2004 UConn Huskies Football Season Preview

<b>Key matchup(s):</b> Four of five conference contests will be carried by the ESPN network: @Boston College, Friday, Sept. 17th at 8:00 p.m. (ESPN2); <A HREF=http://pittsburgh.TheInsiders.com>Pittsburgh</A>, Thursday, Sept. 30th at 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2); vs. West <A HREF=http://virginia.TheInsiders.com>Virginia</A>, Friday, Oct. 13th at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); and, a Thanksgiving morning (Thur. Nov. 25) battle @<A HREF=http://rutgers.TheInsiders.com>Rutgers</A> at 11:00 a.m. (ESPN)

Head Coach: Randy Edsall (24-33)

Last Season's Record: 9-3 (last season as a Division I-A independent)

Last Bowl Appearance: N/A

Star Power: Dan Orlovsky, QB, Sr., 6-5, 236; Ryan Krug, OT, Sr., 6-4, 302; Maurice Lloyd, LB, Sr., 5-11, 234

Notable Additions: Daniel Davis, DE, Plainfield (NJ) HS, 6-2, 250; John Baranowsky, DE, Hargrave Military Academy (VA), 6-3, 254; Afa Anoai, DT, Fork Union Military Academy (VA), 6-1, 270; Tony Ciaravino, K, Boca Raton (FL) HS, 6-3, 215; Shane Hussar, P, American Heritage School (FL), 5-10, 185

Notable Subtractions: Shaun Feldesien, WR, led with 860 receiving yards; O'Neil Wilson, WR, nine TDs; Uyi Osunde, LB, 10 sacks; Terrence Smith, FS. 94 tackles; Adam Coles, P, all-time UConn leader

Notable Returnees: Terry Caulley, TB, Jr., 5-7, 187; Cornell Brockington, TB, Soph., 6-0, 195; Keron Henry, WR, Sr., 6-2, 220; Tyler King, DE, Sr., 6-6, 262; Alfred Fincher, LB, Sr., 6-1, 240; James Hargrave, LB, Jr., 5-11, 226; Justin Perkins, CB, Sr., 5-11, 187

09/04/04Murray State
09/17/04@Boston College
10/13/04West Virginia
11/13/04@Georgia Tech
Offensive Overview: It's the quarterback, folks! Orlovsky, one of two Big Easters on the preseason Davey O'Brien Quarterback Award watch list, became a complete player as a junior and returns for his final campaign with the second highest number of TD passes (61) among active QBs. His receiving corps will be minus last season's top two wideouts but Henry, a former QB, and junior Brandon Young, the Huskies leading kickoff returner, provide a strong nucleus for a five-deep receiving corps along with senior Matt Cutatia, junior Jason Williams and redshirt freshman Seth Fogarty. The running game's biggest question is whether or not junior Terry McCaulley, who missed the last seven games in 2003 because of a knee injury, will be able to play. If he doesn't, look for sophomore Cornell Brockington to get the most looks with senior Chris Bellamy ready to pick up any slack. Sophomore Matt Lawrence was the most improved player in the spring. Junior fullback Deon Anderson is a steady blocker who averaged over 10 yards a carry when called upon. But what rounds out this complete attack is an offensive line, which returns all but one starter. This barrier, led by Krug, an Outland Trophy candidate, and senior center Billy Irwin, a Rimington Trophy candidate, permitted just 10 sacks, the third fewest in the nation last season.

Defensive Overview: Lloyd, UConn's candidate for the Bronko Nagurski award, leads a very strong linebacking crew, the strongest component of Coach Edsall's defense. Finscher and Henry round out the starters, while junior Taurion Sowell, sophomore Darius Leak and senior Kinnan Herriott all played well last season. This group's play will be critical this season with a less experienced defensive line available. King is the sole returning starter. Two top reserves, junior Deon McPhee and sophomore Rhema Fuller will fill the tackle slots. Perkins, whose six interceptions led the Huskies, anchors the defensive backfield, one with much more depth than in previous years. The other corner spot is likely to be a battle between sophomores Allan Barnes and Ernest Cole. M.J. Estep, another soph., seems likely to inherit Smith's free safety position with senior John Fletcher returning as the strong safety. Fletcher needs to step up his game while Estep gains experience.

Special Teams Overview: In his freshman season, Matt Nuzie was a steady 47 of 49 on extra points but made only 11 of 21 field goal attempts. Ciaravino, who led Palm Beach County in field goals made last season, including six of 40 yards or longer, will likely take over that task, at least. Hussar, another freshman, will assume the punting duties. The Plantation Fla. native, whose punts averaged 40.9 yards net and 44 yards gross, also was the team's starting linebacker, a regional wrestling semifinalist and a regional finalist in the discus throw.

The Huskies, entering their first season in the Big East Conference, will get one of the league's bowl invites if... Orlovsky stays healthy, the offense produces as it did last season (477.5 yards and 34 points per game) and the defense develops into an effective outfit. UConn closed last season with five straight victories, the last two over Rutgers and Wake Forest. Coach Edsall's team, which just five seasons ago was competing in the Division I-AA A-10, has won 13 of their last 16 games. UConn moved into Rentschler Field last season and averaged 37,059 fans at the 40K facility. The Huskies have seven home contests this season.

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