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Pasqualoni Makes Whitmer His Man at Uconn Heading In To 2013 Season

Posted by Blake Frazier on 6/25/2013 7:38:47 PM

The Connecticut Huskies have been a program in transition through head coach Paul Pasqualoni’s first two seasons, recording consecutive 5-7 seasons. The mood will be a lot different heading in to year three for this coaching staff, as there is a sense of urgency to produce a better online sports betting record now. Only two teams scored fewer touchdowns than the 24 that UCONN scored a year ago, and the offense must take off in order for the Huskies to have any shot at finishing .500 or higher this season.

OFFENSE

2013 will mark the first time since Pasqualoni took over that there is a starting quarterback in place for Connecticut heading in to the year, as junior Chandler Whitmer has been entrusted with the starting duties. Whitmer finished last season with 2,664 passing yards and nine touchdowns, showing enough improvement throughout the year to convince Pasqualoni that he is the man for the job. However, Whitmer also threw 16 interceptions, and cutting down the turnovers will be key to steadily improving this coming year. Junior running back Lyle McCombs slowed down a bit last season after rushing for 1,151 yards as a Freshman All-American, but he still has 2,011 yards over two seasons and could return to form with more room to operate as the passing game improves. Geremy Davis and Shakim Phillips were the Huskies’ top two receivers a year ago, and will both be back in the fold. UCONN fell to 110th in total offense last season, but the offensive line should be better and it will be on Whitmer to help provide the spark this group so sorely needs.

DEFENSE

The defense was not a problem in 2012, ranking ninth nationally in total defense by allowing just 309.9 yards per sports betting contest. However, six starters are gone from last year’s team, including linebackers Sio Moore and Jory Johnson, who will be tough to replace. UCONN also lost defensive end Trevardo Williams, who had 11.5 sacks, and will need players to step up and replace that production along the line. The Huskies did bring in two transfers at linebacker in Ryan Donohue and Graham Stewart, and the secondary is deep with experience both at safety and corner, but ultimately this unit’s success will be measured in production and last year’s numbers will be hard to match.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker Chad Christen hit 14-of-21 field goals but had offseason hip surgery and that could mean Bobby Puyol getting more work or even taking over the starting job. Punter Cole Wagner is in his third season, and is solid, while Taylor Mack is in line to take over the kick return duties after Nick Williams moved on in the offseason.

2013 OUTLOOK

The Huskies appear to be on the right track and should benefit from having Whitmer locked in from the outset, but the schedule is incredibly tough and that could pose problems for a coaching staff that could have a very short leash. Home games against Michigan, Rutgers, and Louisville will be hard to navigate, especially with the projected drop off on defense after losing so many quality pieces. There are sure to be online sportsbook match ups where UCONN stumbles, and whether or not the offense can help make up for some of the defensive weaknesses will go a long way in determining how this season plays out in the end.

2013 PREDICTED FINISH: 4-8; 7th in AAC

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