Joe D’s Notebook: USF Preview – Part 1

David Bowie made a hit out of the song “Changes” in 1972. Randy Edsall made changes after week one of the UConn Football season after Thursday’s narrow win against Holy Cross.

The biggest change comes at quarterback where Bryant Shirreffs rescued a slumbering UConn offense by leading the Huskies to three second half touchdowns to rally UConn from a 20-7 deficit.  Edsall said the fifth year senior was ready to do his job and ran the offense the way the coaches wanted. He looked confident when he relieved David Pindell and today said he “loves” this offense. Bryant admitted that it wasn’t easy to prepare as a starter after he lost the quarterback competition during camp but he made a commitment to be ready…And he was and so he will get career start #22 on Saturday against a USF team that really beat him up a year ago in Tampa.

The running back position is listed as either Arkeel Newsome  or Nate Hopkins. Hopkins ran for 130 yards and 3 scores on Thursday while Newsome struggled in the run game though Edsall said today it wasn’t all his fault. I would expect to see both play and whichever back is more effective will see the bulk of the time.

On defense, Marshe Terry has replaced Brice McAllister at one of the defensive back spots. Terry played aggressively on Thursday and has good speed. Cam Stapleton and Chris Britton as listed as starters at one linebacker spot. I thought Stapleton played well against the Crusaders. Vontae Diggs is listed as the starter at one linebacker after missing the opener with a knee injury and Junior Joseph is listed as the starting middle linebacker despite having to leave with a third quarter shoulder injury vs Holy Cross. Both practiced on Tuesday and having them against USF is vital.

And Edsall says his decision to start Brett Graham at punter was made easy when his competition, Nick Magliozzi dropped the snap on his one punt attempt in warmups. Graham kicked well enough to earn a game ball.

There are no changes on the offensive line but Edsall said they were inconsistent. They have to be more physical, be conscious of their techniques and have to get a whole lot better.

Ok, Thursday, I’ll preview USF, the conference pre season favorite.

Don’t forget our coaches show is at 6 on Wednesday at Grille 86 in Storrs Center. The coach and two student athletes will join me!  Hope you do too!

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