#101 Connecticut Football 2012 Preview

Connecticut Huskies

2012 Overall Rank # 101
# 8 Big East Conference

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The Huskies had a rough 2011 campaign, compiling a mediocre 5-7 record. They participated in many close games but were unable to come out on top the majority of the time. This upcoming season they will look to rebound by building on their strengths and shoring up their weaknesses and shortcomings from last season.

2011 Record: (5-7, 3-4)
2011 Bowl:  None
Coach: Paul Pasqualoni (5-7 at Connecticut, 107-59-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: George DeLeone
Defensive Coordinator: Don Brown

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Lyle McCombs, RB, 1,244 yards
Passing: Johnny McEntee, QB, 2,110 yards
Receiving:  Ryan Griffin, TE, 499 yards
Tackles: Jory Johnson, LB, 45
Sacks: Trevardo Williams, DL, 12.5
Interceptions: Sio Moore, LB, 3; Ty-Meer Brown, DB; 3 Dwayne Gratz, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees: QB Scott McCummings, DL Ted Jennings, LB Yawin Smallwood

Key Losses:  WR Isiah Moore, WR Kashif Moore, DL Kendall Reyes

The Huskies record may not have been pretty, but do not blame their defense, which boasted the number four rushing defense in the nation. Their defensive line may have lost Kendall Reyes, but they retained many of their key players.  Additionally, their attacking and athletic linebackers in Jory Johnson and Sio Moore return. These two are tackling machines and make plays in the backfield on a consistent basis.  This front seven was one of the best in the Big East a season ago and that should translate into the upcoming season as well. Teams will not want to run the ball against this stingy unit.
On the flip side, their running game struggled a season ago. However their main running back was Lyle McCombs, who was just a freshman. He should be greatly improved and that, combined with the dual threat quarterback Scott McCummings, should help turn this once stagnant running game around.

The Huskies could not move the ball down the field last year. Their passing attack ranked 84th in the nation and losing their top two receivers will not help matters in 2012. Their struggles stem from their inability to find a true quarterback. Their passing offense will rely heavily on the development of their two potential signal callers, Scott McCummings and the incumbent starter, Johnny McEntee. Their offensive line did not help matters either, surrendering a whopping 3.42 sacks per contest.
Not only were the Huskies unable to strike fear into opponents secondary, but their secondary was unable to combat opponents aerial assaults. Their passing defense was one of the worst units in the nation, ranking 113th. They are returning many starters from this unit so it should not be as porous, but it still appears to be a below average pass defense.

The Bottom Line:
Much of the 2012 season will depend on how much growth the Huskies have had during the offseason. They are returning many key starters who were very young a season ago. It is imperative that the Huskies offensive line plays better this season, which would allow for offensive growth. The defense, although great against the run and making plays behind the line of scrimmage, gave up way too many points in the passing game, resulting in a high number of points allowed. Reigniting the offense and patching up holes in the secondary will be an offseason key for Connecticut. If they are able to do so they should have some success in 2012. The Huskies once again will not be feared by opponents, but are a team that cannot be taken lightly. We all know that anything can happen in the Big East and the Huskies could be a potential wild card in the conference race.

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 118.5 (97 in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 194.67 (84, 8)
Total Offense: 313.17 (108, 8)
Scoring Offense: 24.25 (82, 5)
Rushing Defense: 85.67 (4, 1)
Pass Defense: 281.00 (113, 8)
Total Defense: 366.67 (51, 7)
Scoring Defense: 24.33 (50, 6)
Turnover Margin: .23 (47, 5)
Sacks: 2.85 (10, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (54, 5)