Todman looks to carry bigger load for Huskies

STORRS, Conn. -- Jordan Todman rushed for 1,188 yards last season, good for third best in the Big East. Imagine what he could have done if he weren't in a platoon situation.

Todman certainly has.

"The more opportunities you get, the more yards you get," the Connecticut Huskies tailback said. "I definitely feel like with more opportunities, I probably would have had a better season."

Todman formed a terrific one-two punch with Andre Dixon last year. Both topped 1,000 yards, with Dixon adding a little more power to contrast Todman's speed. Dixon actually had four more carries (239 to 235) than Todman did.

Huskies coach Randy Edsall isn't sure yet whether he'll go to another combo platter at halfback now that Dixon graduated. It remains to be seen whether a young player like Meme Wylie, who's been impressive in spring practice, or converted defensive back Jonathan Jean-Louis can emerge as a complementary runner to Todman. Robbie Frey will make his case this summer when he recovers from shoulder surgery.

One thing's for sure: UConn is going to run the ball as its first priority, and whoever gets the carries will have ample opportunities for success behind an excellent offensive line. Todman is willing to share duties again, but he wouldn't mind becoming more of a workhorse back as well.

That was one of the questions about him early in his career, whether he was sturdy enough to be an every-down player. He has continually put on weight, though, and hopes to be about 205 pounds at the start of his junior year. He checked in at about 190 last season.

"I have confidence in myself and I have the heart, so I won't take myself out if I'm tired," he said. "I've worked hard to make sure I'm in shape at all times.

"I'm not content or happy just saying I'm an every-down back. I have to go out there and show everybody, show myself. That's the only way to do it, to continue going, going, going."

Whatever the shape of his role, Todman figures to be very valuable to the Huskies this season. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he also returns kicks, memorably bringing one back 96 yards for a score in the win over Notre Dame last season.

Overall, he touched the ball 276 times in 2009. With more opportunities this year, who knows what kind of numbers he might put up?