Father-son dynamic between head coach and quarterback propels UTC to success

first_imgRuss Huesman sat down at the table with the high school quarterback recruit he was after on his left and the quarterback’s mother on his right. Directly across the table sat Huesman’s wide receivers coach Will Healy, ready to make his pitch to the high school junior.The recruit Huesman and the staff had dubbed “the quarterback of the future” for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga program was the head coach’s son — Jacob Huesman.Larger ACC schools like Georgia Tech and Wake Forest were expressing interest, but after the in-home conversation and reflection after watching the Mocs storm back to beat rival Furman, Jacob made his decision.He texted his mom that he was going to commit and announced it in the locker room following the come-from-behind win.“I think the bottom line is that he wanted to help me do my job of winning football games and make my life a little easier,” Russ Huesman said. “Ultimately his decision was based on going to help dad out.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNow in his final year as a four-year starter, third-year captain and the all-time winningest quarterback in program history, Jacob has done much more for his dad than win games. The Huesmans have become closer as father and son through football.Since Jacob was born, Russ has held assistant coach positions at William and Mary, Memphis and was the defensive coordinator at University of Richmond before becoming taking over the Chattanooga job. With the busy schedule of college coaching, he was only able to see one of his son’s games a year as Jacob progressed through youth leagues.Without fail, Jacob would be required to give his dad the play-by-play of each missed game. As a defensive coach, his father helped him understand the inner-workings of defenses and the best way to attack coverages.Jacob was around the locker room so much growing up that he felt like he was a part of his dad’s teams. Assistant coaches and even players — like Healy while he was the quarterback at Richmond — worked with Jacob.“He had the extra work at a young age from people who knew about quarterback play,” Russ said. “That’s an advantage that sons of coaches have — exposure to the game at a high level and it rubs off on them.”Healy remembers working with Jacob while he was in sixth grade, developing footwork, a healthy release point and lower-body control.Sharing a team and locker room as a player just seemed like the next step.“I think we’ve gotten closer, especially over the past couple years as we’ve had some pretty good success,” Jacob said. “It’s been fun for both of us to work for the same goal.”Ben Dodds | UTC AthleticsRuss works with the defense during practice so the two don’t interact on the field much, but one of his favorite parts of the day is when Jacob stops in his office to say hi.But Russ has never wanted there to be an appearance of favoritism. As high as the bar is usually set for starting quarterbacks, the bar for Jacob is set even higher.“Coach tries really hard to not be too partial and there’s a lot of times where Jacob feels like he is just another player on this football team,” Healy said. “… But if he was a receiver here or an offensive lineman, the spotlight wouldn’t be as big.“Here you’ve got a head coach and a starting quarterback. There’s no overshadowing any of that.”Amy Huesman has noticed her son and husband spending more time together off the field, even if the conversations eventually drift back to their shared goal on it. Conversations at family gatherings shift to the topic of bringing Chattanooga a national title.Jacob has broken every single-season and career record at UTC and is a two-time SoCon Offensive Player of the Year, with 55 passing and 31 rushing touchdowns for his career. As a freshman, the offense was built for a mobile quarterback with throwing plays built in, but this season, Healy says that Jacob looks more polished in the passing attack and the offense has grown to encompass that.After lifting the Mocs into the playoffs in 2014 for the second time in program history and the first time since 1984, there’s no higher goal than going out on top with a national championship.The Huesmans made the recruiting process as normal as possible with Amy ensuring that her husband went after Jacob as relentlessly as any other recruit. Sitting in the Huesman living room being grilled about UTC’s football program and the engineering school, Healy felt like he was in a job interview.But as detached as the recruitment of Jacob was, the opportunity for him to grow under his dad’s tutelage has been unparalleled.Said Healy: “It wasn’t like I was recruiting him because my boss was his dad, but because I thought (he) was our guy and I wanted to find a way to get him here.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 17, 2015 at 9:59 pm Contact Liam: [email protected]last_img

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