Huesmans savor final season as SoCon leaders together

For what it’s worth, Jacob Huesman has never felt any special treatment – good or bad.

For the past five years, he’s simply been the Chattanooga quarterback. He’s always been the dual threat to attack both through the air and on the ground. For the past two seasons, he’s even been the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

But never, ever, has he been merely, “Coach’s son.”

“He’s done a great job of separation of dad and coach,” Huesman said.

Dad happens to be Russ Huesman, the Chattanooga head coach in his seventh season with the Mocs — and his final season coaching his oldest son, Jacob.

It helps that Jacob Huesman has been such an offensive standout for the Mocs. He’s 23-11 as a starting quarterback, good enough for most wins for a starter in school history. His career accuracy of 67.4 percent is a school record. He’s even fourth all-time with 2,807 career rushing yards.

Last season, Jacob Huesman threw for 23 touchdowns, and rushed for 14 more. He’s the preseason pick to be SoCon’s Offensive Player of the Year again, too.

“It’s been a blast,” Russ Huesman said of coaching his son. “It’s been a pleasure. I love seeing him every day in the office. I try to peek my head into his position meeting room every day. It’s probably been tougher on him than it has been for me in the last five years.”

Not according to Jacob.

“There’s maybe a little bit of added pressure because I’ve been around him coaching for so long,  and that’s his job and I want to help him succeed at that,” Jacob Huesman said. “[But] getting to do that every day is a privilege.”

It might help the father-son relationship that Russ Huesman devotes his attention to the defense, allowing offensive coordinator Jeff Durden to make the calls for his son.

“Most of the time, if I say something to him, he doesn’t pay attention to me out there, anyway,” Russ Huesman joked. “He’ll kind of look at me and tell me to go over on the defensive side of the field.”

In truth, Jacob Huesman says years of listening to his father’s coaching philosophy is what led him to Chattanooga in the first place.

“I’ve been around him for so long, I know he’s a winner,” Jacob Huesman said. “I want to be a winner. And I knew we were building something special here at Chattanooga, and it’s something I wanted to be a part of.”

Dad has seen his son develop from a quarterback who had to rely more on his rushing abilities, at first, to one who has become such a strong passer that he recently scored in invitation to be a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodeaux, La. While there, Jacob Huesman was able to hear words of advice from both Peyton and Eli Manning, who provided valuable tips on how to dissect film.

“He’s turned into a great leader for us,” Russ Huesman said. “He’s always been a hard worker, even as a little kid. He was very focused in what he wanted to do, which was pretty cool about him. But you just see him getting better and better and better as a quarterback. We trusted him more in the last couple years with the ball in his hand, throwing it. He’s made great decisions when we are throwing the football. I’ve seen him progress as a passer in these last couple years, which I’m very proud of him for that.”

And now, they have one last season together at Chattanooga, the preseason favorite to be SoCon champion.

For what it’s worth, Jacob Huesman would do the last five years all over again.

“A lot of people have told me they wouldn’t be able to play for their dad,” Jacob said. “But I say, ‘You know what? It’s fine.’ I’ve really enjoyed playing for him the last five years.”


Above:  Jacob Huesman, the Southern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year the past two years, drops back to pass against the Tennessee Volunteers during the third quarter of a game at Neyland Stadium on Oct. 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tenn.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Jodie Valade

Jodie Valade

Jodie Valade is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, NC.