The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga won't be only team on the field Thursday with a transfer quarterback capable of making big plays. Glenville State has one of its own in Darold Hughes, who joined the Pioneers after riding the bench for two seasons at Florida International.
Unlike the Mocs' B.J. Coleman, however, Hughes won't be the Pioneers' starter -- that job belongs to senior James McCants, who threw for 1,857 yards last season, with 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions in 248 attempts. McCants also rushed for 310 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Mocs went through a two-hour practice in helmets and shoulder pads under the lights at Finley Stadium on Monday night. They will practice at Scrappy Moore Field this afternoon and then do a walkthrough at Finley on Wednesday. ... Mocs coach Russ Huesman and other members of the football program will be at Miller Plaza at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday for a pep rally. Huesman will do his radio show Wednesday, as he will all season, at the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings, beginning at 6 p.m.
"James has done a good job for us," Glenville State coach Alan Fiddler said. "He's been back there for a while; he's a veteran guy that provides us with good leadership."
Hughes and McCants both made some key plays last Thursday in Glenville State's 21-14 season-opening win over fellow Division II school Stonehill. McCants scored the game-winning touchdown on a 4-yard run with 6:49 to play in the game and finished 14-for-18 passing for 112 yards, with one interception. He also rushed 11 times for 40 yards and was sacked three times.
"We made a lot of mistakes (against Stonehill), but at least we got the win," McCants said.
A 6-foot-3, 195-pound redshirt sophomore, Hughes never saw the field at Florida International. In his first game with the Pioneers, he was 5-for-9 for 155 yards and a touchdown.
"He's very talented, has a lot of ability, is still learning the system and is going to have a very good future here," Fiddler said.
The first pass of Hughes' collegiate career was a 75-yarder to wide receiver James McDonald, a Penn State transfer, for 75 yards. Hughes lined up at wide receiver, took a pitch from McCants and hit McDonald for the big play down to the Stonehill 14-yard line.
McDonald, a fifth-year senior who has already graduated, was dismissed from Penn State's team after a July DUI arrest. He had five catches for 72 yards last season.
On the opening play of Glenville State's third drive of the second quarter, with the game tied at 7, Hughes connected with junior college transfer Akheem Figgs for a 56-yard touchdown.
"Those three kids were pretty prominent in their win, but we expected that," Mocs defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said of the transfers.
The Pioneers, who went 8-3 last season, will make the eight-hour bus ride to Chattanooga on Wednesday. That might seem bad, but it's nothing compared to the team's 13-hour trip at the end of the month to Conway, Ark., for a game at Central Arkansas.
"We'll watch a lot of movies and try to relax," Fiddler said. "That's about all you can do."