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UConn Lights Up the Big East Postseason Awards Scoreboard

UConn won a share of the Big East Conference and will head out to Arizona to take on Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, but the Huskies continue to get good news this week.

It was announced on Wednesday that running back Jordan Todman was unanimously chosen as BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the second Connecticut running back in the last three years to earn the conference’s top offensive honor. Todman joins 2008 winner Donald Brown as the only Connecticut players to be named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Todman finished the regular season ranked second nationally in rushing, averaging 143.1 yards per game. He ran for 1,574 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading the BIG EAST in both categories, and went for at least 100 yards nine times in 11 games.

Todman was not the only Husky to earn top honors however. Head coach Randy Edsall was voted Big East Coach of the Year, along with Louisville head coach Charlie Strong. Edsall and Strong tied in the voting for BIG EAST Coach of the Year, marking the first tie since the award was first presented in 1991. Both coaches are first-time winners of the award. Edsall rallied the troops after a 3-4 start, and the Huskies finished the regular season on a 5 game winning streak. He has UConn heading to a bowl game for the fourth straight season.

Other Huskies were also honored by the Big East on the postseason all conference teams. UConn had a total of eight players on the first and second All-Big East Teams. UConn players who made the First Team were Offensive lineman Zach Hurd and Mike Ryan, Running Back Jordan Todman, Kicker Dave Teggart, Defensive Lineman Kendall Reyes, and Linebacker Lawrence Wilson. Offensive lineman Moe Petrus and Return Specialist Nick Williams made the Second Team.

Here is the complete list of Big East Postseason Awards:

2010 BIG EAST CONFERENCE FOOTBALL AWARDS


BIG EAST CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut (Jr., North Dartmouth, Mass.) *
BIG EAST CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh (Sr., Hollywood Hills, Fla.)
BIG EAST CONFERENCE SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Lindsey Lamar, WR, USF (So., Tampa, Fla.)
BIG EAST CONFERENCE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville (RFr., Jonesboro, Ga.)
BIG EAST CONFERENCE COACHES OF THE YEAR
Randy Edsall, Connecticut
Charlie Strong, Louisville
ALL-BIG EAST CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM
OFFENSE
Pos.
Player
School
Cl.
Ht.
Wt.
Hometown/High School
WR
Armon Binns
Cincinnati
Sr.
6-3
210
Pasadena, Calif./Pasadena
WR
Jon Baldwin
Pittsburgh
Jr.
6-5
230
Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa
OT
Mike Ryan
Connecticut
Jr.
6-5
332
Tamaqua, Pa./Marian Catholic
OT
Jason Pinkston
Pittsburgh
Sr.
6-4
305
Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin
OG
Zach Hurd *
Connecticut
Sr.
6-7
323
Waterford, Conn./Waterford
OG
Mark Wetterer *
Louisville
Sr.
6-5
306
Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson
C
Sampson Genus
USF
Sr.
6-1
314
Lake City, Fla./Columbia
TE
Cameron Graham
Louisville
Sr.
6-4
242
Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood
QB
Zach Collaros *
Cincinnati
Jr.
6-0
216
Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville
RB
Jordan Todman *
Connecticut
Jr.
5-9
190
North Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth
RB
Bilal Powell
Louisville
Sr.
6-0
204
Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson
K
Dave Teggart
Connecticut
Jr.
6-0
209
Northborough, Mass./Algonqun
RS
Lindsey Lamar
USF
So.
5-9
160
Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough
DEFENSE
Pos.
Player
School
Cl.
Ht.
Wt.
Hometown/High School
DL
Kendall Reyes
Connecticut
Jr.
6-4
287
Nashua, N.H./Nashua North
DL
Jabaal Sheard *
Pittsburgh
Sr.
6-4
260
Hollywood Hills, Fla./Hollywood Hills
DL
Terrell McClain
USF
Sr.
6-3
302
Pensacola, Fla./Pensacola
DL
Chris Neild
West Virginia
Sr.
6-2
301
Stroudsburg, Pa./Stroudsburg
LB
Lawrence Wilson
Connecticut
Sr.
6-1
217
Tuscaloosa, Ala./Paul W. Bryant
LB
Doug Hogue
Syracuse
Sr.
6-2
226
Yonkers, N.Y./Roosevelt
LB
J.T. Thomas
West Virginia
Sr.
6-2
225
Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Ely
CB
Johnny Patrick
Louisville
Sr.
6-0
186
Deland, Fla./Deland
CB
Keith Tandy
West Virginia
Jr.
5-10
198
Hopkinsville, Ky./Christian County
S
Dom DeCicco
Pittsburgh
Sr.
6-4
230
Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson
S
Robert Sands
West Virginia
Jr.
6-5
221
Carol City, Fla./Miami-Carol City
P
Dan Hutchins
Pittsburgh
Sr.
5-11
195
Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock Township
* unanimous selection
ALL-BIG EAST CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM
OFFENSE
Pos.
Player
School
Cl.
Ht.
Wt.
Hometown/High School
WR
D.J. Woods
Cincinnati
Jr.
6-0
172
Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville
WR
Dontavia Bogan
USF
Sr.
6-1
188
Thomasville, Ga./Central County
WR
Tavon Austin
West Virginia
So.
5-9
173
Baltimore, Md./Dunbar
WR
Jock Sanders
West Virginia
Sr.
5-7
179
St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg Catholic
OT
Justin Pugh
Syracuse
So.
6-5
287
Holland, Pa./Council Rock South
OT
Don Barclay
West Virginia
Jr.
6-4
304
Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley
OL
Jason Kelce
Cincinnati
Sr.
6-4
283
Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights
OL
Byron Stingily
Louisville
Sr.
6-5
300
Country Club Hills, Ill./Joliet CC
OL
Jacob Sims
USF
Sr.
6-5
290
Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park
C
Moe Petrus
Connecticut
Jr.
6-2
292
St. Laurent, Que./Vanier Prep
TE
Ben Guidugli
Cincinnati
Sr.
6-1
240
Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands
QB
Geno Smith
West Virginia
So.
6-3
210
Miami, Fla./Miramar
RB
Isaiah Pead
Cincinnati
Jr.
5-11
194
Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy
RB
Delone Carter
Syracuse
Sr.
5-10
215
Copley, Ohio/Copley Senior
K
Ross Krautman
Syracuse
Fr.
5-7
154
Franklin Lakes, N.J./Ramapo
RS
Nick Williams
Connecticut
So.
5-9
182
East Windsor, N.J./The Hun School
DEFENSE
Pos.
Player
School
Cl.
Ht.
Wt.
Hometown/High School
DL
Brandon Lindsey
Pittsburgh
Jr.
6-2
250
Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa
DL
Chandler Jones
Syracuse
Jr.
6-5
251
Endicott, N.Y./Union-Endicott
DL
Scooter Berry
West Virginia
Sr.
6-1
287
North Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon
DL
Bruce Irvin
West Virginia
Jr.
6-3
235
Walnut, Calif./Mt. San Antonio CC
LB
JK Schaffer
Cincinnati
Jr.
6-1
228
Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle
LB
Jacquain Williams
USF
Sr.
6-3
216
Tampa, Fla./Riverview
LB
Derrell Smith
Syracuse
Sr.
6-1
232
New Castle, Del./Paul Hodgson
CB
Mistral Raymond
USF
Sr.
6-2
192
Palmetto, Fla./Palmetto
CB
Brandon Hogan
West Virginia
Sr.
5-10
189
Manassas, Va./Osbourn
S
Hakeem Smith
Louisville
RFr.
6-1
174
Jonesboro, Ga./Riverdale
S
Jared Holley
Pittsburgh
So.
5-10
180
Easton, Pa./Easton Area
S
Joe Lefeged
Rutgers
Sr.
6-1
205
Germantown, Md./Northwest
P
Rob Long
Syracuse
Sr.
6-3
190
Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West

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UConn News and Notes: Novemeber 18, 2010

Kemba Walker - Courtesy of the Hartford Courant

Basketball:

UConn defeated Vermont on Wednesday night, 89-73, behind a career high 42 points for junior guard Kemba Walker. Walker, who was 15-24 from the field, added 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists. The 42 points tied Cliff Robinson’s record for a UConn game played in Hartford.

Coming into the season everyone knew Kemba Walker would be THE GUY for the Huskies, and it was uncertain who his “wingmen” might be. Through two exhibition games and the first two real games, Alex Oriakhi, Jeremy Lamb, and Roscoe Smith have all shown they could possibly fill the role of the number two go-to scorer. Oriakhi has been impressive with his improvement from last year. Through two games he is averaging 11 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and 3.5 blocks per game. Lamb, who was very impressive in the second exhibition game when he scored 17 points, has shown he is not afraid to fire up a shot…or 10. He’s a natural scorer, who will provide the Huskies with a great outside presence if he can consistently hit jump shots. Smith finally had a so-called “coming-out performance” on Wednesday night against Vermont. He finished with 15 points (including 3-3 from three-point range), 3 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. He was the highest ranked recruit for the Huskies, and will look to live up to his unbelievable potential the rest of the season.

The Huskies will now head to Hawaii, for the annual Maui Invitational which kicks off on Monday. UConn’s first round game is against Wichita State on Monday Nov. 22. at 3pm on ESPN2. UConn could possibly match up with #2 Michigan State in the semifinal and even John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats in the Final.

 

Football:

UConn heads up to Syracuse this Saturday when they take on the Orange at 7pm on ESPNU. Syracuse (7-3, 4-2 in the Big East) is 0-2 in Big East home games this season, while UConn (5-4, 2-2 in the Big East) is 0-4 away from home this season. One team will break their streak this weekend.

Jordan Todman is currently 2nd in the nation in rushing with over 140 ypg, but was left off the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s top running back, list of 10 semi-finalists, which is ridiculous (It’s the second time in the last three seasons that the voters for this award have left a well-deserving UConn running back off the list, as they did the same to Donald Brown during the 2008 season.) Todman showed his gracious side and strong personality by saying: “It doesn’t bother me. That’s something based on everybody else’s opinion.”

UConn needs just one more win this season to become bowl eligable for the fourth straight season. The Huskies have three games left to get win number six.

UConn senior linebacker Lawrence Wilson was named the BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in last Thursday’s victory over Pittsburgh. Wilson had 11 tackles, including a sack, to lead a Connecticut defense that forced four turnovers and had three sacks in a 30-28 win against first-place Pittsburgh. Wilson is currently leading the BIG EAST in tackles with 95. He was also the leading tackler last season.

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2010 UConn Football Preview and Predictions

Practice has started and kickoff is just under two weeks away for the 2010 UConn Football team. The Huskies are still in the midst of Fall camp, as they prepare for the 2010 season, a season with much hope, promise, and high expectations.

Coming off an 8-5 campaign, which ended with four straight victories including a victory over South Carolina in the 2010 Papa John’s.com Bowl , and saw the Huskies lose five games by a total of 15 points, as well as lose a teammate in Jasper Howard, UConn is coming into this season with a lot of optimism.

UConn enters the season considered by many college football experts as one of the favorites to win the Big East title and make it to a BCS Bowl Game. Head Coach Randy Edsall has the best team ever during his 12 year stay in Storrs. With 16 starters returning, a favorable schedule, and one of the nation’s best coaches at the helm, the Huskies look primed for a breakout year.

The Fighting Randy Edsalls are lead by a power running game, two veteran linebackers, and a crop of young talented players. This team will continue the tradition under Edsall of being a hard-nosed football team that will run the football, play good defense, take care of the football, and play with discipline.

Last year, the Huskies were introduced to a new offense under new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. They produced one of the best offensive seasons in recent UConn history. With another spring practice, summer, and fall camp under their belts, the offense looks to continue their improvement and become a juggernaut in the Big East. Lead by senior quarterback Zach Frazer, junior running back Jordan Todman, and senior guard Zach Hurd, the offense will look to keep a balance of power running and a stable passing game. UConn lost Andre Dixon and Marcus Easley to graduation, but their production will be looked to be picked up by USC transfer D.J. Shoemate at running back and junior receiver Kashif Moore.

On Defense, the Huskies will lean heavily on the linebacker duo of Lawrence Wilson and Scott Lutrus. The two fifth year seniors are in their fourth years as starters. Both have been All-Big East selections. They will need to play up to their potential, as UConn will be without linebacker Greg Lloyd (knee) and defensive end Marcus Campball (knee) for the season due to injury. The secondary, which was awful to say the least last season, will look for some stability from corners Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and safeties Jerome Junior and Kijuan Dabney. If the secondary can play well the Huskies will have one of the best defenses in the Big East.

With Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Cincinnati all coming to East Hartford, UConn will have its biggest conference games at home. Away games include at Michigan (Sept. 4th), Temple (Sept. 18th), Rutgers (Oct. 8th), Louisville (Oct. 23rd), Syracuse (Nov. 20th), and South Florida (Dec. 4th).

In what looks to be a very competitive Big East, UConn will have its work cut out for them. Pittsburgh, Cincy, and West Virginia all could be title contenders, but if UConn can stay healthy, play as a complete team, limit the big plays on defense, control the ball on offense, and finish games, then they have a great chance at heading down to Miami to represent the Big East in the BCS’ Orange Bowl.

Here is my Win-Loss breakdown of my predictions for the 2010 Season:

Sat. Sept.4 at Michigan —- Win (1-0)

Sat. Sept.11 TEXAS SOUTHERN —- Win (2-0)

Sat. Sept.18 at Temple —- Win (3-0)

Sat. Sept.25 BUFFALO —- Win (4-0)

Sat. Oct.2 VANDERBILT (HC) —- Win (5-0)

Fri. Oct.8 at Rutgers* —- Win (6-0)

Sat. Oct.23 at Louisville* —- Win (7-0)

Fri. Oct.29 WEST VIRGINIA* —- Win (8-0)

Thur. Nov.11 PITTSBURGH* —- Win (9-0)

Sat. Nov.20 at Syracuse* —- Win (10-0)

Sat. Nov.27 CINCINNATI* —- Loss (10-1)

Sat. Dec.4 at USF* —- Win (11-1)

* – BIG EAST Conference game / HC – Homecoming

That’s right I’m picking the Huskies to go 11-1 (6-1 in Big East), which I think will give them the outright Big East title, and a trip to a BCS game. UConn has come close in recent years, but I got a feeling this is the year. As the student section shirt says…”Whatever Better Place Than Here, What Better Time Then Now”….I guess time will tell, but this could very well be THE season for the UConn Football program.

How do you think the Huskies will do this season? VOTE BELOW!

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UConn News and Notes: June 29, 2010

Overall it’s been a pretty quiet month for UConn athletics, which is to say a good thing. After a rough May with all of the NCAA Violations issues, UConn athletics can start to get focused on the 2010-2011 school year. Here are the latest news, links, and nuggets on UConn sports.

Stanley Robinson

– Former UConn Forward Stanley Robinson was drafted last week by the Orlando Magic as the 59th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Robinson was expected to go earlier (was once considered a possible lottery pick), but had to settle for the third to last pick in the draft. While his contract will not be as big as he hoped, he might have ended up in the perfect place for him to grow. He’s going to an Orlando team that has become an annual NBA Championship contender. He will get to play with players such as Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and Jameer Nelson. Sticks has a great opportunity to make the roster and grow as a player in Orlando. Congrats Stanley.

– In other UConn Basketball news… It looks like Jim Calhoun is set to announce within the next few days that Kevin Ollie and Glenn Miller will join the UConn basketball staff, as the UConn men’s basketball team’s new assistant coach and director of basketball administration, respectively. Ollie and Miller will replace Patrick Sellers and Beau Archibald, who each resigned last month in the wake of the NCAA’s announcement of alleged recruiting violations by the program.

– The UConn Football team is in the midst of summer workouts as they prepare for the 2010 season, a season with a great deal of hope and expectations. Many college football writers, reporters, and even fans of other schools are looking at UConn to the Big East Champs this season. Rivalry Esq., a respected Big Ten Blog, put out its summer bowl selections, and they seem pretty high on the Huskies.

– UConn Football has already picked up four recruits for the Class of 2011. The Huskies recently held their skills camp for high school players, which is a place where the coaches usually extend offers to players they like, so even more commitments could be coming soon. The four recruits already on board are running back Max DeLorenzo, quarterback Michael Nebrich, offensive lineman Paul Nwokeji, and defensive back David Stevenson.

Lawrence Wilson

– UConn senior linebacker Lawrence Wilson and senior offensive guard Zach Hurd have both been named preseason All-American by the Sporting News. Both players were selected to the third team.

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UConn Football: Spring Recap

This past Saturday, UConn held it’s annual Spring Game aka The Blue-White Game. The event that concludes spring practice, was a time for the Huskies to show off their potential for next season for the first time in public. Due to the bad weather, only 2500 fans attended the game, but that didn’t stop the Huskies from putting on a show….Offensively at least. The Blue team(first team offense, second team defense) beat the White team(second team offense, first team defense) 30-13.

Courtesy of the Hartford Courant

The UConn offense showed a giant spark, as the passing game that has been close to dormant in recent years, was alive and well on Saturday. Quarterback Zach Frazer completed 8 of 14 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Five of his completions and 207 yards went to receiver Mike Smith, who had touchdown grabs of 69, 75 and 57 yards. Other receivers who had big days were Kashif Moore, Redshirt freshman Malik Generett, and Isiah Moore. The passing game will be a key contributor to the team next season. It will be the first time in close to six years that opposing defenses will have to fear the passing game along with the running game. Frazer has progressed nicely since mid-way through last season and into this spring. The offense looks solid, even with the losses of Andre Dixon and Marcus Easley. Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead has the unit looking good, and will look to add in a few players to add new dimensions to the offense. One player that will find his way on the field, in one position or another, is freshman quarterback Leon Kinnard. The 5-11 speedster, is a great athlete who can bring some excitement to the offense. He could be used as a nice tempo changer in the offense.

The defense didn’t have nearly as good a day as the offense, but there were a few positive signs for the future. The front four and the linebackers look solid and look to have a lot of depth. Reserve defensive end A.J. Portee had 11 tackles, including three sacks. Seniors Scott Lutrus and Lawrence Wilson looked sharp as usual. The problem for the defense came from the secondary. The defensive backs were a weak spot last season, and still look to be having problems. The group is talented, just inexperienced.

Courtesy of The Hartford Courant

“We didn’t do too well, could have done better,” said cornerback Dwayne Gratz, who had a good day. “The thing to remember is we’re young back there. There’s still a lot for us to learn. We have to strive to get better. We’re going to get better.”

Coach Randy Edsall seemed pleased with the overall production in the game and spring practice season.

“All in all, we got a lot accomplished,” Edsall said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, which I think any coach in America will tell you after spring practice. But I think what’s happened is, you’re able to find out much more about your team and who you feel like can get it done for you and who’s got work to do. I think we got those answers.”

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UConn Pounds Syracuse, Become Bowl Eligible

Courtesy of the Hartford Courant

Led by the running back duo of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon, the UConn Huskies beat the Syracuse Orange easily, 56-31, in front of a sellout crowd at Rentschler Field. With the win, UConn improves its record to 6-5 on the year, and become bowl eligible for the third straight season.

Todman had 123 yards on 25 carries, a touchdown, and went over 1000 yards rushing for the season. Dixon also had a big day, with three touchdowns and 73 yards rushing. Reciever Marcus Easley was another offensive star for the Huskies, as he finished with 6 catches, 105 yards recieving, and 2 touchdowns.

Courtesy of the Hartford Courant

While the score shows a Husky blow-out, it’s a little misleading, as the Husky defense had trouble keeping the Greg Paulus led Syracuse offense, contained. Syracuse had over 400 yards of total offense in their last game of the season. While the defense had some issues, linebacker Lawrence Wilson had an unbelievable game. Wilson, whose the Big East’s leading tackler, had a career high 17 tackles, as well as a sack.

The Huskies scored two non-offensive touchdowns, with Mike Lang returning a kickoff 80 yards in the first quarter, then cornerback Dwayne Gratz returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown with 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

UConn ends the regular season next Saturday when they host Big East foe, South Florida, at 8pm at Rentschler Field. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Husky fans are encouraged to arrive early to pay tribute to the UConn seniors who will be playing their last game at the Rent.

Courtesy of the Hartford Courant

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UConn Football: Mid-Season Report Card

Cody Endres

(AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

The UConn Huskies are half-way through their season, and currently stand 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big East. While that record wasn’t what the Huskies were hoping for at the beginning of the season, the team is better than their record indicates. The team should really be 5-0 and 3-0 in the conference. All three of the losses this year came after the Huskies gave up a fourth quarter lead. Against North Carolina the Huskies had a ten point lead, but lost the game 12-10. Against Pittsburgh the Huskies had a fifteen point lead at one point, but lost the game 24-21 on a last second field goal. Against West Virginia this past weekend the Huskies scored with four minutes to go to take the lead 24-21, but once again they gave up a late score and lost the game 28-24.

The team has had to face a great deal of adversity this year in dealing with the injury of captain and defensive playmaker Scott Lutrus, the switching of quarterbacks during the season, and most recently the loss of a teammate, Jasper Howard, who was murdered a day after the Huskies homecoming win over Louisville.

So after 5 games and a lot of adversity, here are my mid-season grades for the team:

QUARTERBACKS: Zach Frazer started the season as the starter, but after two mediocre performances and a knee injury in the first two games of the season, the stage was set for Cody Endres. In the four games he has played since taking over for Frazer, Endres has completed close to 65% of his passes for 1314 yards and 6 touchdowns. Endres has made some mistakes, but overall he has improved throughout the season and is doing things to help his team win. OVERALL GRADE: B

Andre Dixon

(AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jerry Larson)

RUNNING BACKS: The duo of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon has given the Huskies one of the best running games in the conference. One question heading into this season was how was UConn going to replace the production of Donald Brown, the nation’s leading rusher from a year ago? In the first five games Todman and Dixon have made up for the lost of Donald Brown. Dixon has rushed for 654 yards and 7 touchdowns, while Todman has rushed for 596 yards and 7 touchdowns. The duo has played well in every game, but they disappeared in the fourth quarter of the Pittsburgh game, when the team really needed them to step up. Overall though, the Huskies have proven once again that no matter whose rushing the football, they will have success here at UConn. OVERALL GRADE: B+

RECIEVERS: One of the biggest question marks coming into this season was the receiving core. After a terrible season last year, the Huskies were looking for playmakers on the outside. Through the first few games, the Huskies were still looking for that go-to-guy. A few players made some plays, such as Brad Kanuch, Michael Smith, and Isiah Moore. But no guy really stepped up and became that deep threat and consistent playmaker. However, over the past three games, Senior Marcus Easley has become that guy for the Huskies. Easley has had over 100 yards receiving and has had a touchdown in each of the last three games. With his emergence and hopefully more consistency from the other receivers, the offense will have a passing attack it can rely on. OVERALL GRADE: C

OFFENSIVE LINE: The big guys up front have been solid for most of the year. Besides a few sacks here and there, and the one holding penalty on Dan Ryan against North Carolina for a safety, the offensive line has been a strong point for the Huskies. They have given Dixon and Todman room to run, and have given Endres decent protection in the pocket. OVERALL GRADE: B+

Lindsey WittenDEFENSIVE LINE: The Huskies front four on defense have been pretty consistent this year. Lead by Senior Lindsey Witten, who is second in the nation in sacks, the defensive line has been a strong point for UConn this year. Freshman defensive end Jesse Joseph has proven to be a playmaker as well, while Kendall Reyes has played well at the tackle position. They did have a bad game against Pittsburgh when they were man-handled by the Pitt offensive line. OVERALL GRADE: A-

LINEBACKERS: Captain Scott Lutrus has been out for all but two games this year (he has been cleared to play this weekend against Rutgers), however the linebacker core has played extremely well even without their leader. Lawrence Wilson is leading the Big East in tackles and has become more of a vocal leader. Greg Lloyd has been very consistent and Lutrus’ replacement Jory Johnson has played very well. Once Lutrus is back on the field the Huskies will have the best linebacker group in the Big East. OVERALL GRADE: A

Robert McClain #42 DEFENSIVE BACKS: The Defensive Backs have played well all season, but they lost one of their leaders in Jasper Howard. Team captain Robert McClain and fellow senior Robert Vaughn have played extremely well, as both have 4 interceptions on the year. Jerome Junior and Jonathan Jean-Louis have split time at the other safety spot and have been solid players. Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz will be competing for playing time at the corner position that was Jasper Howard’s. OVERALL GRADE: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS: Desi Cullen is having a good senior year as he is one of the top punters in the Big East. Kicker Dave Teggart, who was one of the most consistent kickers in the conference a year ago, has struggled so far this year. He is just seven for twelve on field goal tries this year, and missed two costly ones against West Virginia that could have given UConn the victory. Teggart needs to find his rhythm again, and when he does the Huskies will have a solid special teams duo. OVERALL GRADE: C+

Randy Edsall with Desi Cullen
HEAD COACH RANDY EDSALL: Coach Edsall has built this program to what it is today, and has done it with class and integrity. Coming into this year the Huskies had a lot of question marks, and overall the team has played better than their 4-3 record indicates. Coach Edsall and his assistants have done a good job with this team, but they need to continue to preach the concept of “Finishing” to the team. The only downside to the coaching this year has been that the team has blown three fourth quarter leads, and some of that falls on the coaching staff. While on the field, Coach Edsall may have a little work to do, off the field he has been “Coach of the Year” in my book. Dealing with the tragedy of losing a player is never easy, but what Coach Edsall went through was just awful. He had to identify the body, call Howard’s parents to tell them what had happened to their son, call Jazz’s girlfriend to tell her the bad news, then tell the team that they had lost a teammate and brother. Coach Edsall has handled this entire situation with class and has been the leader and support for the team, the program, the Howard family, and the entire UConn community. Coach Edsall has done a marvelous job leading this team through this horrific time, while trying to get them back to normal business of playing football. OVERALL GRADE: A+

The Huskies have plenty of talent, heart, and desire to win every game the rest of the season. If the team can continue to improve, play together, play the entire game, play for Jasper Howard, and follow the lead of Coach Edsall, then they can have a very successful season.

The team will return to the field this Saturday when they host Big East rival Rutgers at Noon at the Rent. It will be the first home game since the death of Jasper Howard, and many tributes will be made at the game. The team hopes its ultimate tribute will be a win in Howard’s honor.
Jasper Howard

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