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Mocs Notes: Second half success not based on adjustments

Huesman: Second-half success not based on adjustments
Defense has been a strength for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team this season, especially in the second half.

The Mocs have posted two straight second-half shutouts in wins over Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State, and haven't given up a single point in the fourth quarter this season.

So what big changes has UTC (2-1) been making in the locker room? Head coach Russ Huesman said Tuesday, they haven't been making any.

"I love it when people come back and say 'Man, you guys made some great adjustments at halftime,'" Huesman said with a grin. "Usually we're just in there as coaches staring at each other.

"We really haven't been doing anything different."

Huesman said the idea of halftime adjustments is mostly a myth.

"If you're waiting until halftime to make adjustments, it's usually too late and the game has already gotten away from you," he said.

Huesman's favorite example came in his first year at UTC in 2009.

The Mocs rallied from a 21-3 halftime deficit to beat The Citadel, clinching their first winning season since 2005. The now third-year head coach vividly recalls not making any adjustments in the locker room during intermission.

"(Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield) is in there trying to come up with something, and I just told him 'Don't change a thing. Just go in there and yell at them a bit,'" Huesman recalled. "Then after the game everyone made a bunch of comments about how smart we were as coaches.

"I didn't tell anyone (that we didn't change anything). I just acted smart after it was all said and done."

Mocs' lacking depth on defensive line
Chattanooga heads to Boone, North Carolina, this Saturday for a key matchup with No. 3 Appalachian State.

Unfortunately, they'll do it lacking depth at a key position.

Huesman said defensive tackles Nick Davison (knee) and Keyon Reed (suspension) are doubtful to play against the Mountaineers, leaving UTC with just three healthy interior defensive lineman.

"As long as you have three you can roll them in and out and keep them fresh. Past that, we'll figure something out if we need to," Huesman said.

Davison injured his knee two weeks ago in the win over Jacksonville State, and is expected back soon. Reed was suspended indefinitely earlier this week after his arrest on a domestic assault charge.

The three defensive tackles that will play are all freshmen: Toyvian Brand, Josh Freeman and Devin Skates. Skates has three tackles, including one for a loss. Freeman has one assisted tackle, while Brand is not yet on the stat sheet.

"We'll figure something out. We'll have bodies, for sure," Huesman said.

Awuah, Jackson could be back in backfield
Huesman did have positive injury news to relay Tuesday.

J.J. Jackson, who opened the season as the Mocs' starting tailback, will likely be back for Saturday's Southern Conference opener. He's missed the last two games after suffering a knee injury in the season-opener at Nebraska.

Junior tailback Chris Awuah had a breakout game against Jacksonville State, but left last week's win over Eastern Kentucky with a high ankle sprain. Still, Huesman said he may be available Saturday, as well.

"When (trainer) Todd (Bullard) told Awuah he was doubtful yesterday, Awuah just about fought him," Huesman said. "That's pretty cool to see that he wants to play that bad.

"He'll probably be in a boot for a few more days, but if there's any change he can go then he'll go."

Huesman said that's becoming a theme with his team this year, and he can see it when he looks in his players' eyes.

"That's what I like about this team. They really want to play," he said. "You can't get guys off the field. If you try to take them out of the game, they're kicking you and punching you.

"That's good. It means they want to play."

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