The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team returns to Finley Stadium Saturday for its first 2 p.m. home kickoff of the 2013 season.
The 5-2 Mocs take on the 2-5 Citadel Bulldogs as Chattanooga searches for its 500th all-time win in 106 seasons of college football. With one more win, Head Coach Russ Huesman will tie his former head coach, Bill Oliver (1980-83), for fourth on the UTC all-time coaching win list. Huesman is currently 28-23 in his fifth season while Oliver went 29-14-1 in four seasons.
Below are excerpts from today’s interviews. The full interviews can be seen on MocsVision and are attached to this story.
Head Coach Russ Huesman
Thoughts on the win over Elon Saturday
“We are very excited to have a conference road win. It was huge for us. Road wins in the SoCon are hard to get and we are happy for every one of them, but I don’t think we played very well. I think the special teams played really well but I was a little disappointed on both sides of the ball. Our special teams’ guys gave great effort and I thought Nick Pollard had an unbelievable day. Our cover teams were good, but it was not our best effort of the year offensively and defensively. We are going to have to play better starting this week. This next stretch is huge and we have to get better. I don’t think we got any better last week and I don’t think any of our players got better. Elon had something to do with that because they played really hard and got after us. Elon played hard and their coaches are keeping them motivated. I think our guys made just enough plays to win a 20-9 game.”
On the success on Keon Williams this season
“He was very inconsistent last year, but Keon Williams looks like a big-time back this season. He is running hard and making the right cuts. That’s what we expected from him last year and his freshman year, and now he is producing. He made a commitment in the summer to be great and he made a commitment in fall camp to be great – and it’s paying off for him. It’s kind of a simple recipe. If you have great talent and you work hard, you’re going to be good. Davis Tull is another example of a guy that has the right recipe. That’s normally what happens.”
Thoughts on The Citadel offense
“They are in the I-form a little bit. They are playing with the tight end in a flex and they are in the gun sometimes. They will spread four guys out and they are looking a lot different than the triple option team that we’ve come to expect. A lot of teams are getting like this because we see a lot of triple option. They have expanded the package and that’s why Wofford is so successful with it. It makes us spend more time working on defending them. They can run their same offense, but it makes us work at a lot of different things. I think Georgia Southern and The Citadel are a lot more alike than Wofford, but they are all a little different.”
Keon Williams, Running back, Junior
Thoughts on the difference between this season and last season for his play
“I think the difference is that we’ve came out more prepared and focused. I think everything goes back to the summer and how we prepared. Everybody stayed in town and I believe the summer paid off for the running backs. Personally, getting into the film room and studying has helped me a lot. Learning what I need to do and learning my opponent has given me the success I’ve had so far.”
On the running game gaining attention this season
“We really didn’t use the running backs much last season and the offense took a different direction. The back all got together and decided we were going to come out and shock the offensive coordinator. We wanted to show Coach Durden that we were worth using and we came out and worked. We worked out butts off and they trust us to give us the ball on Saturdays.”
Which play he has made is his favorite so far
“My best play so far is the screen pass I caught because it was my longest. I got the chance to show some things that a lot of people didn’t think I could do. I was happy to be able to run more than 20 yards.”
Davis Tull, Defensive Lineman, Junior
Thoughts on breaking the career sacks record at Chattanooga
“I have season goals I write down and want to accomplish, but the sacks record is more of a career goal. It wasn’t really something I looked at before the season and set out to accomplish, but I am glad I got it. I just didn’t put a lot of emphasis on it.”
On setting and achieving goals
“I have always been a bit of a perfectionist. I have always been organized and I think my parents instilled that in me. Even in elementary school I had to have my pencils and paper in certain places, and I have always believed that whatever people want to do, they can do it. It’s all a matter of how much work you put into it and how much you want it. I realize the work is the hard part and if you really want it, you can get it.”
Thoughts on his success on the field
“A lot of what I do is based on speed. There are different moves and that’s what I had to learn once I first got here. It’s a mental game of rock, paper scissors. You have to make your guys believe you are going to do one thing and do the opposite. That’s how you win pass rushing and Coach West is to thank for that. You have to perfect two of his 15 moves and use those as your primary moves.”