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UTC's Huesman seeks better coaching
Moving forward following a disappointing 5-6 football season, Russ Huesman expects more from himself and his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coaching staff.
“It was a pretty frustrating year and I don’t want it to ever happen again,” the third-year coach said of the season that began with a loss at Nebraska and included five Southern Conference losses by a total of 12 points.
The Mocs ended their season on Nov. 19, with a 28-27 home loss to playoff-bound Wofford. Afterward, Huesman said coaching was UTC’s problem in 2011, not personnel. Those comments were construed by some as Huesman throwing his staff “under the bus.” He was, he said, and himself.
“I threw me under the bus, and the coaches — all of us,” he said. “I’m never throwing players under the bus, ever. If it isn’t getting done, it’s coaching. … It’s us. Somebody’s got to get thrown under the bus and it isn’t going to be the players.
“If the coaches don’t like it, tough luck. But I’m pointing fingers right at myself, and I made plenty of mistakes this year. We all did as coaches and we’re going to get better.”
Huesman said he likes his coaches and doesn’t plan on making any changes to a staff that has been together for the past two seasons — a rarity in the Football Championship Subdivision.
“Right now, we’re going ahead with this the way it is,” he said. “But I’m going to be more demanding on everybody, all the way across the board.”
UTC led the SoCon in scoring defense and total defense, so other than a few fourth-quarter drives that resulted in game-winning touchdowns, the defense was the star of the squad.
“Defensively, I’ve got to give [defensive coordinator Adam Fuller] credit because our defense played really well,” Huesman said. “You’ve got to compliment people when they do well and defensively we played really well.”
Offensively, UTC struggled for most of the season. Playing with three first-year starters on the offensive line, a freshman tight end, fullback and running back — and that’s before senior quarterback B.J. Coleman was injured and replaced by freshman Terrell Robinson — the offense wasn’t the explosive force of 2010.
UTC finished seventh in the SoCon in scoring offense and eighth in total offense. Several days after the season ended, offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield was still angry and still feeling awful.
“I’ve got the most unbelievable empty feeling in my stomach where I just want to throw up,” he said. “And I can’t wait to recruit and I can’t wait to get back out there and start working again. It’s the worst feeling I’ve every experienced in my life.”
Satterfield said his season was a mixture of good and bad. He said some of his play-calling could have been much better, but during the transition from Coleman to Robinson and the offense’s subsequent transformation, he thought he “did pretty good things.”
Robinson did go on to be the SoCon freshman of the year.
“I tell you one thing, it’s made us hungry,” Satterfield said, “and it’s made us re-evaluate what we do and how we go about things and attack things.”
The offense will be undergoing a metamorphosis as it switches from a Coleman-suited pro-style system to a spread-oriented scheme that will maximize the running abilities of the quarterback — which next season will likely be either Robinson or Jacob Huesman.
“We’re going to change, we’re going to re-evaluate everything we do, from the way we coach to the formations that we call, to the cadence that we use to the protections we use,” Satterfield said, adding, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
UTC’s coaches hit the road recruiting today and will bring in players for on-campus visits this weekend.