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Coleman leading surprise Mocs

Coleman leading surprise Mocs

Coleman leading surprise Mocs

    This isn’t the same Chattanooga team Georgia Southern once defeated nine times in a row.
    Not even close.
    Russ Huesman inherited the squad in 2009 after leaving his post as defensive coordinator at Richmond, and quickly turned things around, finishing 6-5 after the Mocs went from three wins, to two, to one from 2006-08.
    The Mocs (3-2, 2-1 Southern Conference) lost their first two games of the season so far, but they weren’t the blowouts they used to suffer. They lost fourth-quarter leads against No. 1 Appalachian State and No. 3 Jacksonville State.
    Since then, they’ve been on cruise control, averaging just over 31 points per game.
    “Coach Huesman does a great job,” said GSU defensive coordinator Brent Pry. “I’ve known him a long time and there was no doubt he was going to turn that program around.”
    The Eagles (3-2, 1-1) travel to Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday for a 6 p.m. kickoff, and will face an offense full of weapons.
    One of the keys to UTC’s success has been quarterback B.J. Coleman, a transfer from Tennessee who has racked up 1,280 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air during the season’s first five games.
    “Obviously he’s a proven guy now at this point,” Pry said of the UT transfer. “He’s had some outstanding games and he’s got big-league experience.”
    Coleman’s favorite target has been Joel Bradford (37 catches, 577 yards, 4 TDs), a receiver who has been catching passes from the quarterback since their high school playing days together at McCallie in Tennessee.
    To compliment Bradford, WR/RB Brian Sutherland provides quickness in the flats and 6-foot-4 tight end Garrett Hughes has emerged as the Mocs’ possession receiver.
    The running game of Sutherland, Erroll Wynn and Keon Williams has made the UTC offense multidimensional.
    “They’re a great team,” said GSU defensive tackle Brent Russell, who played end for the Eagles during their 30-20 win over the Mocs in Statesboro. “Their o-line has matured. They’re kind of like Elon but they move their feet a little better. I saw them last year from a defensive-end standpoint, so it’s kind of new being matched in the middle. I don’t really know what to expect. Probably a double team, mostly.”
    Georgia Southern cornerback Laron Scott was also on the field for that game, and attributes the Eagles success against the pass this season to communication among the safeties and corners.
    “Coach Pry is really up on getting us to communicate with each other,” said Scott. “You’ve got to be able to communicate back in the secondary. Out here at practice we really focus on communicating with each other so when we get in the game, we’ll be ready.”
    Chattanooga has had ample time for the Georgia Southern triple-option offense. The Mocs had a bye week before facing The Citadel last Saturday, so in essence, they’ve been scheming against the offense for the last three weeks.
    They defeated The Citadel 28-10.
    “The Citadel is as close to us as anybody they’ll play this year,” said GSU head coach Jeff Monken about UTC. “The advantage they have is they had a week off before The Citadel, they played The Citadel, and now they play us. If they see anything they didn’t like, or if they see some flaws, some holes, they can fix those when they play us.
    “They definitely have an advantage having three weeks before they play us, but it’s still football. We’ve got to try to block them, and we’ve got to try to beat blocks.”

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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