Cochran named starter, Whitmer key backup

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn. — Casey Cochran had to lose weight and prove last year wasn’t a fluke. Chandler Whitmer came back to clear his name.

UConn head coach Bob Diaco has given both players a chance to achieve their ultimate goals.

Diaco, after an 8-month long quarterback battle, named sophomore Casey Cochran his starter at quarterback for the opener on Aug. 29 at BYU. That leaves senior Chandler Whitmer the backup for the Huskies, but both figure to be a big part of the Huskies’ offense.

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McCombs enrolled at Rhode Island

John F. Silver

Former UConn running back Lyle McCombs, the fourth leading rusher in school history, has enrolled at Rhode Island and will complete his final year of eligibility in Kingston.

McCombs, who was enrolled in summer classes this month, was removed from the team in June after a confluence of events. McCombs was arrested twice in his time and was involved in several other incidents that caused the university to move on. He was scheduled to graduate from the school this summer.

McCombs will play for Jim Fleming, former UCF assistant and Sacred Heart University head coach.


 

 

AP Poll out: No American or G5 teams ranked

John F. Silver

The AP Top 25 came out and there is little surprise at the top with FSU, the reigning national champion, No. 1 in the polls.

Here’s the Top 25 and some thoughts. For comparison, here’s my Top 25 ballot in the preseason.

One thing that sticks out, after of course the dominance of the SEC, is the fact that all Top 25 preseason teams are Power 5 members. What’s going to happen is that a non-power 5 school, such as UCF out of the American, is going to have to go from preseason unranked in the polls to a major bowl berth. UCF brings back nearly everyone but QB Blake Bortles, and is the highest ranked non-P5 school just out of the Top 25 as the most receiving votes at an unofficial No. 26. If UCF can knock off Penn State in Ireland, it’s a safe bet they move into the Top 25. That’s good for the American.

It does show the hurdles of a non-P5 school however. From out of the Top 25 — unless the CFB committee just ignores the polls — it’s almost impossible to see how a non-p5 school jumps into the Top 4 and into the football playoff. For one, the Group of 5 won’t have the strength of schedule and the opportunities to really skyrocket up the standings like Auburn last year. How far could an undefeated Group of 5 team go in the poll? Top 10 seems possible. Top 5, unless it was a team with a monster non-conference schedule, doesn’t appear likely. The highest rated Group of 5 schools bear watching as the highest rated one gets that access bowl bid. As soon as a member of the Group of 5 loses, that teams chance at the CFB Playoff will fall to nearly zero.

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Mystery shrouds BYU

BYU quarterback Taysom HIll is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. Photo Credit: BYUCougars.com

John F. Silver

BYU is coming to Rentschler Field for its opener on Aug. 29.

I am sure of that.

Who plays for BYU? That’s getting a bit dicey.

There Cougars are without leading tailback in Jamaal Williams, who is suspended from the game due to a rules violation. There are other suspensions that have come out, while others may still yet to be announced. Wide receiver Devon Blackmon has been suspended for the first game for wearing earrings, a violation of BYU’s strict personal code. BYU has been mum on the matter with head coach Bronco Mendenhall brushing off disciplinary issues. Mendenhall has wanted to keep discipline internal, which makes you wonder if there are any more suspensions for the opener.

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Running backs: Going to the Max

John F. Silver

STORRS — Max DeLorenzo wants everyone to know some things.

No. 1:   He isn’t a fullback

No. 2:  He isn’t a linebacker

No. 3:  He’s a running back who can break it for a big play outside

No. 4:  He’s the only running back on the roster who has carried the ball for a touchdown.

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Davis not only WR to watch

John F. Silver

Everyone knows about Geremy Davis in the American Athletic Conference. [/sny-editorial.

Davis

When you have the size of Davis, 6-3, 217-pounds, and then the production — 71 catches, 1,085 yards — it’s hard not to notice. UConn’s offense is going to revolve around getting the ball to Davis in the passing game. He’s a big play threat and a red zone target and one of the few players on the offense that can make a play with sheer size and ability and not a designed play.

The wide receiver position is far from a one-man team. The Huskies haven’t been this deep and talented and wide receiver in quite some time and with concerns on the offensive line, running back, tight end and quarterbacks, remains the one constant on the offense.

The Huskies have depth at wide receiver. The Huskies have size at wide receiver. The Huskies have speed at wide receiver.

Davis has proven that he can produce. Now it’s time for the other receivers to step in.

Davis will command so much attention it should allow a players such as Deshon Foxx free reign on the opposite side. Foxx caught 43 passes for 534 yards last year and if you think of Davis as the physical red zone threat, Foxx is the home run threat. He’s the fastest player on the team and has worked on his craft immensely since being converted from running back three years ago.

“I want to take some pressure off (Davis),” Foxx said. “So the defense won’t be focused on Geremy and we can get him some jump balls, me some slants. We just keep working and Geremy is a great football player. “

The Huskies’ wide receiver corps also goes deep with young players.

There a host of freshmen and sophomores led by Dhameer Bradley, Noel Thomas and Brian LeMelle along with redshirt freshman Thomas Lucas.

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UConn men release non-conference schedule

John F. Silver

The UConn men’s basketball team will follow up its championship season with a non-conference schedule that will take them to Florida against the Gators, out to Texas and to New Jersey against Duke.

The full non-conference schedule can be found here.

The Huskies open the season against Bryant on Nov. 14. Highlights of the schedule include the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 20 against College of Charleston and a home game against Texas on Nov. 30. The Huskies do play Duke at the Meadowlands on Dec. 18 at the Izod Center and also play at Florida and at Stanford on Jan. 3 and Jan. 17 respectively.


 

 

 

 

Camp notes: QBs progressing, firece battles

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn. — UConn coach Bob Diaco is closer to naming a starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU.

Who it will be?

Well, he isn’t quite sure just yet. The competition is close between Casey Cochran, Tim Boyle and Chandler Whitmer. He wants to name a starter in the next week, so if someone is going to make a move, this week is the time to do it.

“No one player has clearly separated,”Diaco said during a press briefing Monday. Each one has had their moments of things that are very positive and very negative. We are pleased with all three.”

Here’s the most important quote about quarterbacks that Diaco said on Friday:

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Silver’s preseason Top 25 vote

John F. Silver

The preseason Top 25 is always hard. I think if we wanted an accurate poll, it wouldn’t happen until late September. My early polls are going to be incredibly volatile.

The top 10 or 12 is usually easy to find. At the bottom, there are teams that I think should be ranked and I put them in. Some are pet causes of teams I think are under the radar. The middle? I can’t tell you until the games are played whether it is a fair poll vote or not.  

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