Sunday, April 14, 2013

Adams in line for expanded role

The move of starting safety Byron Jones has been a popular story line during UConn's spring practice but if not for the emergence of Andrew Adams, it's unlikely that the Huskies' coaching staff would be able to make such a move.

Adams was a relative unknown heading into fall camp in 2012 but as he continued to make plays his time on the field. It didn't take long for Adams to make an impact as his first tackle went for a 9-yard loss in the season-opening win over UMass and he had back to back five-tackle games against  Maryland and Western Michigan.

Adams made 23 tackles including two behind the line of scrimmage, he recovered a fumble against Rutgers and broke up four passes playing mostly in the five and six defensive back formations. Now he has a chance to have a more expanded role as he is vying for a starting safety spot next to Ty-Meer Brown.

"I am still trying to get a lot of the assignments down but everything has been going good," Adams aid after Saturday's practice. "The biggest adjustment is a new playbook, have a new defensive coordinator (Hank Hughes) so it is kind of mixed between last year and this year.

"I'm just focusing on my assignments, doing what I am supposed to do, being in the right position and all the stuff goes a long way so if you do the little things right you will find the field and you will get a decent amount of playing time."

With the graduation of cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who both could be taken by the end of the second day in the NFL draft, and a lack of size among the top returning cornerback candidates the decision was made to move Jones to corner.

"Byron is a good player and I guess they felt like we needed him at corner so of course that moved me up but I am just trying to make the best of my situation," Adams said. "We weigh the same, he might be a little taller but I might be a little more physical but Byron is a great player."

So what will Adams try to bring to the defense if he earns a starting spot?

"I try to be as physical as I can," Adams said. "I try to play hard and play fast."

He is also excited about the potential of a Connecticut defense which lost six starters including four expected to be taken in the NFL draft later this month.

"I think this group can be just as good as last year, I really do," Adams said. "If we keep pushing and do what we’ve been doing day in and day out and I think we can be better than last year, I really do."

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