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UCONN Huskies

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Connecticut has grinded its teeth on the defensive side over the years, but that hasn’t been enough given what’s transpired over the last half a decade. With the hopes of rekindling the offense, Randy Edsall takes over once again after leaving for Maryland back in 2010. The Huskies can be more competitive than a year ago, but first they’ll have to determine a starting quarterback.

With a new, high-tempo offense that Edsall is installing, Bryant Shirreffs (7 TDs, 6 INTs) isn’t guaranteed the starting spot after having that job most of last season. After spring, Shirreffs was in a three-way battle with last year’s backup Donovan Williams and Juco transfer David Pindell. While the up-tempo offense will surely change things up, it’s still a core that scored 14.8 points per game a year ago. Top running back Arkeel Newsome (715 yards, 5 TDs) returns with Hergy Mayala (296 yards) expected to be the top receiver with Noel Thomas’s 100 receptions from last season gone. The line returns enough to keep the team rolling with three starters back, but again, this offense still has a lot to show.

Defensively, the Huskies have to deal with losing multiple players to the NFL from a unit that allowed a mediocre 28.1 points per game last year. Still, the talent is there from Jamar Summers in the secondary to Foley Fatukasi and Luke Carrezola up front and Junior Joseph at linebacker. To go with the six returning senior starters, Vanderbilt transfer Tre Ball is expected to start opposite of Summers. The biggest ask will probably be at safety where two freshmen are set to start in Tahj Herring-Wilson and Tyler Coyle. It’s worth noting the secondary was the unit that struggled most last season.

A bowl game is likely a stretch in Edsall’s first season, but more than three wins should be attainable. Yet, nothing will come easy, even in the AAC. If UConn can’t steal a non-conference game against Virginia, Missouri or Boston College, a bowl game will be off the table. From there, none of their conference home games are all that favorable outside of East Carolina. That makes finding road wins important with SMU in September to Temple, UCF and Cincy throughout the season.

The Huskies will switch to an up-tempo offense, but that doesn’t mean they’ll turn into an elite group overnight with most of the same pieces from a year ago and an unknown at quarterback. If the defense can get back to near-elite levels, that would be a huge help, but around four wins is the likelihood for Edsall’s return to Storrs.


2017 Connecticut Huskies Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. Holy Cross
Sept. 9 vs. South Florida
Sept. 16 at Virginia
Sept. 30 at SMU

Oct. 6 vs. Memphis
Oct. 14 at Temple
Oct. 21 vs. Tulsa

Oct. 28 vs. Missouri
Nov. 4 vs. East Carolina
Nov. 11 at UCF
Nov. 18 vs. Boston College (Fenway Park)
Nov. 25 at Cincinnati

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