EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 09: Chandler Whitmer #10 of the University of Connecticut Huskies throws a pass against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers during the game on November 9, 2012 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
This is the slowest time of the year for football news, but Paul Pasqualoni's program is also front and center now that the Big East is the American Athletic Conference, and any hope UConn has of eventually moving to a bigger and better conference will depend in large part on how successful the football program is.
So far, it's been a struggle. Under Pasqualoni, the Huskies have logged back-to-back 5-7 seasons and it's reasonable to think that if we see a repeat of that in 2013, Pasqualoni will be fired. But spring practice has just concluded and at this point in the proceedings hope reigns. Last week, Pasqualoni spoke with SNY.com's Evan Makovsky and Sean Mulcahy on the UConn Podcast about -- you guessed it -- the state of the team heading into 2013.
"I like the progress we made in the spring," Pasqualoni said. "I do have some concerns and I've got some things I'm really excited about. I like the return of our offensive line, and I think that's going to be a plus having all those guys back. I like the size of our two wide receivers, Shakim Phillips and Geremy Davis. I like Chandler Whitmer coming back as a second-year quarterback. So there are things there that I'm buying stock in.
"On the defensive side of the ball, I have a little bit of a concern replacing these two great corners we lost (Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz were selected in the third round of the NFL Draft in April), and an excellent outside linebacker (Sio Moore). And replacing (defensive lineman) Ryan Wirth who was an inside tackle for us and one of the great leaders on our team last year. Those are things that concern me, but I like the direction we're headed."
With the loss of so many talented players, defense is a concern, but as always, the Huskies will need more consistency on offense. And that starts with the quarterback position. Last season, redshirt sophomore Chandler Whitmer held his own and he'll top the depth chart heading into training camp this summer. But there will be plenty of competition.
"We're going to have six (quarterbacks) here," Pasqualoni said, "three who are coming in who I think are excellent young prospects, starting with Timmy Boyle from Xavier High School right here in Connecticut. We've also got Kivon Taylor from Grady High School in Atlanta, Ga., and we have Richard Lagow from Plano, Tx. …
"So we're going to have a lot of competition, there's no question about it. Casey Cochran started to come on well at the end of spring ball, and, of course, Chandler is much more comfortable. So we're going to work real hard at the position, we think we have some guys that will emerge, and we're just going to have to see how it all shakes out at the end of preseason practice."
It's worth mentioning that Pasqualoni didn't call Whitmer his starter, but we're guessing that has more to do with getting the most out of his players in the days and weeks leading up to the season opener than any commentary on the depth chart.