Can Whitmer make a big jump?

John F. Silver

UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer showed a lot of good in his first year as quarterback.

He threw for 2,664 yards, nine touchdowns and had the most productive and consistent yardage for a UConn quarterback for an entire season in nearly a decade.

There was a downside to Whitmer’s play however. He had 16 interceptions and also had several key fumbles that cost UConn games.

Turnovers were a big part of the 2012 season’s 5-7 record as the Huskies were 110th in the nation in turnover margin.

The question for the 2013 season is whether the Huskies can limit those mistakes this year.

To say limiting turnovers is a point of emphasis this season is an understatement. After a couple of interceptions at an open practice head coach Paul Pasqualoni addressed the issue.

Connecticut quarterback Chandler Whitmer looks downfield during Saturday's Blue and White Spring Game at Rentschler Field.

Connecticut quarterback Chandler Whitmer looks downfield during the Blue and White Spring Game at Rentschler Field in May.

“I am concerned no matter what. You turn the ball over, I am concerned,” Pasqualoni said. “We will go in and watch the film and get it corrected. We got to do a better job taking care of the ball than we did in the red zone (during practice.”

Whitmer and quarterbacks coach Shane Day have talked extensively about the turnover problems last year. That’s been all the talk in the offseason and now fall camp.

Day’s optimistic. Whitmer was in his first year at quarterback last year and breaking in a new offense is never easy with a quarterback at any level.

“We want to limit the turnovers. That’s what we talk about in our room, and our No. 1 goal,” Day said. “The key thing with Chandler, people don’t understand this, but when you go into the offense your first year you have to learn stuff on the run. I can talk about not throwing interceptions, but you can’t give them all the looks that will come up. It’s been my experience that if they are doing right things with eyes and their fundamentals, that second year they make a big jump.”

Day is expecting a big jump in Whitmer’s play this season and also was encouraged by the progress of Whitmer last year. Early in the season, as with the UMass interception in the opener (video above), the decisions were poor. That improved as the season went on.

“Early on, the interception he threw on the sideline — the one against UMass — that’s just a boneheaded mistake,” Day said. “We had our freshman do that now. As the season went on, the mistakes and turnovers were more freak in nature than decision-making. Early on, no doubt it was decision making. I think as year went on he matured and progressed like we would like him to.”

The Huskies have a long way to go on offense. It starts with Whitmer’s improved play this year.

 

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