John F. Silver
The Huskies host Towson on Thursday in the season opener and the Rob Ambrose led Towson squad certainly has Pasqualoni’s attention. Towson is hardly Maine or a UMass team in transition. Towson is a Top 25 caliber FCS program and the Colonial Athletic Conference plays terrific football. There is of course the James Madison upset of Virginia Tech three years ago in Blacksburg as well as this same Towson team giving LSU fits in Baton Rogue last season before falling 38-22.
Towson was 7-4 and 6-2 in the CAA last year and was ranked 11th in the nation in the FCS. They return 15 starters, eight on offense and seven on defense.
“Someone in this league beats a I-A opponent every year,” Pasqualoni said Sunday during his weekly press conference. “James Madison’s beaten Virginia Tech… I don’t think there is much difference. This team and healthy and has guys and they can play with anyone.”
Towson recently named quarterback Peter Athens the starter but UConn is preparing to also see Connor Frazier, a running threat that will give UConn problems. The offensive line returns four starters from last season and Pasqualoni feels the running game with Tigers’ Terrance West is formidable. West rushed for 1,051 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and has 43 career touchdowns. The Tigers are very much a running and then play-action passing team that is familiar to UConn fans. Ambrose of course, served as UConn offensive coordinator under Randy Edsall for three years and spent seven years on staff with Edsall at UConn.
The wideouts for the Huskies should be familiar with former UConn recruit Leon Kinnard the starter. Kinnard left UConn as a sophomore and also doubles as a kick returner.
What concerns Pasqualoni?
“There run game with tailback kid West and an outstanding offensive line,” Pasqualoni said. “They have two really good tackles, the center is a very good player, their offense line is very good. Tight end concerns me and he can get down the field vertically in the seams very well.”
Defensively, the Tigers’ top two three tacklers return with Tye Smith, Mone Gaddis and Bryton Barr with 75, 74 and 74 respectively. Corner Jordan Love, a transfer from Georgia, is questionable for Thursday’s game.
Adams on the shelf, Captains named
Pasqualoni was in game mode this week trying to piece together a chaotic week with a THursday game and classes starting on Monday. Pasqualoni’s wide-ranging press conference t and talked about the roster, depth chart, other players and ultimately what the team needs to succeed.
The key news from Sunday’s press conference was that safety Andrew Adams shoulder injury is serious. He underwent surgery recently and will be out a minimum of two months.
Next player up is Obi Melinfonwu, a terrific athletic specimen at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds. I’ve never seen a safety the size of Melinfonwu, and the fact he can play the position is a testament to his athleticism.
The news is better on the Sean McQuillan front. McQuillan is back at practice and Pasqualoni is hopeful he will be cleared to play on Thursday.
The Huskies also named captains with junior linebacker Yawin Smallwood and senior defensive tackle Shamer Stephen and guard Steve Greene captains for the 2013 season.