Will UConn football reach max-effort against Edsall, Maryland?
EAST HARTFORD: What will it take to keep the fan faithful at Rentschler Field happy tonight when the UConn Huskies take on Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins?
After the masses get the boo/cheer portion of game out of the way when Edsall is introduced, along with Huskie head coach Paul Pasqualoni, who may hear his own share of emotions from a base that is growing more impatient every week, a couple of things stick out when it comes to what will be considered a good night in East Hartford.
A better effort from an offensive line that was physically beat at the point of attack two weeks ago by a Towson team that simply dominated. The Tigers appeared to be the higher ranked team going in, not the home team.
Can the Huskies correct the mistakes they made in their opener that they have put a great deal of time trying to correct during this week’s practices?
Setting a positive tone on both sides of the ball will be critical, it will energize an UConn crowd that is itching for something to cheer about but not far removed from letting their negative feelings out as well.
Protecting quarterback Chandler Whitmer will also be key but Whitmer not remaining a stationary target is critical as well.
Pasqualoni talked early and often his quarterback’s nervous first game of 2013.
With two local QB’s in the two and two-A spot on the depth chart (Tim Boyle and Casey Cochran), Whitmer has to be feeling the pressure to awaken a UConn offense that looked very similar to the one everyone panned in 2012 as too conservative.
A ball control effort on offense will also keep Maryland’s high powered offense off the field and allow running back Lyle McCombs a chance to make things happen.
The Huskies air attack showed promise two weeks ago with a pair of touchdown catches for Shakim Phillips and a 100-yard effort from Geremy Davis in the 33-18 loss to Towson.
On the defensive side of the ball, defending against the Terrapins potent offense will take an extraordinary effort from a relatively young group.
QB C.J. Brown is healthy and a two-pronged threat to pass or run.
Wide out Stefon Diggs has simply been electrifying in his first two games of 2013 with a six catch, 179-yard effort with a score against Old Dominion last weekend.
Not giving up the big plays has been a common theme this week in Storrs and it may just determine the outcome Saturday night.
In game one, not much went right for the Huskies but it all seemed to begin with energy, or lack thereof against the Tigers.
Saturday night, the fans in The Rent will be watching closely to see if they can feel the Huskies energy in the stands.
UConn stand with a chance to take this season in one of two directions.
A re-berth against a coach that both built the program during his 12-year run here and hung them out to dry with a bad exit or another loss reminding the folks that this program is a long way from turning a corner again.