Saturday, August 30, 2014

UConn spreads the wealth in passing game

Josh Marriner and the other UConn freshmen running backs were
involved in the running and passing game in season-opening loss
While the way quarterbacks Casey Cochran and Chandler Whitmer were utilized in last night's game against BYU continues to be a popular topic of conversation, I was more concerned with who was getting the ball thrown to them.

The first thing that caught my eye is that freshmen running backs Arkeel Newsome, Josh Marriner and Ron Johnson had receptions of 18, 17 and 11 yards respectively. So what you may say but a season ago you would have to go to the 11th game of the season to document three catches of at least 10 yards by the running backs and the 49 receiving yards by the backs tops any number the Huskies put forth a season ago.

"It is an important piece," Diaco said. "As a (former) defensive coordinator and (former) linebacker, those guys are hard to cover."

As for overall targets, I went through last night's tape and here is what I came up with (this includes plays wiped out due to penalty)
Player               Targets     Catches
Geremy Davis     13            7
Deshon Foxx        9            2
Sean McQuillan    6            3
Kamal Abrams     5            3
Noel Thomas       4            2
Dhameer Bradley 4            1
Alec Bloom          2            2
Thomas Lucas      2           0
Ron Johnson        2            1
Jazzmar Clax       1            1
Josh Marriner      1            1
Tommy Myers     1            1
Arkeel Newsome 1           1

Although UConn's tailbacks only combined for 84 yards on 24 carries, Diaco liked what he saw from them. The play calling was slanted more to the pass game (52 to 27 if you count the four sacks as pass plays even though they go down as running plays). Much of that has to do with getting down 14-0 early.

He had good things to say about both true freshmen Arkeel Newsome, who he said uses all of his body mass as a runner as he is at optimal speed when he has the ball in his hands. He said Johnson also impressed him but in a different way. Newsome added a 34-yard kickoff return and he looked like the most explosive of the three players sent back on kickoffs.

Diaco also said that the team came through the game in pretty good shape health wise with nothing but the normal bumps and bruises. He said he was happy with what he heard from the training staff including that offensive tackle Andreas Knappe "is getting better."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is Lemelle? I thought he looked very impressive last year, specially as a true freshman. Any word?

August 30, 2014 4:27 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

He did get some snaps but Diaco likes bigger targets which is going to cut into his playing time. It will be interesting to watch how he does with the new staff because he is very talented.

August 30, 2014 8:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply and coverage. IMO, best coverage of UConn football out there!

September 01, 2014 8:41 AM 

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