By John Mitchell, Chattanooga, Tenn. —Friday marked the second full scrimmage for the football team as they inch closer to their Spring Game less than a week away.
The near 90-minute scrimmage at Chattanooga Christian School saw a changing of the guard as the defense held the upper hand for most of the session. This comes after the offense had their way with the defense in the first scrimmage at Scrappy Moore Field.
In 91 plays, the Chattanooga defense allowed just one touchdown while recording five sacks, two by freshman defensive lineman Isaiah Mack, Tunnel Hill, Ga. The defense also came through for six tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and a Lucas Webb, Northport, Ala. interception.
“We weren’t awful on either side of the ball,” head coach Russ Huesman said. “I thought we did some good things on both sides of the ball, and that’s what you look for. I know there’s going to be some give and take, but I thought the defense was way better today.”
Despite the defense improving and key starters like quarterback Jacob Huesman, Chattanooga, and running back Derrick Craine, McDonough, Ga., seeing limited reps, the offense still managed to total 471 yards during the scrimmage.
Huesman went 7-12 for 60 yards and an interception, while his backup Alejandro Bennifield, Lovejoy, Ga., saw the most reps at quarterback, as he went 8-10 for 121 yards and a touchdown to redshirt freshman Bingo Morton, Atlanta. Third stringer Tyler Roberson, Martinez, Ga., also saw significant action, tallying 53 yards on 12 attempts including a 36-yard pass to tight end Bailey Lenoir, Chattanooga, on fourth down.
“We’ve been trying to get Tyler and Alejandro the majority of the reps just because we feel like we need to get those guys ready,” Coach Huesman said. “We were looking for situations out here today and some other different things, and this’ll be a great teaching tape.”
Stepping up in place for Craine during the scrimmage was another Chattanooga native in sophomore Shaqualm McCoy. He carried the load with a team-high 13 carries for 90 yards.
“We’ve probably only got three running backs playing this spring. So he’s gotten a lot,” Coach Huesman said. “We took some away from Craine today. We played Craine early. With Shaqualm getting a lot of snaps and Bagley getting a lot of snaps. But yeah he’s a very effective runner.
“I thought both sides of the ball were good today,” Coach Huesman added. “As you go through spring you’re looking for individuals and how individuals play…I wasn’t overly concerned with how many touchdowns or how many negative yardage plays, I’m more interested in young guys getting better.”
UTC’s Spring Game is set for Saturday April, 18 at Finley Stadium. Kickoff is expected at 2 p.m. with the event being free and open to the public.