2012 record: 4-7
2012 conference record: 2-5
Returning starters: Offense: 8; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 0
2012 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Harris (1,054 yards, 12 TDs)
Passing: Coyer* (84-of-164 for 946 yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs)
Receiving: Fitzpatrick* (363 yards, 2 TDs)
Tackles: Matakevich* (101)
Sacks: John Youboty (five)
Interceptions: Tavon Young (four)
1. Connor Reilly at QB. Reilly was at the bottom of the depth chart when spring practice began but he made his way all the way to the top by the end of spring. His strong arm and ability to run the pro-style spread gives coach Matt Rhule a chance to open up the passing game this fall.
2. The offensive line. This was one of the most inexperienced groups in the entire conference last year, but that won’t be the case this year. The Owls did some shuffling this spring, and have a nice mix of returning starters and new faces. The newest of all -- Cody Booth, transitioning from tight end to tackle. Veteran Sean Boyle could be back as well after spending the spring rehabbing from a shoulder injury.
3. Matakevich’s growth. The Owls return Big East Freshman of the Year Tyler Matakevich at linebacker, so Rhule knows he has some talent to build around. Matakevich led all players with nine solo tackles in the spring game and looks to continue in his development this year.
1. Running backs. This remains an area of concern following the dual losses of Montel Harris and Matt Brown. Kenny Harper, Jamie Gilmore and Avery Williams are the top three players on the depth chart, as this seems like a position where a true freshman can come in and play right away.
2. Secondary. Both safety positions are going to feature new starters. At the top of the spring depth chart at one of those spots is early enrollee Jihaad Pretlow, a true freshman. There are some experienced players returning in the secondary but depth has to be built here.
3. Defensive line. This is another area where the Owls largely underachieved last year. Both starting defensive ends are gone, and guys like Levi Brown and Sean Daniels need to step up and be dominating up front. Depth has to be built here as well.