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Highlights from Newport and the AAC Media Outing.

POSTED August 04, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND: The ball is in red-shirt freshman Bryant Stirreffs hands right now as the leading candidate to find himself under center when the UConn Huskies football team kicks off their 2015 campaign on Thursday, September 3 against Villanova.

"During the spring," UConn head coach Bob Diaco said, "Stirreffs separated himself as the leader at the quarterback position."

The 6'2, 220 transfer from North Carolina State sat out last year but had a terrific spring, including his performance in the Blue/White spring game.

On Tuesday at the American Athletic Conference Media Day Outing in Newport, Diaco told the gathered media that he would be making his final decision on who would start at center in September, two weeks before game one.

The Huskies come off a 2-10 campaign a year ago and return but 13 starters, seven on the defense.

.....Diaco was asked to better explain the "Civil Conflict" that caused a stir in the spring when the conflict was news to the University of Central Florida.

"Coach O'Leary runs the kind of program I would love to run," Diaco said. "I meant it with respect towards the kind of program he runs."

To his credit, O'Learly told the gathered media that he understood what Diaco was looking to do but wanted to make sure the Huskies brought the trophy with them when they head to Florida on Saturday, October 10.

....Diaco told reporters during the break-out session that "the expectation is to win every football game."

Andrew Adams and Andreas Knappe made the trip to Rhode Island on Tuesday.

Adams, a red shirt senior, had 65 unassisted tackles a year ago and was part of 96 overall.

Knappe is on the Pre-Season Watch List for the Wuerffel Trophy and is also in the running for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

....Ansonia graduate Arkeel Newsome, now in his sophomore year at UConn, is listed as the fourth running back on the depth chart and number one on the kick-off and punt return teams.

Newsome led the Huskies in all-purpose yardage a year ago with 1073, an 89.9 yard per game average.

Ron Johnson (429), Max DeLorenzo (343) and Newsome (188) lead the running backs who return from last year but Josh Marriner had good moments a year ago and may see more time in 2015.

....While Shirreffs is listed number one on the depth chart, Tim Boyle is thought to not be far behind as camp sets to open this Thursday in Storrs.

Wide receiver will be an area where someone is going to need to step up after the loss of Geremy Davis and Deshon Foxx.

Noel Thomas and Thomas Lucas will be battling for one spot while Dhameer Bradley and Brian Lemelle look to separate themselves for the other spot.

....Graham Stuart leads a strong returning linebacker unit, along with Marquise Vann, Junior Joseph and Vontae Diggs.

Andrews Adams and Obi Melifonwu are the returning starters in the defensive back field.

....Justin Wain had a strong season a year ago in the punting game while Bobby Puyol returns to handle the punting.

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