Tuesday, September 23, 2014

UConn's Lee making an impact on special teams

Wading through UConn's team stats on the NCAA site isn't always the easiest of tasks considering the way the Huskies have struggled in the first four games of the season.

However, while many of the offensive and defensive numbers aren't exactly pretty, the Huskies' special teams' unit has more than held up its end of the bargain.

Not only has kicker Bobby Puyol gone 5 for 5 on field goals and produced four touchbacks on 13 kickoffs but punter Justin Wain is averaging 40.7 yards per kick.

The coverage teams have also been rather special as UConn ranks second among 125 FBS teams allowing 13.6 yards per kickoff return and are 49th nationally with an average of 5.5 yards per punt return.

Junior safety Wilbert "Junior" Lee has been at the forefront of the Huskies' stingy coverage units. In Friday's loss to South Florida he had four tackles on punt returns and another on a kickoff return.

"I just sprinted up the field and made the tackle every time I could,' Lee said.

"When I go out on special teams, if I miss the tackle I am going to go out there and fight to get back in there."

On at least one occasion Lee was knocked to the ground but was able to get up and still be the guy making the primary tackle on special teams which shows that he not only has the talent but desire to be an impact player on special teams.

"My job was to force him inside and make sure he doesn't get outside," Lee said. "I did that and at the same time I was like 'look, he is not going to break anymore tackles' so I sprinted my way and made the tackle.

"I want coaches on the opponent's end to watch film and say 'look, we have to find a way to stop this guy. Most people don't look at it that way on special teams, don't take it to that level but what I do that I get in this zone that these coaches will recognize me in the next game and they will try to find a way to stop me."

Lee is starting to earn more playing time at safety and he plans on being ready whenever his number is called.

"He (head coach Bob Diaco) didn't know me (when he was hired) but the best thing to do is get their trust, earn their trust. Let him know and show him I know all the plays, I know the checks, I know where my fits are in the defense. I strive for that in practice and once he sees that I will continue (to produce) and see if I can get some plays in."

Lee has certainly gotten Diaco's attention.

"He has a nose for the ball, he is very aggressive, he is confident, he studies the game," Diaco said. "He runs full speed, believes he is going to make the tackle and aggressively goes and tackles the guy. He has been a big help to the special teams."

When writing the history of UConn athletics it would not take very long to getting to John Toner's name.

The long-time director of athletics was responsible for hiring some of the program's most legendary coaches. Toner passed away earlier today at the age of 91. While details of how UConn will honor his passing are still in the planning stages, UConn is planning to have a moment of silence in his honor before Saturday's football game.

Trevardo Williams, the all-time sacks leader at UConn, has bounced around a bit this year trying to find a home in the NFL. He was cut by Houston, which took him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, signed and then quickly cut by the Arizona Cardinals and now comes word that he has been signed to the practice squad by the Indianapolis Colts.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home