Friday, March 21, 2014

Receivers could be strength of 2014 UConn squad

Whether it is because of graduation or change in schemes, the majority of positions on the UConn team come with more questions than answers at the current time.

However, the receiving position is not one of them.

UConn returns every receiver who caught a pass during the 2013 season and the only players missing who had a reception during last season are tight ends Spencer Parker (3 catches, 25 yards) and E.J. Norris (2 catches, 18 yards).

With the way the receivers excelled late in the season and in particular in the final two games, you would think the returnees are bursting with confidence but leading receiver Geremy Davis said there's still plenty of work to be done.

"We felt positive the way we ended with the three-game win streak but a lot of times we can't look at the successes, we have to look at the failures and improve on those things," Davis said.. 

"We can't focus on the past. Coach (Bob) Diaco and his staff came in and they are changing the mindset. We are looking forward and not looking so much in the past."

Davis led the Huskies with 71 catches and 1,085 yards. More than a third of those receptions came during a season-ending three-game winning streak including 15 against Memphis in the season finale.

Deshon Foxx, who had some struggles earlier in the season, also finished with a flourish with back to back 100-yard receiving games in the final two contests. Freshmen Dhameer Bradley (seven catches in last three games) and Brian Lemelle (back to back five-catch games) got better as the season wore on. Then when you factor in that the receivers combined for 55 catches and 709 receiving yards in the last two games even though the Huskies were without a services of game-breaking receiver Shakim Phillips and the future does indeed look bright.

"It is great to have that experience, not just at receiver but on special teams as well," Davis said. "They still have to work as if they never played a game rather than said 'oh, we played before.'"

During the first three practices of the spring, the new staff was more interested in seeing the players doing individual drills rather than the installation of the offense. The team will return to practice on Monday and it is expected that more of the schemes will be put into place in the coming week.

"Right now it is the basic stuff that every team installs so we are not jumping into this specific play right now," Davis said.

Also, there is a feature on Diaco in the latest edition of Connecticut Magazine written by my colleague Chris Hunn you might want to check out.



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