Sunday, December 01, 2013

Bradley catching on at UConn

True freshmen receivers Brian Lemelle (84) and Dhameer Bradley (1)
each had touchdown catches in 28-17 win over Rutgers
With catches in six of the last seven games true freshman receiver Dhameer Bradley has quietly made an impact at UConn.

Well, there was nothing quiet about his performance yesterday. Starting for an injured Shakim Phillips, Bradley was targeted on the Huskies' fourth offensive play. Although he failed to come up with the slightly low throw from Casey Cochran, there was no hesitation from Cochran four plays later when he connected with Bradley for an 18-yard touchdown reception.

With the Huskies clinging to a four-point lead in the fourth quarter and facing a key 3rd and 9, Cochran connected with Bradley again. This one went for a career-long 19 yards for Bradley as UConn was add the insurance touchdown on a TD pass to fellow true freshman Brian Lemelle.

Bradley was targeted six times and came up with three catches for 41 yards. Bradley had a reception on three of the Huskies' four scoring drives. He also was asked to throw blocks on a multitude of bubble screens thrown to teammate Deshon Foxx as UConn took advantage of Rutgers rolling their coverage to the other side of the field where leading receiver Geremy Davis was lining up..

"Dhameer has always been a tough player," UConn interim coach T.J. Weist said. "He is still a freshman but he stepped up and has been a good football player because he is tough. He is one of our best blockers, I think he is a better blocker than Geremy – at times. When you find a receiver like him who will block as hard as he does, without a lot of experience, to me that is a tough football player. He came in the spring and worked really hard. He kept it all together, showed great maturity and did a great job."

When Phillips was limited to seven snaps because of an ankle injury which would also sideline him for the Rutgers game, Bradley had a chance to see the field for most of the game against Temple. Bradley was targeted four times and had two catches for 18 yards in a 28-21 win.

"I had to step up for Shak Phillips," Bradley said. "He comes in and makes a lot of plays and I had to step in and make plays like he does. Last week he got hurt and I pretty much had started that game, he played seven plays and I had to step in. I knew after that I had to come in and to do what I did.It felt good."

Bradley was eager to atone for his earlier drop and was thrilled to get the chance to get the Huskies on the board. His TD catch marked the first time this season UConn scored a touchdown on its opening possession.

"Coach Weist always says that you move to the next play when something bad happens, I just moved onto the next play and made it happen," Bradley said.

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