Mocs don't want to share SoCon championship - WSMV Channel 4

Mocs don't want to share SoCon championship

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Jacob Huesman's opinion of jewelry as a child is pretty much what you'd expect.

Even when it came to his father's championship rings.

"When I was younger I was like, 'Ew rings. I don't want to wear a ring,'" he said Tuesday. "Now that you're playing for one, it's like, 'I gotta have a ring.'"

Huesman and his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga teammates became the first Mocs to win a ring in 29 years when they beat Wofford 20-10 last week to clinch at least a share of the Southern Conference championship.

"The intensity of that locker room, the excitement was just wonderful," said redshirt freshman Dee Virgin. "We were happy to be champions and happy to have that win."

There was a little more than happiness for many upperclassmen who have been integral parts of the process that helped the Mocs finally get to this point.

"It felt like a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders," said redshirt junior punter/kicker Nick Pollard. "To see the seniors, though, and see their reactions to how it felt, you feel relieved."

That is, unless you're Russ Huesman.

UTC's fifth-year coach has a more "glass half-full" view of historic moment.

"Me personally, it just doesn't feel like we've won anything yet," he said."It's a weird feeling that I didn't enjoy it like I probably should have. That's just the nature of the business I guess."

It's also, of course, the nature of the Mocs' situation, which is still incredibly cloudy.

Saturday's win clinch a share of a championship the program has been chasing since 1984, but that's all it clinched.

"We're not guaranteed anything right now," Russ Huesman said. "We're not guaranteed playoffs, an automatic bid or a home game or anything. All it gets us is a share of (the title)."

While Jacob Huesman and company are now looking forward to wearing some championship jewelry, there's still one aspect in which they remain like little kids: They're not fans of sharing.

With a win at Samford this weekend, Chattanooga can clinch the outright league title and the automatic playoff berth that comes with it. It will also improve the Mocs' chances of hosting a postseason game at Finley Stadium for the first time ever.

"We don't want to share a championship with anybody," the Mocs' redshirt sophomore quarterback said. "We'd still get the rings and everybody would pat you on the back and say we're SoCon champs, but it'd just be different.

"We need to take care of business this weekend."

Gunner Miller's career likely over
Russ Huesman did deliver a bit of bad news during Tuesday's meeting with the media: Gunner Miller's UTC career is likely over because of recurring stingers in his neck and shoulder.

The fifth-year senior linebacker and team captain suffered his latest one two weeks ago at Appalachian State and did not dress for last week's win over Wofford.

Huesman said the injury is not extremely serious, but the rehab will likely keep the East Ridge grad sidelined through the final two games of the regular season and subsequent playoff run.

"It doesn't look good (to get him back)," Huesman said. "I don't want anyone to think it's anything serious. They're going to work on him and they'll fix him, but while he's doing that he can't play."

Miller also missed games during his freshman and junior seasons with similar injuries. The four-year starter has 144 career tackles and five interceptions.

Keon Williams returns to practice
UTC's leading rusher Keon Williams is back on the practice field, but in a limited role.

Williams went through individual drills Tuesday, marking his first action on the field since spraining his ankle three weeks ago against The Citadel. Marquis Green, Kenny Huitt and Derrick Craine have shared the work at running back in his absence.

Williams racked up 687 yards and nine scores on 116 carries before going down. Huesman said coaches will see how his ankle responds throughout the week before determining when he might be able to return.

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