UConn Huskies spring wrap

UConn Huskies

2012 record: 5-7

2012 conference record: 2-5

Returning starters: Offense: 9; defense: 5; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

RB Lyle McCombs, QB Chandler Whitmer, LB Yawin Smallwood, S Byron Jones

Key losses

TE Ryan Griffin, LB Sio Moore, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, DE Trevardo Williams

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: McCombs*(860 yards, 6 TDs)

Passing: Whitmer* (208-of-361 for 2,664 yards, 9 TDs, 16 INTs)

Receiving: Geremy Davis* (613 yards, 1 TD)

Tackles: Smallwood* (120)

Sacks: Williams (11.5)

Interceptions: Dwayne Gratz (three)

Spring answers

1. Offense adjusts. By all accounts, the offense adjusted quite well to new offensive coordinator T.J. Weist, who is implementing a more fast-paced offense to help bump up the scoring and, in turn, some of the offensive fireworks. Weist said Whitmer showed improvement, but the entire group has a long way to go.

2. Willman at end. The Huskies have major holes to fill all over their defense. One of the biggest is at defensive end, where Trevardo Williams racked up 34 total sacks over the past two years. Tim Willman finally gets his turn in the starting lineup. He was pretty active this spring, and had two sacks in the spring game.

3. Offensive line intact. With Jimmy Bennett getting his sixth season, the Huskies should return their entire starting lineup. Given how this group played last season, is that good or bad? You have to hope that is good, because these guys can only get better, especially as they play together for another year.

Fall questions

1. Defensive playmakers. As noted above, UConn had four defensive players drafted. In addition to Williams, linebacker Moore and cornerbacks Wreh-Wilson and Gratz all went in the third round. UConn underachieved with draft picks on its roster. How will it fare with new faces stepping in?

2. Offensive playmakers. UConn has been in need of a player to really stretch the field and provide a bigger threat to help open up the offense. Deshon Foxx showed some flashes this spring. Perhaps the Huskies can rely on early enrollee Dhameer Bradley as well.

3. Running back depth. McCombs has been a workhorse back for the Huskies over the past two seasons. Will that change this season? UConn has guys like Joe Williams and Max DeLorenzo behind McCombs, but somebody has to step up to help McCombs shoulder the load.