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O-line to Be Tested This Season

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O-line to Be Tested This Season

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The biggest question facing the Huskies this summer is if they, after two years in Paul Pasqualoni's system, be able to manufacture some offense in 2013. Back-to-back 5-7 records and one of the worst scoring offenses in the nation leaves a lot of questions, but Pasqualoni does have new offensive coordinator T.J. Weist, whom he hopes can be the impetus for change.

Junior quarterback Chandler Whitmer returns, as do wideouts Geremy Davis and Shakim Phillips, but the conference's best defense has lost key players to graduation, which puts even more pressure on the offense to score points and, ultimately, win games.

It all starts with the offensive line, which, thankfully, is a veteran group.

"We have a talented group," Weist told ESPN.com Big East blogger Andrea Adelson in a recent phone interview. "We have a strong first line. The biggest thing is we've got to keep guys healthy. We've got to develop our depth, that second and third group."

It's a good problem to have -- experience and talent with the first group but the need for depth behind them. The only problem is that football is as much about running, throwing, blocking and tackling as it is about overcoming injuries. It's a physical game, players get hurt, and the difference between the good teams and the mediocre ones often comes down to depth. Which is why Weist is so concerned.

And UConn has already run into issues of health during spring practice.

Tackles Jimmy Bennett and Kevin Friend return as starters in 2013, and guard Returning to the starting lineup for 2013 are tackles Jimmy Bennett and Kevin Friend, as well as guard Steve Greene. Meanwhile, Alex Mateas and Tyler Bullock are competing at center, while Gus Cruz and Tyler Samra are battling for the other guard spot.

As Adelson writes, "It was tough to get a real gauge for how much better this group could be during the spring because injuries kept several guys sidelined. Bennett and Bullock missed the spring game because they were hurt, while Mateas sat out while serving a suspension. That gave other guys an opportunity to play, which should help when it comes to developing depth."

And therein lies the difficulty for Weist of figuring out a depth chart.

"The issue may not be them, it’s how many reps they’re getting in practice and keeping them healthy," Weist said. "If the second group doesn’t develop, or if we’ve got injuries, guys have to play more in practice, then you have to worry about getting the first guys hurt. That’s why I’m more concerned about our depth -- about keeping guys healthy so we can evaluate them better."

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