Three Keys If UConn Plans on Beating North Carolina

Daniel DinunzioAnalyst ISeptember 9, 2009

EAST HARTFORD, CT - DECEMBER 06:  Donald Brown #34 of the Connecticut Huskies carries the ball in the second half against the Pittsburgh Panthers on December 6, 2008 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Panthers defeated the Huskies 34-10.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Connecticut Huskies sure have their work cut out for them when they take the field Saturday at Noon for the home opener of the 2009 season. Coming to town is 19-ranked North Carolina, who is coming off a 40-6 thumping of The Citadel.

UConn certainly made some mistakes against Ohio, and if they continue to repeat those mistakes, Saturday could be a long game for them. Then again, the coaches saw the film and know what they need to correct to be successful against a talented Tar Heels team.

Randy Edsall wasn't a happy coach after beating Ohio 23-16 Saturday night. He had every right to be upset with some areas of his football team. He has been around long enough to know how to address a problem quick and fix it. That is why there is a lot of excitement surrounding this weekends game.

North Carolina is a strong team, but this game is certainly winnable for the Huskies as long as they successfully complete the game plan. It certainly plays into the Huskies favor that this game is at home. Last year UConn struggled when they faced North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

There are three major objectives that if UConn can accomplish they have a strong chance of winning this game. Obviously to pull out a W in this game, it is going to have to be a lot better then it was against Ohio.

3. The Huskies are going to need to put pressure on the quarterback T.J. Yates.  Lindsey Witten has a superb game last week with three sacks and safety. There's going to need to be just as much if not more pressure up the middle against North Carolina.  Look for defensive tackle Kendall Reyes to anchor the defensive line.  He has the size and strength to get to Yates any play he drops back to pass.

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2. The pass coverage for the Huskies needs to be significantly improved from where it was against Ohio. Redshirt freshman Jerome Junior needs to just be himself out on the field. Last week, he was lost in coverage and that led to easy touchdowns for Ohio.  He's got the talent to succeed at his position all he needs to do is put that to work.

Senior leader of the secondary Robert Vaughn needs to be a leader on the field. He was a second team All Big East selection last season and now is when they need to his playmaking ability the most. The Huskies need their secondary to give its all on Saturday if the Huskies plan on being in the game.

1. The Huskies need to continue to the dominant running duo of Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon.  If the Huskies get the same kind of production as they did last week out of the backfield, they will be right in it at the end.

Just as important as the backfield is the offensive line. They are the ones opening up the holes for Dixon and Todman to run through.  Mike Hicks and Moe Petraus have continued to win the battle at the line of scrimmage time after time.

Lastly, and maybe the most important is the decision-making of quarterback Zach Frazer. He had an inconsistent game Saturday where he made some poor decisions.  Those same mistakes can't be made against North Carolina if UConn expects to win.

Yes, the wide receivers need to do a better job of securing the football but it is Frazer who's throwing the football.  Dwifton, Kanuch, and Moore all need to make sure they are timing their routes right and finding the right places in the open field.

This might be UConn's toughest opponent all year. North Carolina and its coach Butch Davis had built a quality football team. Then again so has Randy Edsall and his Connecticut football team. Looks like this one is going to be settled on the gridiron come Saturday afternoon.