Connecticut Huskies 2013 College Football Preview
2013-08-04 10:10:00 EDT
The Connecticut Huskies enter the 2013 season looking to put two consecutive 5-7 seasons behind them and make a return to post-season play.
OFFENSE: The Huskies had a dismal year on offense in 2012 as they ranked 117th out of 120 schools in rushing despite having one of the Big East’s top tailbacks in Lyle McCombs. McCombs rushed for 860 yards and 6 touchdowns and while these numbers were strong, most analysts projected bigger numbers from the Freshman all-american who rushed for over 1,000 yards the year before. UConn brought in Cincinnati receiving coach T.J. Weist and will look to him to guide a unit that returns its top two targets for quarterback Chandler Whitmer. Anchoring the group is Geremy Davis who racked up 613 yards on 44 catches in 2012. Whitmer has the tools but will need to get more consistent o-line play after being sacked 33 times in 2012. Tackles Jimmy Bennett and Kevin Friend will need to improve this season if the offense is going to take a step forward.
DEFENSE: The Connecticut defense moves into a rebuild mode of sorts but welcomes an impact transfer that should assist in making the transition smooth. After losing four starters on defense, the Huskies biggest question marks remain in the secondary where both cornerbacks are now gone. Byron Jones makes the move from safety to DB to ease the transiton and Ty-Meer Bitemn returns at free safety as well. The Huskies may have the most talented linebacking corps in the AAC this season with consensus all big east first team Yawin Smallwood and his 120 tackles returning. To further bolster this unit, the Huskies welcome Graham Stewart, the top recruit out of Connecticut in 2011 who transferred back home after a very strong freshman season with the Florida Gators. Stewart is poised to make an immediate impact. Shamar Stephens is a key returnee on the line as well.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Senior Chad Christian has the kicking duties all locked up after a junior season that saw him make all 22 of his extra points and become more consistent with his field goals as the season moved on.
OUTLOOK: Connecticut should see dramatic improvement on the offensive side of the ball with T.J. Weist coming on board and bringing his spread mentality that was so successful at Cincinnati over the past five years. I expect McCombs to revert to his freshman form and potentially challenge for first team all-aac. The defense will need to pick things up quickly with games against Maryland and Michigan in the first 3 weeks of the season. The secondary will take their lumps but not many can boast the talent at the linebacking spot like this unit. I like the Huskies to get on the right side of .500 this season with a 7 win season and middle level bowl game.