2008 CFN Connecticut Preview
2008 UConn Offense
2008 UConn Defense |
2008 UConn Depth
2007 CFN Connecticut Preview
2006 CFN Connecticut Preview
Head coach: Randy Edsall
10th year: 50-55
Returning Lettermen: 34
Off. 18, Def. 15, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 15
Best Husky Players
1. DE Cody Brown, Sr.
2. CB Darius Butler, Sr.
3. RB Andre Dixon, Jr.
4. LB Scott Lutrus, Soph.
5. RB Donald Brown, Jr.
6. LB Lawrence Wilson, Soph.
7. DE Julius Williams, Sr.
8. FS Robert Vaughn, Jr.
9. QB Tyler Lorenzen, Sr.
10. TE Steve Brouse, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 6-6
2008 Schedule: 0-0
Sept. 6 at Temple
Sept. 13 Virginia
Sept. 19 Baylor
Sept. 27 at Louisville
Oct. 4 at North Carolina
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 18 at Rutgers
Oct. 25 Cincinnati
Nov. 1 West Virginia
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 15 at Syracuse
Nov. 22 at South Florida
Nov. 29 OPEN DATE
Dec. 6 Pitt
CFN Prediction: 5-7
Sept. 22 at
Pitt W 34-14
Virginia L 17-16
Louisville W 21-17
3 Rutgers W 38-19
Cincinnati L 27-3
Syracuse W 30-7
24 at W Virginia L 66-21
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Dec. 29 Wake Forest L 24-10
Although Connecticut technically won a share of the Big East
title last year, that’s merely an anecdotal footnote designed for the
athletic department to use in press releases. Most people will remember
the Huskies getting ambushed, 66-21, by West Virginia, the league’s
representative in a BCS bowl game, and for having little in the way of
offensive firepower. In other words, to avoid being branded nationally
as a one-year fluke, UConn needs to answer last season’s improbable 9-4
mark with another winning record. And head coach Randy Edsall knows it.
The Huskies will be looking to build on their recent success by
shuffling around personnel on defense to get the most speed on the field
while searching for answers to an anemic aerial attack. At the core,
however, will be a familiar formula under Edsall. With another no-name
defense and a no-nonsense ground game, this will still be the annoying
Big East pest that’ll bother the big names once again.
While the offense would love to get more from QB Tyler Lorenzen and a
passing game that was 97th nationally, the focus will again
be on Andre Dixon and Donald Brown, a pair of 800-yard rushers who’ll be
competing for more touches. If Lorenzen can overcome a mediocre set of
receivers to improve his production, it’ll make it that much harder to
stack the box to stop Dixon and Brown.
Defensively, the Huskies lose just three starters from a unit that was
air-tight in all but the West Virginia debacle. They yielded an average
of just 15 points in the other 12 games, finishing seventh in the
country in turnover margin and tenth in pass efficiency defense. Expect
more of the same results from a defense that doesn’t get nearly as much
attention as it deserves.
Is Connecticut ready to compete with West Virginia and actually win
an outright Big East championship? Not quite. However, there’s
enough returning talent in Storrs for the Huskies to make it to
back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history.
What to watch for on offense: CB Darius Butler’s role in the
offense. In dire need of a spark in the passing game, the Huskies have
acquiesced to Butler’s pleas to line up at wide receiver this year as
well as covering them. He’s a naturally gifted athlete with terrific
ball skills, but how many snaps a game he gets will depend on his
impact. While the coaches don’t want to wear out one their premier
players, if he can help move the chains, Butler should get a handful of
appearances on offense every game.
What to watch for on defense: A much greater emphasis on speed.
Rewind the tape of last November’s 66-21 loss to West Virginia and
you’ll understand why the Huskies have become downright obsessed with
getting faster. The program realizes it’s a must if it has any hope of
reaching a new plateau in the Big East. The need for speed is the
primary reason why LB Scott Lutrus has been shifted inside former S
Dahna Deleston was moved to strongside linebacker.
The team will be far better if… QB Tyler Lorenzen gives defenses
a reason to reconsider putting eight men in the box. Although this will
never be a pass-happy program, Connecticut needs more from an attack
that produced just 185 yards a game through the air. Lorenzen is capable
of upping his role, but he can’t get it done on his own. Last year’s
leading receiver, Terence Jeffers, is seeking greener pastures
elsewhere, leaving a sea of mediocrity in his wake. While Brad Kanuch
and D.J. Hernandez can pass as possession
targets, the Huskies are still looking for someone who can stretch a
The Schedule: It's not bad. Virginia's good, but if the
Huskies plan on having a good season, they need to win the interesting
early non-conference date. Do that and there should be a 4-0 start
before jumping into Big East play with a road trip to Louisville.
There's a tougher-than-it-looks trip to North Carolina as the second of
three straight road games, and then comes a must-win homestand against
Cincinnati and West Virginia before a week off, road games at Syracuse
and South Florida, and another week off before hosting Pitt.
Best offensive player: RB Andre Dixon. Dixon was a revelation for
the Huskies, at times outplaying the more publicized Donald Brown en
route to 828 yards and three touchdowns on 167 carries. A hard-charging
slasher who doesn’t shy away from contact, he was also fifth on the team
with 24 catches for 280 yards and another score. Beyond his ability to
spark the ground game, Dixon also lit a fire under Brown, who was
languishing in the early part of the season.
Best defensive player: DE Cody Brown. The only thing to slow down
Brown in the last two years was a broken arm midway through the 2006
season. Over his last 19 games, he racked up 24 tackles for loss and a
dozen sacks, routinely getting penetration and disrupting the flow of a
play. At only 6-3 and 246 pounds, he’s not only a ferocious edge rusher
but also a sound run defender, leading Husky linemen with 50 tackles a
Key player to a successful season: LB Scott Lutrus. He’s moving
to middle linebacker to make more of an impact replacing the
ultra-consistent Danny Lansanah. Lutrus needs to build on his Freshman
All-American debut by becoming a force in run defense and a capable
cover guy on passing downs. He’s got the speed, natural instincts, and
nose for the ball to excel on the inside, freeing up the coaches to get
a little more speed at the outside positions.
The season will be a success if ... the Huskies play a 13th
game. Yes, the Huskies were tied atop the Big East last year, but that
shouldn’t artificially inflate expectations for the upcoming season.
This is still a program that can use December bowl games as building
blocks for the future and sound bites on recruiting trips. If
Connecticut finishes ahead of Rutgers, South Florida, Cincinnati, and
Pittsburgh for a second straight year, go ahead and label the season as
Key game: Nov. 1 vs. West Virginia. After getting spanked so
thoroughly against the Mountaineers last fall, the Huskies desperately
need to put forth a better showing, especially in front of the home
crowd. Even after winning nine games a year ago, the team did little to
earn national respect or reduce its legions of skeptics. A strong
performance here, even in a losing cause, would do wonders for the ego
2007 Fun Stats:
- Interceptions thrown: Opponents 23 – Connecticut 6
- Fourth down conversions: Opponents 6 of 16 (38%) – Connecticut 3 of 12
- First quarter scoring: Connecticut 87 – Opponents 51