The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offense was clicking from the start Saturday afternoon at Finley Stadium.
In the Mocs' first preseason scrimmage, quarterbacks Terrell Robinson and Jacob Huesman were able to guide the first- and second-team offenses down the field for points. Sometimes the offense had to settle for field goals, but there were some long touchdowns as well.
A little of that offensive success came against the starting defense, but several veteran defensive starters played only a series or two. Mocs coach Russ Huesman said he liked what the offense did, but he "didn't do any back flips" coming off the field.
"A lot of good things happened today," the fourth-year coach said. "I thought [the offense] executed well and it looked like we had a clue what we were doing. But let's temper it with the fact that defensively we had about five or six really good players not playing."
Robinson ran for two scores, including a 42-yarder, while Huesman threw two touchdown passes and ran for one. The two quarterbacks were also on the field together for a couple of plays. Robinson scored on a 3-yard run on one, and Huesman hit Robinson on a 22-yard pass on another.
"He's an incredible athlete, and we trust him to go up and get the ball," Jacob Huesman said of Robinson.
According to the unofficial stats, Robinson was 7-for-12 passing for 68 yards and an interception, with seven carries for 49 yards. Huesman was much busier throwing the ball, completing 19 of 29 passes for 236 yards.
"Any time you have good days it's always going to give you confidence, but at the same time we know we've got to continue to grow and grow," Robinson said. "We're not near where we want to be."
Tommy Hudson was the top target with eight catches for 95 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown reception from Huesman. The Mocs are looking for some receivers to emerge and Hudson, who had five receptions as a freshman last season, looked a bit like Joel Bradford out there catching the shorter, 8- to 15-yard passes.
"I wouldn't say I'm trying to be the star guy," Hudson said. "I'm just trying to find a way to help the team."
Hudson is used to catching a lot of short passes in a spread system. He had 102 receptions his senior year at Colquitt County (Ga.) High School.
"He's going to have a really good year for us," Coach Huesman said. "I love the kid."
The quarterbacks weren't in no-contact jerseys, but for the most part they were considered down whenever they were touched by a defender. Nobody touched Robinson on his 42-yard scamper, including cornerback Don Cope, who bit on Robinson's juke to the right. Robinson was able to sprint up the left side for the touchdown.
"That's one of those plays that was meant to cut back, but when you've got one-on-one you've got to make the guy miss," Robinson said.
The defense was able to get some pressure on the quarterbacks at times, and defensive linemen Keyon Reed, Devin Scates and Toyvian Brand all had sacks. In addition, cornerback Sema'je Kendall had an interception and backup safety Nick Branum returned a fumble about 50 yards for a touchdown.
Kenny Huitt had the longest run of the day, 55 yards for a touchdown, and Keon Williams scored on a 26-yard run.
The Mocs resume preseason practice this afternoon at Scrappy Moore Field.