Returning Starters – Offense: 6 Defense: 8
Preview: Things didn’t go well for head coach Bob Diaco in his first season at UConn as his team went just 2-10 overall. The offense for Connecticut was tough to watch at times and the team needs to find answers on this side of the ball if they’re going to show improvement in 2015. The defense was the strength of the team and with 8 returning starters this unit should be competitive again this season.
UConn had one of the least productive offenses in the nation in 2014 and as a result the coaching staff has been shuffled on this side of the ball. There is a lively battle for the starting QB job and it looks like NC State transfer Bryant Shirreffs could have the inside track at earning the job. Sherriffs is a dual threat who has also shown he can throw the deep ball effectively. The RB position is set with Johnson and Newsome back to take on larger roles. The top 2 receivers from 2014 must be replaced and this unit is led by Noel Thomas who has deep threat capability. The O-line also has to be better and they return tackles Knappe and Levy.
The Huskies have a lot coming back on defense including their top 4 tacklers from a season ago. UConn should look more comfortable in year 2 in Diaco’s 3-4 scheme especially with experience coming back on all levels of the defense. The leaders of the defense will be LBs Stewart and Vann who were consistent forces backing up the line. The D-line returns it’s top performer Julian Campenni and the secondary is in great shape with Adams and Summers back.
Prediction: A bowl bid isn’t out of the question for this squad, but it seems unlikely given a tough schedule mixed with a team that look consistently terrible in 2014 on offense. This team has the ability to be one of the better defensive teams in the AAC, but strides have to be made on offense if the win total is going to significantly increase. Perhaps focusing more on the run game mixed with leaning on the defense will lead this squad to some success.
Projected Record: 5-7 (3-4)