UCONN Football 2019 Preview

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In 2017 I called for it to be a rebuilding year and Head Coach Randy Edsall did a good job getting them to match 2016’s win total of 3. Last year they went from No. 40 on my Experience Chart down to No. 123 and may have been younger than that. Mid-year Edsall said that it was a five-year rebuild and wins were not important in that process at the expense of future growth. With no seniors and two juniors on Defense in 2018, the unit was abysmal. The schedule does get a little softer in 2019 and the Huskies move up to No. 69 on my Experience Chart. A lot of factors are pointing up this year, but UConn was No. 130 last year being outgained by 241 yards per game and outscored by 28 points per game.

Randy Edsall is in the third year of his second stint here after being the head coach in Storrs from 1999-2010. He’s led the Huskies to five bowls and was also the head coach at Maryland from 2011-15. The seventh Offensive Coordinator in seven years is Frank Giufre, who was the Offensive Line coach here last year and offensive analyst for the Indianapolis Colts from 2012-17. The new Defensive Coordinator is Lou Spanos, who was an analyst at Alabama last year, Linebacker Coach for the Tennessee Titans (2014-17), and the UCLA DC from 2012-13. Eddie Allen returns as the Special Teams Coach after holding the same title at Delaware from 2014-17.

Offense:

In 2017 I called for UConn to have its best offense of the decade (just 326 ypg previous high). They moved from Diaco’s deliberate offense to a fast paced spread, had more points after seven games than they did the entire 2016 season, and upped their average’s to 23.6 points per game and 415 yards per game. They had seven starters back in 2018 and new quarterback David Pindell led the team in rushing and passing, but the numbers slipped to 22.2 points per game and 376 yards per game. This year six starters are back, but they lose the mobile Pindell. I look for more pass yards and less rush yards. This unit has the seventh OC in seven years and the new quarterback will be a key factor in whether or not they improve, but they have a veteran offensive line and a 1,000 yard running back. I’m calling for about 25 points per game in 2019.

Defense:

In 2017 the UConn defense was bad as they allowed 519 yards and 37.9 points per game. Last year, I deemed the defense as the youngest in FBS. Just two starters returned and the two deep was dominated by freshman. The young defense turned out to be record breaking, and not in a good way. They allowed an amazing 617 yards and 50.4 points per game. Those numbers were easily dead last (#130) in FBS, but they were also just the second team since 1918 to allow 50+ points per game (1997 ULL). Naturally, the unit returns almost in tact and is bigger, stronger, faster, a year older, and now has experience. This is not the 1985 Bears, but new DC Spanos will look good at the end of the year as they’ll be improved with 10 starters back.

Prediction:

UConn does have tough matchups in AAC play, but they have some very winnable games. The safe bet is saying they’ll at least double last years win total and get two wins. The over/under win total for UConn in 2019 is 2.5. I’m going to give a bold prediction and say the Huskies will go 4-8 overall and 1-7 in ACC play.

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