Spring superlatives: Connecticut

We're looking at each Big East team and analyzing which position groups are the strongest and weakest this spring (and this spring only). Up next: Connecticut.

Strongest position: Defensive line

Key returnees: Jesse Joseph, Kendall Reyes, Twyon Martin, Trevardo Williams, Shamar Stephen

Key departure: None

The skinny: UConn went into 2010 with a very young defensive front. The great news for the Huskies is that those guys played very well last season, and now they're all a year older. Every member of the two deep is back except for backup tackle Alex Polito, who had only 12 tackles a year ago. Joseph and Reyes were dominant at the end of 2010 and could be first team All-Big East caliber performers this season. Paul Pasqualoni has a lot to work with on defense, especially in the trenches.

Weakest position: Running back

Key returnees: D.J. Shoemate, Martin Hyppolite

Key departures: Jordan Todman, Robbie Frey, Anthony Sherman

The skinny: Losing Todman, the Big East offensive player of the year, would have hurt in its own right. But then Frey, who seemed ready to succeed him, decided to transfer to a lower level and focus on academics. Sherman should find a spot on an NFL roster as a fullback. The only guys this spring available at running back are Shoemate, the USC transfer who quickly took up residence in former coach Randy Edsall's doghouse last year for fumbling, and Hyppolite, who has all of three career carries. Shoemate will try to establish himself as an every-down tailback with the new regime. Lyle McCombs could help if/when his suspension is lifted, as could Jonathan Jean-Louis when he recovers from injury. Other than that, the Huskies will have to wait until this summer for reinforcements.