UTC aims to boost its offense

UTC aims to boost its offense

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

The Mocs' Jacob Huesman, No. 14, runs the ball against Elon.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

For the past two seasons, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defense statistically has been among the elite in the Southern Conference and one of the best in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The Mocs' offense, meanwhile, has been in the bottom half of the SoCon during that period. As Mocs coach Russ Huesman continues his search for a new offensive coordinator following Marcus Satterfield's departure to Temple University, he does so with an eye on making the offense one of the SoCon's best as well.

"We did enough on offense to be good enough to win," Huesman said of the 2012 season, in which UTC went 6-5 (5-3 SoCon) and lost one game by a field goal and two others in overtime. "Now, is that going to be enough next year? I don't know, but we've got to get better on offense. We've got to build on what we did last year."

The Mocs switched to the spread offense last season, and Huesman has said the next offensive coordinator will be a veteran play-caller and have some experience running a spread system. Four candidates have been interviewed so far, and Huesman said a decision could be made within a week.

Quarterback Jacob Huesman carried a heavy load during his redshirt freshman season. After taking over as the starter in week 2, he rushed for a team-high 904 yards and seven touchdowns and completed 167 of 256 passes for 1,712 yards, with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Between him and Terrell Robinson, who split time between quarterback and wide receiver, the quarterback ran the ball 247 times last season. That's too many, Coach Huesman said.

"I don't know if our quarterback can run it 200 times next year," he said. "I don't think he should. That's what we needed to do this year and we did it. Next year, I'm hoping that's not the case."

The offense loses a four-year starter at right tackle in Adam Miller and a consistent running back in J.J. Jackson. Otherwise, it returns everyone from the group that was fifth in the SoCon in scoring (25.5 points per game) and No. 8 in total offense (349.8 yards per game).

With the players UTC has returning, Jacob Huesman said that "this looks like one of the best opportunities that we'll have to assert ourselves in the SoCon."

Wide receivers coach Will Healy said the 2012 season was a learning experience for the offense. UTC has to continue to use Jacob Huesman and Robinson effectively and get others around them contributing more. Robinson led the Mocs with 40 catches for 489 yards and five touchdowns while also completing 30 of 44 passes and rushing 52 times for 222 yards.

"I think obviously the quarterback run aspect of what we will do will be huge for Jacob and for making sure Terrell is involved," Healy said. "Those are two of our most dynamic players and we've got to make sure we continue to create ways to get the ball in their hands."