Mocs working on 'pro spread' offense

Mocs working on 'pro spread' offense

January 15th, 2012 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Marcus Satterfield has dubbed the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team's new offense a "pro spread" style.

The UTC offensive coordinator knows what the Mocs are going to do, though not necessarily all the ins and outs of how everything will work.

The offense will be a major departure from the pro style that the Mocs ran with B.J. Coleman at quarterback, but it will be the same spread-oriented scheme they used when Terrell Robinson took over following Coleman's shoulder injury last season.

"You've got to tailor your offense around what you have in your program, and we saw that this year," head coach Russ Huesman said. "Here's where we are, here's the problems with what we were doing and here's what we've got. Now let's move forward toward this direction."

That direction, Satterfield said, isn't completely new.

"It's totally different from what we were doing with B.J.," he said, "but nothing different from what we did with Terrell."

The plan before the 2011 season was for UTC to switch to the new scheme following Coleman's final season. The Mocs wound up getting a head start when Robinson took over for Coleman in the second quarter at Georgia Southern on Oct. 8.

Satterfield put together a spread plan in the locker room at halftime, and it worked. Robinson ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles, started four games and went on to be named Southern Conference freshman of the year.

The offense evolved during that stretch, and the base of it will be the base of what UTC does moving forward.

"Schematically it won't be anything new," Satterfield said. "Terminology-wise, it will probably be a little bit new."

UTC was more of a pass-first offense when Coleman was in the lineup. That won't be the case next season. The quarterback will run the ball and the running backs will be busy.

"We're a run-first team now. We're never going to lose the capability of getting under center," Satterfield said. "We want to get some big backs in there and punish some guys between the tackles. We do not want to lose that as an aspect of what we do."

Changing the terminology is needed because, Satterfield said, UTC was a little "wordy" with their old calls. And one of the facets of the spread that the Mocs want to feature is a fast-paced offense.

To learn how to do that, some of UTC's coaches will hit the road this offseason and study with a bowl subdivision program or two -- Baylor is a leading candidate -- that runs the spread at a very high level.

"Where it was taking us 20-25 seconds to call the play and execute it, how are they calling it without huddling and doing it in about 8-10 seconds?" Satterfield said. "There's a system to that that we don't know about. There's nuances to the run schemes and probably a little bit more simple protections that they use that we can adopt and put into our system."

Baylor, led by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, finished second in the bowl subdivision with 587.1 yards per game, including 235.6 rushing yards.

The Mocs don't have an RG3 at quarterback, but both Robinson, who has three years left, and freshman Jacob Huesman are strong runners who ran spread offenses in high school. Both won Tennessee Mr. Football Back of the Year awards.

There will be a lot of competition at quarterback when spring practice begins Feb. 24 among Robinson, Huesman and Graham Nichols.

"The spot is up and we're just going to compete and see what happens," said Robinson, who finished with 417 rushing yards and 336 yards passing -- with a combined 11 touchdowns.

Satterfield said he's fully prepared for the offense to look a bit rough at the start of spring practice. And he's warned his boss in advance.

"I'm sure it will look like garbage the first couple of practices, but that's part of it," Satterfield said. "We've got to put it in and put our heads down and trust that it will get going eventually."