Mocs move forward, but leave door open for Robinson - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mocs move forward, but leave door open for Robinson

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Starting quarterback Terrell Robinson left the UTC football team Tuesday. (AP Photo) Starting quarterback Terrell Robinson left the UTC football team Tuesday. (AP Photo)

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Jacob Huesman took most of the snaps in practice Wednesday for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team.

For the second straight day, Graham Nichols took the others.

That will be the scenario moving forward as the Mocs adjust to life without Terrell Robinson. The former South Pittsburg star competed with Huesman for the starting spot for the past nine months before abruptly quitting the team Tuesday.

A day later, head coach Russ Huesman was still extremely disappointed by his decision.

"We hated for Terrell to leave the program," Huesman said. "I spent three hours with him trying to talk him into staying. I wanted him in the program, but his mind was made up."

Robinson started Saturday's season-opening 34-13 loss at South Florida, but split time with Jacob Huesman. The reigning Southern Conference Freshman of the Year rushed for 19 yards, including UTC's longest run of 17 yards, and completed 4-of-5 passes for 25 yards.

"There was no inclination on Saturday night or Sunday in the meetings, then this happens. It was a huge surprise," Huesman said. "Terrell's a good person and an excellent football player.

"Our players love him, and he loves them. But is he letting them down? Yes."

Robinson's father, Vincent Robinson, told Channel 3 Tuesday night his son felt like he couldn't make any progress in the current two-quarterback set-up, and that started to affect his confidence.

"He just felt like he was never able to and would never be able to find a rhythm because he had to share the reps," said Vincent Robinson, a former UTC basketball player. "It was a tough situation for him because he was competing against the coach's son, and you start thinking about how you're going to be taken out if you make one mistake."

Robinson's departure leaves Jacob Huesman in charge of the Mocs' new spread offense. The former Baylor School star said early Tuesday he always prepares as if he's the starter, though he'd never owned the title until now.

"(Jacob) told me last night he's been fighting for this job for nine months, but he didn't want to win it like this," said Huesman, who added Robinson and his son were close friends. "He did not have Terrell beaten out, and Terrell knew that."

Jacob turned down scholarship offers from several bigger schools, including Georgia Tech, to play for his father at UTC. The former Division II TSSAA Mr. Football Back of the Year had a successful prep run that included back-to-back state runner-up finishes at Baylor, so his abilities have never been in question.

Still, Russ Huesman knows having his son involved in a quarterback competition leaves him open for criticism.

"I truly believe if No. 14's name was not Huesman, there wouldn't be this much of a controversy," the Mocs' coach said. "I'm going to take a beating because his last name is Huesman, but I don't mind. He's a great kid and a good football player. And that's a coach talking, not a dad talking.

"You can ask anyone on this football team. They respect his ability, his work ethic and the way he leads this football team."

Huesman said the gameplan won't change much for Saturday's trip to Jacksonville State. UTC's new spread scheme was built around the similar skillsets of Robinson and Jacob, so only minor tweaks will be made.

Players were not made available to discuss the situation, but Russ Huesman said the team held a player's only meeting before Wednesday's workout.

"We don't normally have team meetings, but they asked if they could get together on their own," Huesman said. "When it was over I asked if there was anything to be concerned about, he said not one thing.

"He said they just got together to get the team straight and make sure we knew what our mission was moving forward."

Huesman said his door remains open for Robinson's return, but it won't be his call to make.

"If Terrell has a change of heart and our team wants him back, I'll welcome him back," Huesman said. "I'm pretty sure that our team will want him back, but I'll still ask them first.

"This team, this coaching staff and myself wanted Terrell Robinson on this football team, but we'll move on from here."

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