2010 Connecticut Preview
Connecticut QB Zach Frazer
Connecticut QB Zach Frazer
Posted Jun 26, 2010

In a year marked by a major tragedy and near miss after near miss, Connecticut managed to win its final four games. The Huskies played nine games decided by a touchdown or less and lost five games by a total of 15 points, and now they're better. Check out the 2010 CFN Connecticut Preview.

Connecticut Huskies

Preview 2010

- 2010 Connecticut Preview | 2010 Connecticut Offense
- 2010 Connecticut Defense | 2010 Connecticut Depth Chart
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By Richard Cirminiello

Head coach: Randy Edsall 12th year: 66-65
Returning Lettermen
Off. 22, Def. 15, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best Connecticut Players
1. LB Lawrence Wilson, Sr.
2. RB Jordan Todman, Jr.
3. LB Scott Lutrus, Sr.
4. RG Zach Hurd, Sr.
5. DT Twyon Martin, Jr.
6. DE Greg Lloyd, Sr.
7. C Moe Petrus, Jr.
8. QB Zach Frazer, Sr.
9. DT Kendall Reyes, Jr.
10. WR Kashif Moore, Jr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 4 at Michigan
Sept. 11 Texas Southern
Sept. 18 at Temple
Sept. 25 Buffalo
Oct. 2 Vanderbilt
Oct. 8 at Rutgers
Oct. 23 at Louisville
Oct. 29 West Virginia
Nov. 11 Pitt
Nov. 20 at Syracuse
Nov. 27 Cincinnati
Dec. 4 at USF

Whoever said you can't win consistently without waves of top high school recruits has never paid much attention to Connecticut. The Huskies just keep chugging along, sans blue-chippers, on the strength of one of America's most underrated coaching staffs.

If ever this program was going to stumble, last year was certainly it. Heck, by the middle of November, the Huskies suffered more painful losses than most kids endure in an entire career—five games by four points or less and the tragic Oct. 18 murder of teammate and friend Jasper Howard. Emotionally battered and bruised at 4-5, who'd have blamed Connecticut for wobbling to the finish line? It didn't. Instead, it courageously went on a tear, winning the final four games, including a stirring, double-overtime upset at Notre Dame and a PapaJohns.com Bowl stuffing of South Carolina. Those four victories were a microcosm for Husky football and the incredible job being done by Randy Edsall and his staff.

A relative newcomer to the Big East and the FBS, Connecticut has enjoyed three straight years of at least eight wins and a postseason invitation. While making it four in-a-row is well within reach, the Huskies believe they have the depth and talent to raise the bar a little higher and compete for a conference title. Eight starters return to each side of the ball, and this could be the deepest team Edsall has ever coached in Storrs. The keys to success both involve the passing game. On offense, it's time for QB Zach Frazer to put it all together and perform like the former can't-miss prospect who began his career in South Bend. On defense, the Huskies have to revamp the pass rush in order to provide cover for a youthful secondary.

Connecticut has become nationally relevant in a sport other than basketball, an improbable occurrence over the past few years. The foundation set and the coaching staff intact, it's hoping to make an even bigger splash by capturing a league crown that's up for grabs.

What to watch for on offense: The young receivers. Marcus Easley and Brad Kanuch are gone, robbing the Huskies of last year's top two pass-catchers. In their place come three juniors with outstanding upside and a lot to prove. Isiah Moore, Kashif Moore, and Michael Smith showed flashes of big-play ability in 2009, but there's a huge difference to being a complement and a focal point. In Joe Moorhead's up-tempo attack, moving the ball through the air is a must. QB Zach Frazer is eyeing a breakout final year, but only if he gets proper support from his receivers on the outside and in the slot.

What to watch for on defense: The ends. Lindsey Witten is gone, taking the Big East sack title with him to the NFL. The Huskies have a lot of similar options in his wake, undersized speedsters who could be a liability against the run. Their athleticism, however, is impossible to ignore, meaning opposing tackles will have nightmares trying to contain Jesse Joseph, Trevardo Williams, and Marcus Campbell. Oh, and it'll be worth following the knee recovery of Greg Lloyd, the former all-star linebacker making a position switch. If he can bring the same level of intensity to the line, everyone behind him is going to benefit.

The team will be far better if… it can maintain the momentum from last year by winning more close games. Connecticut went 8-5 last season, but it was just 15 points away from a perfect season. That's a converted field goal or a late stop away from a very different bowl destination. The Huskies got the hang of it down the stretch, beating Notre Dame by three and South Florida by two, results that have to become trends in 2010.

The Schedule: The schedule likely might not be the Big East's easiest, but it's not far off even with four conference road games. The Huskies don't have to play Pitt, West Virginia, or Cincinnati on the road and get relative lightweights Syracuse and Louisville away (along with Rutgers and South Florida). Playing at Michigan isn't necessarily the killer opener it was five years ago and could be a springboard to a tremendous first half of the year with winnable games against Texas Southern, at Temple, Buffalo, and Vanderbilt before Big East play starts at Rutgers. Not only do the Huskies get the Mountaineers and Panthers at home, but there's a week off before the two big showdowns.
Best offensive player: Junior RB Jordan Todman. After gradually moving up the ladder in each of his seasons on campus, Todman is set to explode in 2010. Even though he shared carries with Andre Dixon last fall, he still managed to rack up 1,188 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground, adding 21 receptions for 185 yards. Deceptively strong at only 5-9 and 190 pounds, he does all of the little things well, running with great balance and vision, and hitting the hole without any wasted movement. Now that Dixon has graduated, the spotlight figures to shine a little brighter on No. 23.

Best defensive player: Senior LB Lawrence Wilson. Getting Wilson out of Tuscaloosa, Ala. four years ago will go down as one of the great all-time heists in school history. Although at 6-1 and 217 pounds, he doesn't fit the prototype to a tee, he has evolved into a dynamic playmaker for the Huskies. Roaming the field with non-stop energy, he earned All-Big East first team honors, amassing a league-high 140 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, five sacks, two fumble recoveries, and three forced fumbles. With an ample supply of speed, instincts, and range, he's next to impossible to contain in the open field.

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Zach Frazer. No, he doesn't have to be otherworldly for Connecticut to succeed. Last season was a prime example of that fact. However, how good might the Huskies be if Frazer starts approaching his rather high ceiling? He has a next-level arm to go along with almost a full season of experience. If he clicks with all of those young and exciting receivers, the Huskies will finally achieve a desirable level of balance on offense.

The season will be a success if ... Connecticut keeps rolling to a fourth straight postseason game. With this much returning talent and a schedule that breaks in their favor, there's no reason why the Huskies can't win nine games for the second time in the last four years. After finishing below .500 in league play, it would also be nice to start creeping up the Big East ladder and claw a little closer to a conference championship.

Key game: Sept. 4 at Michigan. Nope, it won't have any bearing on the Big East race, but it does represent another huge opportunity for Connecticut to spread its progress beyond the Northeast. Just like last November's trip to South Bend, a visit to the Big House affords the Huskies a chance to make a loud statement and use a Midwest powerhouse as a launching point to bigger and better things.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Sacks: Connecticut 33 – Opponents 21
- Yards per catch: Connecticut 13.2 – Opponents 11.8
- Third quarter scoring: Connecticut 103 - Opponents 41

- 2010 Connecticut Preview | 2010 Connecticut Offense
- 2010 Connecticut Defense | 2010 Connecticut Depth Chart
- Connecticut Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006