CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football head coach Russ Huesman met the media on Tuesday afternoon and discussed the season opener against the USF Bulls on Saturday.
The Mocs travel to Tampa, Fla., and Raymond James Stadium to face the BIG EAST Conference Bulls on Saturday, Sept. 3. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. (E.D.T.) and will broadcast on ESPN3.
Dave Weekley will handle the play-by-play with Warrick Dunn giving the color analysis. ESPN3 is a broadband network that provides live sports programming. It is a part of the WatchESPN online destination and available at ESPN3.com.
Fans can also catch the game on the radio on the Mocs Sports Network. The flagship station is ESPN Radio 105.1 FM in Chattanooga. A live audio stream of the game is available on MocsVision on GoMocs.com. Jim Reynolds is in his 33rd year as the play-by-play man for the Mocs. Todd Agne will again have the color commentary and Will Poindexter is back as the sideline reporter.
Head Coach Russ Huesman
Thoughts on opening the season at USF:
"It's here and it feels like game week. We started preparation for South Florida last Saturday and Sunday, and we'll continue preparation through the rest of the week. I think camp went well. We came out mostly healthy and I think our guys are excited to play somebody else. They all get tired of hitting on each other and having the offense play the defense. It's time to play somebody else and to see where we are as a football team. Some days we look really good, but the first game is always scary no matter who you're playing. And then when you're playing a BCS school it makes it even tougher. Hopefully we've prepared for the situations that we'll face, but we know we have a tough test on Saturday against South Florida."
On who will be the starting quarterback
"We don't know, yet, but we know they'll both play. They may both be in there on the first play. We're still in the process of determining it. They will both play significant snaps in some capacity. I don't know if there's been a ton of separation between them. They've both done really well and worked really hard throughout the summer and camp preparing themselves. Obviously, Terrell has the advantage because he's played games, but they both bring something to the table. I don't want it to be a quarterback substitution like you substitute lineman. I want one of them to run it and the other to come in as a changeup or on another series, and I think they can be on the field at the same time, too."
Thoughts on who will be the starting running back
"J.J. Jackson will start the game. We'll play it on who has the hot hand. Depending on which package is called it could be J.J., Marquis Green or Keon Williams. I don't know which package is going to be called to start the game but as of right now the starting tailback is J.J. Jackson."
Thoughts on beginning the season against a BCS school
"I think I like it at the beginning of the year better. I actually liked it last year. I thought we were prepared for Nebraska even though we didn't win the game, obviously. I thought we looked like a football team. I prefer it being the first game of the year."
On playing a school like USF rather than a typical school with a lot of tradition like Alabama or Nebraska?
"I would say in everybody's mind it would be better because they aren't an Alabama or Auburn, but probably, athletically, they're just as good. They have really good players. Maybe their tradition isn't as good, but, if you line them up against any of those teams, I'd say they have a chance to compete and compete well. We don't look at it as tradition or who has won more games in their lifetime, we look at it as who's across from you, and they have some great players. It will be a test for us."
Thoughts on getting the season started
"We're excited. We've been going strong since camp started and the first game is always exciting. You get to go play against someone else instead of your own team. We've been preparing and hopefully it's been enough for us to go out there and perform well on Saturday."
Thoughts on playing USF
"South Florida is a great team. They've got a lot of team speed. We'll see where we are at based on how we play. We feel like we have a great defense, but South Florida is a great team. It's the first great test with our new offense."
Thoughts on having Jacob Huesman and Terrell Robinson in the huddle
"Sometimes as an offensive lineman, I have no idea there are two quarterbacks until I hear the defense say it. It brings that surprise element to some of the things that we do here and with a two quarterback set, there are a lot of things that could happen on one play."
Thoughts on South Florida's defense
"South Florida has a very good defense and a lot of team speed. They are a Big East team, so you know they are a high caliber type team. We know we have to perform at our best to be on the field with them. It's going to be a struggle. Any chance we get, we have to make sure we do everything we're supposed to."
On his confidence going into his junior year after being named a preseason all-American
"I feel a little bit more confident. I have a full year under my belt where I've been starting. I know our defense a lot better than I did last year. I feel pretty confident."
Thoughts on USF's offense
"It's similar to some of the offenses that we've seen. They like to go doubles, triples and spread it out a little bit, but they can also run the ball too. They are under center a lot more and run a lot of play-action. It's kind of like an NFL-style offense but with a college quarterback."
On following up from his success last year
"I don't pay attention to the accolades as much. It was nice getting all the preseason stuff and being an All-American. I'm really focused on trying to win this year. Hopefully have an undefeated season, win a SoCon championship and make it to the playoffs. That's my biggest goal. The accolades are nice to have but my main focus is on our team and winning."
On preparing for USF
"I think we'll be fairly ready seeing as we go against our offense and they pretty much do the same thing. We have guys like Terrell, Jacob and Marquis who are pretty fast guys running that offense."
Thoughts on if the defensive backfield as flown under the radar this off-season
"To be honest we really don't get caught up in that stuff. So we don't really feel like we've flown under the radar."