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Huesman happier with Mocs' second spring scrimmage

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- One of the top defensive units in the Southern Conference certainly looked the part early in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's second scrimmage of the spring season, but it didn't stay that way for long.

The Mocs' offense was able to break free for a few big plays and eventually settle into a groove in an 80-play situational scrimmage Friday afternoon at Finley Stadium.

Head coach Russ Huesman was far from satisfied following his team's first scrimmage last week, but was in a far better mood after the second.

"It was way better than last week, but I'm sure we'll watch the film and still see mistakes," Huesman said. "But we executed much better on both sides of the ball. We tackled poorly with our second group and they popped some big runs, but at the same time, I'm glad to see us pop some runs like that."

None of the big runs came in the first ten minutes, when all-American defensive end Davis Tull controlled the scrimmage.

The rising junior only played about six snaps on the afternoon, but made the most of them with two sacks and a quarterback pressure.

"I'm just trying to get better regardless of how many snaps I'm playing," Tull said. "But you can definitely go all out every play if you know you're only going to get a few snaps. I take every snap very seriously."

Huesman admitted much of Tull's success came from a lop-sided matchup against freshman tackle Corey Levin.

"That was our fault because we're down on tackles right now," Huesman said. "I saw them line up and thought 'Uh-oh, we may have some issues,' and we did."

Marquis Greene made the offense's first big play of the day, breaking free for a 60-yard touchdown off left end. He stiff-armed starting defensive back Chaz Moore away at the 15 to complete the scamper.

"I know I have things I have to work on, but the coaches told me to stay patient and slow things down," said Greene, who finished with 94 yards on 13 carries. "I was able to let that play develop, and when I saw the hole I put one foot in the ground and got vertical."

With last week's standout Kenny Huitt (contusion) sidelined, Greene and Tolerance Shephard did most of the damage on the ground for the offense. The duo combined for 218 yards rushing and two scores on 27 carries.

"(Marquis) looked better, way better. Last Friday he looked very, very average," Huesman said. "There were a couple plays he went down when I thought he could have gotten a few more yards, but overall I thought he looked a lot better."

Shephard, who redshirted last fall, racked up 124 yards on 14 carries and scored on a short touchdown run in the scrimmage's closing moments.

Jacob Huesman also executed a nice play-fake to hit Tommy Hudson for a 59-yard touchdown pass. Hudson made a quick juke at the line of scrimmage before out-running the defense to the goal-line.

The offense ended up spotting the ball inside the ten and later converted a field goal.

"I think we were a lot cleaner today, but we'll have to see on the film how many mental busts we had," said Jacob Huesman. "There were a couple that you saw it happen and it affected the play directly. I think we did better, but we'll find many we didn't notice and that will help us learn to lock it down a lot more mentally."

Defensive ends Vantrell McMillan (three) and Keionta Davis (two) combined for five sacks, and Moore had an interception that was negated by a penalty to lead the defense.

Linebacker Muhasabi Wakeel (knee) was also sidelined for the scrimmage. Several proven defenders, including linebacker Wes Dothard, defensive back Kadeem Wise and defensive tackle Derrick Lott, joined Tull in playing a limited number of snaps.

The Mocs will return to the practice field Saturday morning for their 12th workout of the spring. They will have two more sessions next week before closing camp with the annual Blue and Gold Spring Game next Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.

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