(Because I'm too tired to write a 5th)
This is the doldrums of the sports season.
A month away from March Madness and college are teams slowly wading their way into conference play.
The Super Bowl is over.
Hockey isn’t in the playoffs.
And Spring Training seems like an eternity away.
I’m left to watch obscure sports, like lawn mower racing and swimming (insert Michael Phelps joke here).
So here they are:
1. Better recruits.
I hate to quote Papa John here (we hate all things Louisville) but "better ingredients, better pizza." In this case our pizza is a UCONN Football team and our ingredients are a fresh batch of recruits. Gone are the days when blown-up 1AA guys will be getting their shot to play for UCONN (I shed a tear knowing that a guy of my caliber isn't even on the radar anymore). This signing class will have a handful of top-rated guys from Rivals and ESPN (think Top 100 and 4 and 5 star recruits). This is truly the benefit of having won the Big East in 2007. There is usually a year’s delay between on-field success translating to a recruiting class that can reflect it. So pay attention, there are a lot of future stars in the 2009 signing class.
*Of special note: Martin Hyppolite who is listed as “athlete.” Likely to be used in his freshman year as just a “returner”. This strays from typical Edsall behavior. And you know what?….I dig it.
2. Introducing the spread
So there is definitely a steep learning curve, especially with offensive linemen when transitioning a new offense. However, there are two (maybe three) reasons you should be excited about this. 1. With two talented running backs the hole left by Donny Brown should be filled, especially in an offensive scheme that promises a more balanced attack (Oh…so the UCONN quarterbacks CAN throw the ball!). Second is that the most likely starter for next year at the quarterback position is Zach Frazer, who ran the spread in high school and is, according to him, “the system I’m most comfortable running.” Also keep in mind that while Zach was in high school, running such an offense, he broke every major Pennsylvania state quarterback record. In doing so he knocked off Dan Marino, Joe Montana, and Joe Namath.
3. Defense. Defense. Defense.
2008 is going to be a tough act to follow, no doubt. UCONN finished #6 in the nation in total defense. But rest easy, Todd Orlando and Hank Hughes are still at the helm. The rushing presence off the edge by (future NFL talent) Cody Brown and Julius Williams will be adequately replaced by Lindsay Witten, A.J. Portee, and Marcus Cambell. The inside will also be as stout as ever with Juniors who have some serious game experience. The defensive backfield will hold strong with Robbie Vaughn, Jasper Howard, and Reggie McClain.
4. Syracuse is still in the Big East.
No more worrying that UConn will go winless in the Big East ever again.