UConn has been off since Nov. 12 when it was blanked by Pittsburgh 24-0 and dropped its fourth consecutive game after starting the season 4-1. Junior Matt Bonislawski returned for the game against the Panthers, bringing a mature and confident presence to the huddle, though his poise alone wasn't enough to prevent a shutout.
Not only has Bonislawski had some extra time to let his collarbone strengthen after breaking it on Oct. 7 against Syracuse and missing three games, but a couple other key players are probable to return to the lineup Saturday.
Edsall said Tuesday that middle linebacker Taurien Sowell and fullback Lou Allen would play against South Florida if they show they can make it through practice this week looking physically fit. Sowell suffered a high ankle sprain against Cincinnati on Oct. 15, while Allen broke a finger against West Virginia on Nov. 2.
Captain Deon McPhee, for one, can't wait to have Sowell, who happens to be his roommate, back in the lineup.
"It's going to be good to have the quarterback of the defense back," McPhee said. "He can get guys where they need to be before the snap, and that's important."
Sowell took over for the graduated Alfred Fincher and had 31 tackles in six games before going down in the 28-17 loss at Cincinnati. Edsall thought the senior's career in a Husky uniform might be over because of the extensive damage done to the ankle, but Sowell has come on strong recently.
"He's another experienced guy to make plays and provide leadership for our defense," Edsall said.
Allen would bring some much-needed depth to the backfield, where Terry Caulley and Cornell Brockington shouldered the load against Pitt. Allen has rushed for 259 yards and two touchdowns in eight games.