UConn’s D Needs to Overcome Inexperience


Last week, ESPN's Big East blog (they're going to have to change their name soon, right?) listed the Huskies' defensive line as a team strength. Everything's relative, but the reality is that UConn lost four defensive starters to the NFL and defensive coordinator Don Brown to Boston College. Add on top of that the the offense has struggled with consistency during coach Paul Pasqualoni's two years and it becomes clear just how important a stout defense is to winning and losing.

Hank Hughes is the new Don Brown and despite the new faces, he has no intentions of trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a good thing. Put another way: Hughes doesn't have any big changes in store for this defense, even if it's missing names like Sio Moore, Trevardo Williams, Ryan Wirth, Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson.

“We’ve got some good players we have to replace," Hughes conceded to the Hartford Courant. "You don’t replace guys like that overnight. Guys have to develop themselves and get better at their techniques and guys have to step up. As you know, that’s the way it is every year. This year we lost some really good players on defense but other years we’ve lost good players, too. It has a bearing. Believe me. I’d like to franchise tag every one of those guys and bring them back. …

“Collectively, we have to play well together," he continued. "I think that’s what we got good at [last year] everyone knew what they were doing and played well as a unit and it made us a pretty strong defense and that’s huge because [if not] you beat yourself. …

"We have talent now it’s just fitting in the system, getting good in your fundamentals and techniques, getting good at the scheme, knowing how to fit it up and doing it on an instance notice. … Everybody has to play within the system and play within themselves and play together. That’s the key.”

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