2010 Record: (8-5, 5-2 in Big East)
Head Coach: Paul Pasqualoni (171-76-1 All-Time)
Last Bowl: 2010/2011 Fiesta Bowl: lost to Oklahoma 48-20
CFBZ UConn Links
9/10: at Vanderbilt (2010 result: won 40-21)
9/16: Iowa State
9/24: at Buffalo (2010 result: won 45-21)
10/1: Western Michigan
10/8: at West Virginia (2010 result: won 16-13 OT)
10/15: USF (2010 result: won 49-16)
10/26: at Pitt (2010 result: won 30-28)
11/5: Syracuse (2010 result: won 23-6)
11/19: Louisville (2010 result: lost 26-0)
11/26: Rutgers (2010 result: lost 27-24)
12/3: at Cincinnati (2010 result: won 38-17)
2010 Offensive Statistics:
Scoring: 26.4 ppg (2nd in Big East, 63rd in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 174.69 yds/game (2nd in Big East, 34th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 151.1 yds/game (8th in Big East, 110th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 325.8 yds/game (3rd in Big East, 95th in Nation)
2010 Defensive Statistics:
Scoring: 22.0 ppg (6th in Big East, 35th in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 143.23 yds/game (6th in Big East, 50th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 223.5 yds/game (7th in Big East, 66th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 366.8 yds/game (6th in Big East, 58th in Nation)
2010 Misc Stats:
Turnover Margin: +0.92 per game (1st in Big East, 11th in Nation)
Penalties: 40.2 yds/game (1st in Big East, 8th in Nation)
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
Passing: QB Michael Box, Soph (6 of 17 for 65 yds, 1 INT)
Rushing: RB D.J. Shoemate, Sr (28 for 115 yds, 1 TD)
Receiving: WR Michael Smith, Sr (46 rec for 615 yds, 2 TD)
Tackles: LB Sio Moore, Jr (110)
Sacks: DE Jesse Joseph, Jr (7.5)
Interceptions: CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Jr; S Jerome Junior, Jr (4)
Athlon Sports: Pinstripe (vs Northwestern)
Phil Steele: Beef O'Brady (vs UCF)
Randy Edsall was the Head Coach of the UConn Huskies for 12 years and 2010 was the year that he finally took UConn to their first Big East Championship. Despite losses to Temple and 4-8 Rutgers the Huskies edged out West Virginia and Pitt and won themselves a birth in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. After the season, Randy Edsall took the Maryland job and UConn replaced him with the curious hire of Paul Pasqualoni. This year, the Huskies play a very easy out of conference schedule with their toughest games being against Iowa State and Vanderbilt. In conference UConn has four home games but they do have to play West Virginia, Pitt and Cincy on the road. UConn returns a bunch of starters but they will have to replace RB Jordan Todman and his 1,695 yards rushing. To get a local perspective on the 2011 UConn Huskies we caught up with Ian from the UConn and Boston Red Sox based blog Sox and Dawgs.
What is your take on the hiring of Paul Pasqualoni and are we going to see a different type of team than we saw under Randy Edsall?
At first I definitely had some questions about the move. But after listening to Pasqualoni talk about his plans for the team, I was sold. I think his experience in the Big East will help although it’s a different league then when he last coached. He’s promised us a different type of team in that he expects to pass the ball more. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a legitimate passing attack at UConn and right now with the quarterback situation unsettled, I’ll have to see it to believe it. It should be an interesting preseason camp but I know he’ll have these guys prepared.
RB Jordan Todman ran for almost 1,700 yards last year. How is UConn going to replace him?
Normally, I’d say we’ll just plug another running back in like we’ve done in the past. But that’s simply not the case here. We all thought Robbie Frey would be our running back this season but he decided to transfer to a school closer to home. So as of right now, it looks like it’ll be former USC Trojan D.J. Shoemate with the redshirt freshman Lyle McCombs backing him up.
Shoemate never really got going last year and had a case of the fumbles which put him on the sideline. But from what I gathered from the spring practices, he had some pretty good stuff. Hopefully, he’ll be able to build on the good spring and put together a good preseason camp before the opener.
McCombs missed a good part of the spring practice after being busted for pot. But he was impressive in the limited action he saw and could press Shoemate for the starting job. True freshman Max Delorenzo is highly touted and will look to make his mark during the preseason camp as well.
With a good portion of the offensive line back, I’m sure the holes will be there. It’s up to whomever grabs the starting nod, to make good use of them.
Who will be behind center for the Huskies when the season starts and what do they bring to the table?
Right know, the qb situation is a bit unsettled. There’s five guys right now competing for the QB1 position with each of them bringing something different to the table.
The only one with any game experience is redshirt sophomore Mike Box and that was because of injuries to Zach Frazer and Cody Endres. The problem is we never really saw his arm at that time as Edsall used more as a running quarterback. True freshman Mike Neibrich entered school in January so he was able to practice with the team and he came in highly touted. Like Box, he’s supposed to be a dual threat quarterback.
I think what happens is that Pasqualoni will probably start the qb who has the best camp and I think that ends up being Box just because of his experience. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Neibrich beats him out at some point during the season for the QB1 spot.
UConn was 7th in the Big East against the pass last year, who needs to step up this year to correct this area of opportunity?
Well I think part of why we ended up there was the fact that Edsall didn’t like to call blitzes. Opposing quarterbacks were given plenty of time to find an open receiver. That will definitely change in 2011 as we’ll see a team who takes a few more chances on defense.
Blidi-Wreh Wilson turned into a shutdown corner last year and it’lll be up to him along with Dwayne Gratz to shut down the opposing receivers. Jerome Junior also had a good 2010 and he’ll be counted on at the safety position. If the defensive line Kendall Reyes, Twyon Martin, Jesse Joseph and Trevardo Williams can put pressure on the quarterback along with Sio Moore at linebacker, it’ll make Wilson and Gratz’s jobs a heck of a lot easier. We all know the less time the quarterback has to throw the ball, the better. One thing’s for certain as of right now. The defense will have a lot of pressure on it since right now the offense isn’t exactly settled.
Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games this year?
Obviously every game is important as you want to get to that six win mark to become bowl-eligible. But as far as any game, you could certainly pick out any of the Big East games.
Sure the first five games against the non-conference opponents will get the Huskies ready for Big East play. But when you open up your Big East schedule with West Virginia, you better be 100% ready to go. And with it being in Morgantown, it definitely won’t be easy for UConn.
That game stands out as the most important one for me as it will give us a barometer of where the Huskies stand in the Big East. I fully expect them to be picked near the bottom in the preseason. So if they can go into Morgantown and pull out a win (highly unlikely at this point), it could be another special season. But if they get blown out, it could be a long season.
What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
My gut feeling on the final record to be honest with you is 7-5. There’s potential to go 9-3 but that would mean the Huskies need to go 5-0 during non-conference play and then be 4-3 in the Big East. 4-3 in the Big East is possible but with Louisville, Syracuse and Cincinnati improving, games that usually you could put in the win column might not be so easy this time around.
A successful season in my eyes is getting back to a bowl game. It’s something we’re starting to get used to up in these parts. But as I said earlier, if someone can stand out at QB and get this new pro-style offense rolling, the defense is strong enough to get them to the nine win mark. I’m hoping that happens but realistically anything better than 7-5 would be a blessing.
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