Mocs' Davison to miss Eastern Kentucky game
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Russ Huesman said Tuesday his defense played maybe its best game of his two-year tenure last week against Jacksonville State.
Then the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach said a repeat performance this week against Eastern Kentucky will have to come without one of its top players.
Defensive tackle Nick Davison will miss the trip to EKU with a knee injury. Huesman said he may be available the following week against Appalachian State, but it depends on how the knee responds to rehab.
"It wasn't as bad as we originally thought. That's the good news," Huesman said.
Davison was injured while joining teammate Josh Williams on a sack in the second-half of Saturday's 38-17 win over the tenth-ranked Gamecocks.
Running back J.J. Jackson will also miss a second straight game with a high-ankle sprain suffered in the season-opener at Nebraska.
Huesman: Defense was in attack mode
Chattanooga's offense may have posted more than 500 total yards against JSU, but Huesman was more pumped about his defense giving up just 17 total yards in the second half of Saturday's win.
After giving up a few big plays early, the third-year coach said his unit "dialed it up a notch" and exhibited a killer instinct it's long been lacking.
"Last year, if we weren't playing well early, we could never get it back and it would just get worse and worse," Huesman said. "You can't do that as a defense. Sometimes they're going to make plays early and we have to make adjustments.
"I thought for the first time in two years, our defense really had the mentality of 'it's not going great right now, but we can fix it.' That's the sign of a good defense."
The Mocs had trouble closing out opponents at times in 2010, including the season's first two losses against Appalachian State and Jacksonville State. SoCon Defensive Player of the Week Wes Dothard said the unit is using those memories as motivation.
"We've been focusing on finishing ever since those first two games last year," said Dothard, who returned an interception for a touchdown in Saturday's win. "We carried that focus over into this season, and started saying it as soon as we came out in the second half. We had to keep playing hard and just put them away."
Coaches leave emotions on the sideline
Huesman couldn't help but smile Tuesday when recounting a heated exchange with offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield heading into the locker at halftime against Jacksonville State.
Both coaches were upset over clock management in the second quarter, and Huesman joked they were lucky quarterback B.J. Coleman actually stepped in to calm them down.
"I was yelling at him, and he was yelling at some lady five rows up probably," Huesman said with a smirk.
While he acknowledged the disagreement wouldn't seem as funny after a loss, he said it's all part of being on a college coaching staff.
"Everywhere I've ever been coaches will yell and scream and get on each other during the game. But afterwards you're hugging each other and it's back to being buddies," Huesman said. "The bottom line is if you take anything that happens during the course of that game with you off the field, you're a pitiful coach.
"You have to separate what happens during that 60 minutes from what happens here in the office, or in your social life and day-to-day interaction with your staff. You can't do it. You'd never be in this business long enough if you let it bother you after the game is over."