Surely the University of Connecticut gained much needed respect in the 2009-10 season. Even after a tragic loss of corner back Jasper Howard, the Huskies were still able to pull a miraculous upset over Notre Dame in South Bend and win the Papajohns.com Bowl (Now known as the Birmingham Bowl) against South Carolina. Now that the team is (almost) recovered from the death of Howard, the Huskies can focus on having what many believe will be a promising season. None the less, there are still 5 questions I have regarding this upcoming season.
1. What Zach Frazer Will Show Up To Play?
The most inconsistent player of the 2009-10 team, at least on the offensive side of the ball, had to be Zach Frazer. Many fans were happy when he went down with an injury during the North Carolina game. I ,for one, (being a die hard Connecticut fan) was actually excited because I believed Cody Endres was the better Quarterback. However after Endres went down with a season ending injury, Frazer had to come back and prove why he was the starter entering the season, as well as the highly regarded recruit Notre Dame saw in him.
In the wake of Jasper Howard's death, Frazer and the Huskies opened up a coveted passing attack, driven by the hands of walk on Marcus Easley. For the time being, he had gained back the respect of the UConn fans after winning the thriller at South Bend and the Papajohns.com bowl. Coming into practice, many fans wondered what Frazer would be running the offense. In spring practice, many were stunned to see him throw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in limited snaps. Zach could be turning out to be that High School Player of the Year. Now that Cody Endres is suspended indefinitely, Frazer is the sure starter for opening day. So now there is only one question entering the season: Are we going to see the High School Player of the Year, or are we going to see the "old" Zach?
2) How will USC transfer DJ Shoemate Impact Jordan Todman's touches?
The Huskies got their first 5 star recruit, however not in the way one would think. DJ Shoemate, a former USC Trojan, transfered from USC to the Huskies, thus being UConn's first 5 star recruit. At USC, Shoemate played Wide Reciever and Fullback, but at Storrs it is believed that Shoemate will be the second string running back. That brings up an interesting question: How will this affect starter Jordan Todman? Todman was a part of a two back system last year, with both him and Andre Dixon gaining 1,000 yards rushing.
Exit Dixon, enter Shoemate.
Will the Huskies treat Shoemate and Todman like they did Dixon and Todman? That is the big question in the running back position.
3) Will Randy Edsall Stay at UConn?
This seems to be a question coming into every season for the past few years, but how could it not be? Randy Edsall is becoming one of the most sought after coaches in the NCAA. Edsall received offers from Syracuse, Buffalo and more in the past two seasons, as well as being rumored to become the newest Notre Dame coach.
However, after all was said and done, Edsall stayed with the True Blue.
Even thought it doesn't look like Edsall will be going anywhere any time soon, there is always a cause for concern. If Michigan cuts ties with Rich Rodriguez, could Edsall decline another contract from a prestigious school? Depending on how some of the top schools do this year, don't be surprised to see Edsall's name pop up in the coaching rumors.
4) Can the Huskies Become a Legitimate Contender?
Of the 12 years coaching at UConn, Randy Edsall has not had a team as experienced and good as his current squad. With 16 returning starters all together, this has to be the best team that Edsall has coached to date. With a dynamic running back, solid defense, and promising quarterback, many believe this will be the year UConn becomes a legitimate contender for the Big East title, and maybe a BCS Bowl. Sports Illustrated has the Huskies going 9-3 on the year, and finishing tied for 3rd in the Big East. Many sites suggest better. Rivals.com has UConn as the #20 team in the nation.
There is no hiding the dark horse of the Big East.
The die hard Huskies fans have been waiting for the day that UConn is considered a legit threat in the Big East. Just last year, the Huskies could have gone undefeated by means of only a few points. This year could be no different. With a solid team, great coach and awesome fans, the Huskies could become the contender fans dream of.
5) Can UConn Start The Season On A High Note Against Michigan?
When it comes to UConn vs. Michigan on September 4th, most sports stations are focusing on Rich Rodriguez. Rich is on the hot seat after violations and 2 shaky seasons so far with the Wolverines. They say that if Rich does not win at home against Connecticut, his job could be as well as finished. They also care about the quarterback situation. Who will start, Tate Forcier or Denard "Shoelace" Robinson? My question is, what about the Huskies? UConn has never defeated Rodriguez or his option offense. It scared them when he was at West Virginia, and are concerned going into this opener. So why is it all about Rich again? He has had success before you know.
Is it because UConn is the stronger team entering? Possibly.
If the Huskies can begin with a win against the Wolverines, it could mean big things for the season, and small things for the Rodriguez era. The Huskies must go into the Big House with same attitude they had vs. Notre Dame, block out the crowd and focus on winning.
It will definitely be an exciting year for Connecticut Football