UTC face No. 2 Eagles and 'relentless' defender

UTC face No. 2 Eagles and 'relentless' defender

October 24th, 2012 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Brent Russell

Brent Russell

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield has a love-hate relationship with Brent Russell, Georgia Southern's All-America defensive tackle.

But before we get to that, consider what UTC head coach Russ Huesman said of Russell during Tuesday's Southern Conference media teleconference: "He's the most relentless player I think I've ever seen in all my years of coaching."

Huesman made it clear he wasn't just saying that because the Mocs (4-3, 3-1) will have to contend with Russell and the No. 2-ranked Eagles (6-1, 5-1) on Saturday at Finley Stadium.

Now back to Satterfield's love-hate feelings toward Russell. On one hand, Satterfield absolutely loves the way the 6-foot-2, 300-pound senior plays the game.

"I love Brent Russell, because he's mean," Satterfield said before telling several stories that reflect just that, including one involving Russell relentlessly talking trash to former UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman before last season's game.

"B.J.'s just kind of looking at him and smiling, like, 'OK, I don't know how to take this.' We [coaches] were like, that is awesome. That dude is awesome."

Then there's the hate, which likely is shared by eight of the nine SoCon offensive coordinators. After all, Russell has been one of the SoCon's most disruptive forces since he was a true freshman in 2009.

"He disrupts every single thing you do," Satterfield said. "You can't move him, and if he wants to just not play a gap and pass rush you, you can't block him."

Satterfield said a lineman's only chance to move Russell is if he gets "really, really, really" tired.

"And I don't know how you do that because his motor never stops," he said. "He just wants to kill you."

When Satterfield goes looking for linemen, he said he'd love to find a bunch like Russell. The reigning SoCon defensive player of the year, Russell has seven tackles for loss, third-most in the league, but his impact can't be measured in statistics.

Perhaps the best compliment one can give any defensive tackle -- not usually a stat-producing position -- is to call him "disruptive." At a minimum, that's what Russell is.

"He plays with a lot of energy, he plays with a lot of passion and he's not afraid to get bloodied inside," said The Citadel coach Kevin Higgins. "He's always giving you tremendous effort."

Huesman said it's one thing to have a disruptive defensive end, like UTC's Davis Tull, who leads the SoCon with eight sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, but it's another when a defensive tackle is continually blowing up plays.

"I've never seen a defensive tackle control a ballgame at the line of scrimmage like he does," he said.

How well UTC handles Russell, whether it is running away from him or trying to exploit his attacking abilities with draw plays or short, dump-off passes, will go a long way toward deciding whether the Mocs can upset the Eagles.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.