redshirt freshman quarterback.

"Sometimes that happens against {Bowl Championship Series] teams and you don't want to jump off the deep end because you do need to keep it in perspective," Huesman said. "I don't think we're ready to go nuts here, but I do wish we had executed better."

Jacob Huesman finished 9 of 13 passing for 82 yards and he netted 1 yard on 17 rushing attempts. It wasn't easy out there, but the rookie felt good on the field.

"Being that first game, I felt pretty comfortable out there," Jacob Huesman said. "I was a little unsure during the week because I hadn't proven myself at all and I felt pretty comfortable."

His father wasn't comfortable with how his Sunday was working out due to the power outage. The coaches were able to go over the South Florida game film, but they were behind on putting together their game plan for this week's game at Jacksonville State.

Extra points

Redshirt freshman left guard Synjen Herren made his first start against the Bulls but left the game with a shoulder injury. He is questionable for the JSU game. ... USF was credited with 6.0 sacks, but several of those were really quarterback runs that should have been simply ruled tackles for loss, of which the Bulls had 12.0 for minus-69 yards.

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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