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Connecticut Preview 2006
Conecticut RB Terry Caulley
Posted Aug 1, 2006

Last season might have been seen as a step back going 5-6 a season after seemingly turning a corner with an eight victory, bowl winning campaign in 2004, but it proved something important; the program can still be competitive when things break down.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

The offensive line situation was seen as a problem going into last year, and it became worse than anyone could've feared as the season went on with injuries and youth causing such a toll that a few defensive linemen had to be moved over to the other side. Even with that, along with star fullback Deon Anderson leaving the team, the running game still finished 34th in the nation averaging 175 yards per game.

There was an odd preseason incident involving a pellet gun and a car window that meant suspensions and the potential for a meltdown on defense, but the Huskies turned out to have the best D in the Big East finishing sixth in the nation allowing 297 yards per game. 

The offensive line, the suspensions, the loss of star quarterback Dan Orlovsky, and a tougher Big East schedule would've been enough to excuse a 4-7 type of season, but UConn still managed to beat South Florida, play tough against Louisville, Rutgers and Georgia Tech, and beat the dregs on the slate. The 2005 team might not be a Big East title contender, but after what happened last year, there's reason to believe another bowl game is almost certain.

Head coach: Randy Edsall
8th year: 37-43
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 16, Def. 21, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best Husky Players
1. RB Terry Caulley, Sr.
2. LB Danny Lansanah, Jr.
3. FB Deon Anderson, Sr.
4. DT Rhema Fuller, Sr.
5. CB Darius Butler, Soph.
6. TE Dan Murray, Sr.
7. SS M.J. Estep, Sr.
8. CB Tyvon Branch, Jr.
9. OT William Beatty, Soph.
10. WR Brandon Young, Sr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-6

8/31 Rhode Island
9/16 Wake Forest
9/23 at Indiana
9/30 Navy
10/7 at South Florida
10/14 Army
10/20 West Virginia
10/28 at Rutgers
11/11 Pitt
11/18 at Syracuse
11/25 Cincinnati
12/2 at Louisville

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-5
2005 Schedule: 5-6

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/1 Buffalo W 38-0
9/10 Liberty W 59-0
9/17 at Georgia Tech L 38-13
10/1 at Army W 47-13
10/7 Syracuse W 26-7
10/15 at Cincinnati L 28-17
10/22 Rutgers L 26-24
11/2 at West Virginia L 45-13
11/12 at Pittsburgh L 24-0
11/26 South Florida W 16-10
12/3 Louisville L 30-20

This isn't a star-studded team by any means, but there are plenty of good, rock solid players and depth everywhere but on the offensive line. 16 starters return including most of a fantastic defensive back seven that should be the best in the Big East led by cornerbacks Darius Butler and Tyvon Branch, while weakside linebacker Danny Lansanah is a star in the making with his combination of size and speed.

The offense will have to figure out who the right fit is at quarterback between Matt Bonislawski (experienced and good all-around talent), D.J. Hernandez (experienced and fast), Dennis Brown (a little experienced and accurate)  and Billy Cundiff (not experienced, but potentially the best of the bunch). Terry Caulley returns for what seems like his 14th season at tailback and should put up big numbers thanks to the welcome return of his lead blocker, Anderson. The line isn't going to scare anyone, but it's not going to be any worse.

Things are looking up for the Husky program with head coach Randy Edsall not going anywhere and fantastic facilities that should upgrade the overall class of recruit the program can attract. Now the question becomes whether or not the defense can be as good as last year and if the team can avoid some major slip ups. If everything goes to form, this should be a great stepping stone to a big 2007.

The Schedule: There are big breaks in the Big East getting West Virginia and Pitt in Rentschler, but road trips to South Florida and Rutgers are going to be battles. Bowl eligibility had better be wrapped up by the end of November with the season-ender at Louisville looming. The non-conference schedule isn't going to be that nasty, but the Wake Forest game could be tougher than expected before going on the road to face Indiana. The Huskies had better be 5-1 or 4-2 at worst before facing West Virginia.

Best Offensive Player: Senior RB Terry Caulley. Depending on how much he's used, he'll become the school's all-time leading rusher against Rhode Island needing just 112 yards to set the record. It took over two years, but his knee finally appears to be back to where it was before the injury slowed down his tremendous career. It might be hard to earn All-Big East honors in a league with West Virginia's Steve Slaton and Louisville's Michael Bush, but he'll come close.

Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Danny Lansanah. Weakside linebackers are supposed to be a safety-like 215 pounds with speed and athleticism. Lansanah isn't like most weakside defenders at a fast 248 pounds with the ability to pack a huge wallop. He should lead the team in tackles again.

Key players to a successful season: Offensive tackles William Beatty and Mike Hicks, guards Matt Applebaum, Brian Kersmanc and Immanuel Hutcherson, and center Keith Gray. Everything is in place for a great season, but it'll be a battle just to hit the .500 mark if the offensive line doesn't shine.

The season will be a success if ... the Huskies win eight games. The expectations for the defense have to be sky high after last year while the offense will have more of a passing game and an even more explosive ground attack. The schedule is average enough where anything less than a winning season will be a big disappointment.

Key game: Oct. 7 at South Florida. UConn has been tremendous at home over the last few years, but it's still asking a lot to beat West Virginia. A loss at South Florida would likely mean an 0-2 Big East start with a road game at Rutgers coming up the following week.

2005 Fun Stats: 
Sacks: Opponents 35 for 201 yards - Connecticut 27 for 209 yards
- Punt returns: Opponents 11.2 yards per return. - Connecticut 10.3 yards per return
- Third down conversions: Connecticut 61 of 182 (34%) - Opponents 38 of 157 (24%)

Related Stories
Connecticut Preview - Offense
 -by  Aug 1, 2006
Connecticut Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 1, 2006
Connecticut Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 1, 2006

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