The records may have been identical in Paul Pasqualoni's first two years on the job, but last season's 5-7 effort held more promise than what we had to sit through in 2011. A lot of that had to do with the defense (which will almost certainly have four players drafted in April), but the offense also showed glimpses beyond the one-dimensional running game that helped Lyle McCombs earn Freshman All-American honors and not much else.
So with that as the backdrop, the Huskies' spring practice is underway, as is the never-ending search for a big-time quarterback. A year ago, junior college transfer Chandler Whitmer showed up in Storrs and won the job. He's undersized but tough, and had a solid first season. He's likely to resume that role in 2013 but it won't be given to him. Unlike recent seasons, there's plenty of competition.
"Obviously he has 12 tough games in him, he has been here now for a solid year and I think that showed with the way that he played," Pasqualoni said via the New Haven Register. "We are looking for Casey to be a little more comfortable as well. I think that part of it is good and I think it is a big deal for us."
But there's also Casey Cochran, the former Connecticut State Player of the Year.
"Casey is in the best shape he has been in since he has been here," Pasqualoni said. "He has his weight down under control so his stamina, his endurance, the way he is running I am pleased with that. I want to see him take care of the ball a little more, he missed a snap under center, threw a pick (in Monday's practice). We had a couple of turnovers with him in there, we had two turnovers in four plays. He has to do a better job with that, he has to get familiar with it, he has to get comfortable with it and I want to see progress. I want to see the progress over the last seven weeks, I want to see it over the next eight weeks."
After redshirting his freshman year following an injury, Cochran is hoping to open some eyes with his play.
In spring that is the biggest thing at any position to show what you have going into the summer and going into the camp, it gives a basis of what you can do and what the team can expect out of you so I think it is a big deal for guys to show up in the spring and work as hard as you can. …
"There is competition at every school," he continued. "Every school is going to have four to five quarterbacks, just working as hard as I can every day and doing as much as I can."
That's no different at UConn. In addition to Whitmer and Cochran, there's junior Scott McCummings, as well as a freshman class that includes Richard Lagow, Kivon Taylor and Tim Boyle.