B.J. Coleman is the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's starting quarterback, coach Russ Huesman told the Times Free Press on Wednesday night.
"He's the guy we think we need there to win football games," Huesman said of Coleman, the former McCallie standout and University of Tennessee transfer who had been competing with returning starter Jare Gault for the job.
While many Mocs fans assumed the job was the 6-foot-5, 210-pound redshirt sophomore's ever since he signed with UTC in May, Huesman said he and offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield made the decision Wednesday afternoon.
"Both guys have done a nice job, and we just felt it was time to give the No. 1 guy the most reps," Huesman said. "We just like everything that B.J.'s done."
Coleman, who might have the last flat-top in college football, is the son of former Mocs lineman Bryon Coleman (1977-80), a teammate of Huesman's. A two-time Division II AAA Mr. Football award winner at McCallie, Coleman was a four-star recruit who spent two years in Knoxville.
After redshirting in 2007, he saw action in three games last season. Coleman participated in spring practice at Tennessee and decided to transfer soon after when it became apparent that he wasn't going to have a chance to compete for the starting job.
He informed new Vols coach Lane Kiffin of his decision to transfer on April 23 and signed with the Mocs on May 7.
Huesman said Satterfield met with Coleman and Gault, a senior, after practice and told them of their decision. Soon after, Huesman said, Gault went into his office and offered to do anything to help the team.
"Jare was incredible. He came in and said, 'I'll play receiver, tight end, running back, anything you guys want me to play. I want to win and be on the field and contribute,'" Huesman said. "Jare's going to be playing a lot of football for us this year."
Coleman, who was not made available for comment Wednesday night, had one of his best practices of the preseason Wednesday morning, calling it a "breakthrough" day for the offense.
He attributed part of that to the increased number of reps he got with the first-team offense because Gault sat out most of the practice with a sore right forearm.
"Today was awesome," Coleman said after the Mocs' 12th preseason practice, about 10 a.m. No doubt, the day get even better a few hours later.