Goodbye from John Silver

John F. Silver

I am not one for goodbyes.

I find it antithetical to the role of a journalist who should be neither seen nor heard. I’ve always attempted to stay out of the story at all costs and provide balance and perspective. I’ve failed at that at times, but that’s the business.

In that sense, this is a bit of a change for me. I am leaving the Journal Inquirer, where I’ve spent the last 13 years doing everything on the sports desk, and with it this blog for SNY. To read more of this story, click here


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Camp preview: Running backs

Connecticut Huskies safety Joseph Bivona (24) tackles Connecticut Huskies running back Arkeel Newsome (22) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Connecticut Huskies running back Arkeel Newsome (22) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

Terry Caulley, Jordan Todman, Andre Dixon and Donald Brown.

UConn fans know good running backs. They’ve known elite running backs and elite run games. UConn enters camp in 2015 with the goal of getting back to that. It will be a long road, but there is talent in the locker room.

Ron Johnson, 5-11, 220-pounds, led the Huskies in rushing last year as a true freshman with 429 yards and three touchdowns. He became the starting RB at the midway point and as a big back is a favorite to handle the workload getting 20 plus carries a game.

The offense will be run based, and the Huskies are going to need to find touches for Arkeel Newsome, who at 5-7, 160-pounds is a small but game-breaking talent. Johnson is faster than you would think at his size, and Newsome, though small, has thick legs and can handle running between the tackles. It’s a good 1-2 punch that was pushed into action too early last year.

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Camp Preview: Linebackers and secondary

 East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies linebacker Graham Stewart (2) sacks UCF Knights quarterback Justin Holman (13) in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies linebacker Graham Stewart (2) sacks UCF Knights quarterback Justin Holman (13) in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

Linebacker remains  a critical component of UConn’s 3-4 defense, which is set up for the second line to make plays.

There were growing pains in year 1 of the system, as expected. But the Huskies do bring back a veteran corps of linebackers that will stabilize the defense.

Leading tackler Marquise Vann returns inside after 105 tackles a season ago. Vann is one of the more productive players in the American and is the leader of the defense. Graham Stewart also returns after 94 tackles and 10.5 for a loss. Vann and Stewart were far from perfect and have room to improve, but the base of knowledge and production are there.

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Notebook: Huskies pick up academic honors

By Carl Adamec

The 2014-15 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team made the grade off the court as well.

The national champion Huskies have been recognized with the American Athletic Conference Academic Excellence Award for women’s basketball as announced by commissioner Mike Aresco.

On Thursday, it was announced that nine of the 12 players on UConn’s 2014-15 roster — senior Kiah Stokes, juniors Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck, and Briana Pulido, sophomores Tierney Lawlor and Natalie Butler, and freshmen Courtney Ekmark, Kia Nurse, and Gabby Williams — were named to the AAC all-academic team.
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Camp Preview: Offensive line

v 1, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies running back Ron Johnson (3) drives the ball ion for a touchdown against UCF Knights linebacker Terrance Plummer (41) in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Connecticut Huskies running back Ron Johnson (3) drives the ball for a touchdown against UCF Knights linebacker Terrance Plummer (41) in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

The offensive line and the running game.

You can’t have one without the other and UConn’s 2015 season will rest on the play of the offensive line and the run game.

For the third straight year, and the third time in five seasons, UConn will have a new offensive line coach.

Mike Cummings, who served as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, will take over the offensive line duties and try and get the unit up to snuff. Head coach Bob Diaco brought in another offensive line and run game guru in Frank Verducci to be offensive coordinator.

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Camp Preview: Wide receivers and tight ends

Nov 1, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies wide receiver Noel Thomas (5) runs the ball for a touchdown against the UCF Knights in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 1, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies wide receiver Noel Thomas (5) runs the ball for a touchdown against the UCF Knights in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

 Noel Thomas had 335 yards and four TDs last season. That isn’t a lot of yards or production, but when looking at the UConn receivers coming into this season it’s hard not to notice Thomas. 

He’s the one player coming back on the 2015 that has proven explosive ability. Thomas had four touchdowns down the stretch of the season and caught 21 passes including all four TDs in a four game span late in the season. Thomas has all that you need in a deep threat with size at 6-1 and separation ability. He showed flashes late in the season going deep, and also had a touchdown by getting the ball in space and making people miss.

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Camp Preview: Defensive line

 Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Mikal Myers (92) and defensive tackle Julian Campenni (90) warm up before the start of the game against the Boise State Broncos at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Mikal Myers (92) and defensive tackle Julian Campenni (90) warm up before the start of the game against the Boise State Broncos at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

UConn NGs Julian Campenni and Mikal Myers aren’t the prototypes in a 3-4 defensive system.   

The nose should be big and massive and eat up space. At 5-11 and 6-1, Campenni and Myers the duo doesn’t have ideal height or girth.

That doesn’t make the duo any less effective. What Campenni and Myers lose in height they make up in other areas, including a low base that allows them to play bigger and strong than their size.

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