Keon Williams among Chattanooga Mocs' top backs

Keon Williams among Chattanooga Mocs' top backs

August 9th, 2013 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Running back Keon Williams catches a ball at UTC's football practice Wednesday morning.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

If they keep performing as they have so far in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team’s preseason camp, physically opposite running backs Keon Williams and Marquis Green are bound to get themselves nicknames.

Williams, a former all-state back at Red Bank High School, is the big, powerful rusher at 6-foot, 225 pounds. Green is the speedy scamperer at 5-7, 175. They’re both in peak physical form and they’re getting the bulk of the first-team carries through 10 preseason practices.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Durden said he liked having two very different backs.

“It’s pitching — fastball and changeup,” Durden said following Thursday’s practice at Scrappy Moore Field, making his second baseball analogy in as many days.

Williams had 51 carries for 155 yards last season, while Green had 24 for 126, along with 10 catches for 137 yards. Green sometimes got lost in the shuffle of the Mocs’ developing spread offense last season but feels very comfortable with Durden’s system.

“I’ve just got to be diverse and help out wherever I can, whether it’s in the slot or in the backfield,” Green said. “I’ve got to be that dynamic guy.

“Coach Durden has his plan and he wants to get the ball in everyone’s hands and spread the ball around.”

UTC’s running game last season largely consisted of quarterback runs by Jacob Huesman, whose 195 carries were nearly four times more than the total for anyone else.

Another player the Mocs will try to use more is Taharin Tyson, whose fullback position isn’t too prominent in the spread. Tyson had 47 carries as a true freshman when the Mocs mostly ran a pro-style system. In 2012, Tyson had six carries.

Durden said Tyson (5-11, 240) will be more involved, though he will need to shed a little weight.

“He does something every practice that we go, ‘We’ve got to get him on the field,’” Durden said.

Dependable duo

Most of the Mocs are working hard to get ready for the Aug. 29 season opener against UT-Martin — which is less than three weeks away now. Two players who have stood out in camp to head coach Russ Huesman are wide receiver Tommy Hudson and cornerback Chaz Moore.

After the Mocs’ morning practice Wednesday, Coach Huesman really bragged on both,

“I see Chaz Moore and Tommy Hudson showing up every day — every day — and they run more than everybody. But they show up every dang day,” he said. “They come, they compete, they play and they have fun out here.”

The Mocs are in for double the fun again today with two practices (7:45 a.m./6:30 p.m.). Like Wednesday, Jacob Huesman will take the morning off from throwing and backup QB/wideout Terrell Robinson will run the first-team offense.

Special situations

The Mocs had a padless practice Thursday, and those tend to be days when the coaches focus on special teams and situational plans. That was the case during the 20-period practice, which was sandwiched between two-a-days Wednesday and today.

One element UTC focused on was spiking the ball in late-game situations. There’s a new rule this season that prohibits spiking the ball with less than three seconds remaining.

Walk-on long snapper Joe McMahon worked with the first team field-goal unit and redshirt freshman Will Sharpton was with the second team. Huesman said that is a good competition and could result in one snapping for punts and the other place kicks.

Extra points

After wrapping up practice the Mocs had to get iced and cleaned up quickly before heading over to AT&T Field for UTC Night at the Lookouts. UTC athletic director David Blackburn threw out the first pitch. … Defensive tackle Chris Mayes (knee) and wideouts Tray James (concussion) and Bryant Belew (ankle) did not practice. Offensive lineman Robert Hill had surgery Thursday to repair his torn Achilles’ tendon.

<em>Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat.</em>