While most of us won't be able to watch UConn-Western Michigan live (thanks, ESPN3!), the Huskies have a great opportunity to build on what they accomplished last week against Maryland on the road. And while the defense seems to get better with each game, the offense remains a work in progress. This sounds a lot like the conversations we were having a year ago with one huge difference: there's the belief that redshirt sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer can be something special.
For now, offensive coordinator George DeLeone would be happy with a little more consistency, and a few more points wouldn't hurt either.
"We need to have 11 guys functioning, play after play for a greater percentage of the game than we're doing right now. We have shot ourselves in the foot too many times," DeLeone said Thursday according to the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner.
"The thing that upset me the most about the game the other day offensively is we had four drives of three-and-out; four drives in a tough stretch of the third quarter, we were three-and-out. As good as our defense is, no defense can survive that, so we've got work to do. I think we made some progress but we are by no means a finished product. We have to operate on all eight cylinders. We can't have a flat tire, we can't have a burned-out clutch. We can't have any of those things. ... We're optimistic. It's week to week. So we've got to go to work this week. One-game seasons now. "
We've mentioned it before but Whitmer is still raw and the playmakers (beyond RB Lyle McCombs) have to show up every week. It's hard for Geremy Davis, Shakim Phillips and Mike Smith to get into a rhythm when Whitmer struggles, but this goes back to the coaches drawing up plays that highlight Whitmer's strengths and gets the ball into the hands of his best players.
We saw more of this against Maryland than NC State, and maybe DeLeone will tweak the game plan even more for the Western Michigan game.