Western Michigan's Alex Carder and West Virginia's Geno Smith created all sorts of problems for UConn's defense. Two weeks ago, Carder spent the game playing catch with his receivers and ended the night with 479 passing yards and five touchdowns. Last Saturday, the 16th-ranked Mountaineers picked up where the Broncos left off; Smith threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns.
Good news: the Huskies don't face a team with "West" in their name. Bad news: South Florida is still a directional school, and worse than that, their quarterback is as effective with his legs as he is with his arm. If UConn struggled to stop two players who could only hurt them through the air, what will happen when they take the field against BJ Daniels?
"Basically, you want to collapse the pocket around him and not give him the ability to escape and make him make all his decisions with his arm," senior tackle Kendall Reyes said, according to the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner.
Makes sense -- especially when Reyes says it -- but the reality is that the Huskies struggled to collapse the pocket in their previous two games against quarterbacks not known for their mobility.
Conner notes that Daniels, a junior who averages 259 yards passing, has eight touchdown passes and has rushed for 258 yards and three TDs.
Coach Pasqualoni, like the rest of us, understands the problems Daniels presents. Unfortunately, he's also tasked with trying to stop Daniels, something, thankfully, we don't have to worry about.
"You've got to make sure you're in the right place against the run," Pasqualoni said during a teleconference Thursday. "You don't want to give him any big plays. In the last game they went down the field against Pittsburgh, he scored the first touchdown. They spread you out and do so many things that you've got to cover so many areas. … There's an awful lot there to contend with."
USF's Darrell Scott leads the team in rushing (424 yards, 5 TDs) but Daniels is second. Also complicating matters for the Huskies: USF has the best rushing attack in the Big East (223 yards per game).
Ideally, the Huskies defense we saw the first four weeks of the season will show up for homecoming Saturday. But as Conner writes, it'll take more than making USF one dimensional. "UConn did that to Western Michigan and West Virginia and it cost the Huskies more than 900 yards, nine touchdowns and two losses."