I have to admit I’ve been curious what Coach P and DeLeone would be doing with the UConn offense… I mean it’s been seven years since their final season at SU, they had to pick up a few new things along the way, right?
Well, not so much. I expected them to stay mostly with what they used to do at Syracuse, but not this much. It’s the same offense Perry Patterson ran in 2004. Carbon copy.
A lot of double tight end sets. TONS of runs up the middle. Well, let me qualify that. If they line up dbl tight, I formation, they run it right up the gut. If they line up dbl tight, ace back formation, they run the ball off tackle. Occasionally they’ll line up in the shotgun and throw. Or run a draw.
UConn is also rotating three qbs – whether this is an evaluation thing to find out who starts next week against Iowa State or this is going to be standard operating procedure I don't know. The passing game is not looking too sharp. Many of the passes have been knuckle balls.
They do have a running quarterback that they like to put in the shotgun and run… you guessed it… option into the short side of the field. They ran the option four or five times in the first half… always into the short side. He did have a nice td pass off of an option fake that fooled Fordham completely… there was no one within ten yards of the tight end when he caught it.
He did go under center a couple of times. Once he ran speed option… you know where to. He also ran a quarterback draw. Surprise, surprise...
The other two quarterbacks appeared to be primarily drop-back, pro-style passers, although the announcers said one of them is pretty mobile. Didn’t see either of them scramble much, so it’s hard to tell.
In short yardage, they line up in the wishbone. It’s true!
I don’t really know what to think about the new UConn offense… it’s just really, really weird to see it being run by UConn, especially as completely unchanged as it is. Also, I kind of got the feeling (I could be wrong) that UConn is treating this game kind of like a preseason scrimmage, evaluating players and whatnot against an outmatched opponent. So it’s entirely possible there’s more stuff in the playbook that they just aren’t showing yet.
As for the UConn defense, it looks just like the Miami-style 4-3 that Coach P ran when he was here, slide the line to the tight end, put the corners in man coverage so the safeties can act as additional linebackers. The defense looked better than the offense so far, and has shut Fordham down pretty much completely, not unexpectedly.
That’s what I saw from the first half. UConn is leading 21-0 at the half. The Huskies defense is dominating, but the offense is kind of moving in fits and starts. The Fordham defense is making a few plays and giving UConn some problems. Still, Coach P might be in semi-evaluation mode as far as the quarterbacks go and the offensive players are still probably getting used to the offense – offense almost always takes longer to master than defense.