UConn looks to take advantage of second chance versus USF on Saturday
Storrs: In less than 24-hours, the UConn football team will get their first and last chance to start over when they host the University of South at Rentschler Field at noon in the American Athletic Conference Game of The Week.
For the better part of the last two weeks, we have heard a lot about the Huskies needing to take advantage of this fresh starts, which marks the opening of conference play after their 0-4 start.
There's a new coach in T.J. Weist and a new quarterback in Tim Boyle and the normal buzz that goes along with all of that.
But the real questions will be answered on the field against a Bulls team that comes in 1-4 after getting their first win a week ago and looking to get themselves on a roll.
Will the offensive line, much maligned all season, be able to open holes for running backs Lyle McCombs and company or will the team remain one dimensional?
How will Boyle respond to the kind of pressure that can't be duplicated in any practice environment but only in the fast paced action on the field.
Boyle comes from a winning program in Xavier of Middletown, a team he led to three straight Class LL State Championships with high expectations that he can start to fulfill on Saturday in front of a crowd just dying to have something to scream about.
Duplicating the extraordinary scene that was the Michigan game before the Buffalo disaster will not be easy and the Huskies understand they will have to earn it.
Injuries continue to be a concern for UConn, who will still be without wide-out Shakim Phillips who has a balky hamstring that still limits his explosiveness on cuts but is getting closer.
A big part of the offensive line, Kevin Friend, remains doubtful for Saturday and his return is being looked at as a very important one for a line that has lacked a cohesiveness.
Steve Greene, another important part of the line, hopes a scaled back blocking scheme will help the line get back to the basics.
"It's time to get back to winning the one on one battles on the line," Greene said on Tuesday. "Just beat the guy in front of you and let the backs get through."
NOTES: The teams have split their previous 10 meetings with USF winning last year by a 13-6 score.
UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood continues to shine on the national stage, averaging nearly 14 tackles per game, second in the country.
Geremy Davis had his second 100 plus yard game against Buffalo and had become the number one target of Chandler Whitmer, who drops to the number two spot on the QB depth chart.
Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater remain the top dogs in the AAC with a 5-0 overall record.
Houston is next at 4-0.