It is time to take a last look back at how each Big East team fared in 2011 with season-ending report cards.
Next up: UConn
Offense: The Huskies took a major tumble this season, ranking No. 8 in the league in total offense, No. 7 in rushing offense, No. 6 in sacks against and No. 5 in scoring offense. Last season, they ranked in the top 5 in all four categories. The number that truly pops out at me is this one: the Huskies averaged 4.6 yards a play this season to rank No. 112 in the nation. The major problems have been well-documented: no true starting quarterback, and an offensive line that was shuffled plenty and simply way too inconsistent. The previous season, the Huskies gave up 15 sacks; this season the number skyrocketed to 41. You can put some of the blame on Johnny McEntee and his inability to get rid of the football, but there is no doubt the offensive line took a step back. It was hard for anybody to emerge at receiver given what was happening at quarterback. At least freshman Lyle McCombs emerged as a bright spot in an otherwise dismal campaign.
Defense: The defense was a mixed bag. The front seven played really well at times -- the Huskies ranked No. 1 in the Big East and No. 3 in the nation in rushing defense; Trevardo Williams led the league with 12.5 sacks; and they increased their sack total over last season by eight. The big problem was the secondary, which partly contributes to why UConn ranks so highly on run defense. Teams just passed at will on this team, especially once cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson went out with a knee injury. The pass defense was a problem last season, and it was an even bigger one this year, as the Huskies gave up an average of 281 yards a game to rank No. 113 in the nation. It's really hard to overlook that stat when handing out a grade.
Overall: You have to say UConn took a step back because it finished with a losing record for the first time since 2006. A transition to a new head coach and new schemes on offense and defense meant an expected rough patch. Factor in no development or improvement at quarterback, and you get a 5-7 record. The Huskies were close in several early games against Iowa State, Vanderbilt and Western Michigan. Wins in any of those would have gotten them back to a bowl game. But they blew fourth quarter leads in each and only beat one team with a winning record this season. To me, a .500 season equates a C, so the Huskies have to drop a notch below that.