The plan for Friday's scrimmage, new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offensive coordinator Jeff Durden said, was to focus on the running game and see if a back or two can emerge from the pack.
During the Mocs' first scrimmage of the spring, on a perfect afternoon at Finley Stadium, the backs ran, some ran well, and Durden liked what he saw.
"I thought we moved the football pretty good," Durden said. "We did it a different way, a way they're not used to -- we ran the football. That's what we wanted to do.
"I got a pretty good feel for the backs. I saw some separation between them today."
Both Durden and head coach Russ Huesman bragged on the running of Kenny Huitt, who was UTC's leading running back last season with 288 yards on 57 carries. Quarterback Jacob Huesman had a team-high 904 yards. Friday, Huitt had multiple quality carries, including a 27-yarder with the first-team offense.
"I thought Kenny Huitt looked really good running the ball," Coach Huesman said. "When he took it, there wasn't a whole lot in there, but Kenny can find a crease in there and make a nice cut."
Keon Williams also had some good moments, including runs of 22 and 21 yards in which he fought through traffic and bounced outside.
"I'm getting back to lowering and driving, fighting for extra yards," Williams said.
The No. 2 offense, with Terrell Robinson at quarterback, scored first, after the No. 1 defense stopped the No. 1 offense to start the scrimmage. One play after Williams' 22-yard burst, Robinson passed to tight end Troy Dye for a 28-yard touchdown. Robinson also had a 37-yard completion to wideout Tray James.
Huitt's 27-yard run set up the No. 1 offense's first score. On the ensuing play, Marquis Green scored an 8-yard touchdown. It was one of the few plays in which Green was able to get around the edge into open territory.
In light of some plays that went nowhere and a fumble near the end of the scrimmage, recovered by linebacker Muhasibi Wakeel, Durden said it was a tough day for Green.
"[Huitt] was a little step ahead of everybody else," Durden said, "and Marquis came back to the field a little bit."
Taharin Tyson and Tolerance Shepherd also made plays as the backs did virtually all the running. Quarterbacks Huesman and Robinson, two of UTC's top rushers, did very little running on their own. Robinson also was held to just a few plays at wideout since he was leading the No. 2 offense.
Linebacker Gunner Miller said he liked what he saw out of the ground attack.
"They're running the spread, but it's downhill," Miller said. "They're coming at us."
With several All-Southern Conference defensive players mostly watching from the sideline, the scrimmage gave a lot of young defenders a lot of plays and a chance to shine. There's room for improvement, Coach Huesman said.
"The defensive backups better come along fast, because right now they're not good enough," he said. "We don't have very much depth defensively, right now. We've got some good young players, but ... we've got to get some depth going there."
The Mocs will resume practice this morning at Scrappy Moore Field.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...