Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hadley could make an impact at UConn

With an almost entirely new coaching staff it was hard to predict what the player rotation was going to look like.

However, if I were to come up with a list of players who I thought would have larger roles I would start with receiver Brian Lemelle, cornerback Javon Hadley and offensive guard Kyle Schafenacker.

Lemelle had a 10-yard catch, his longest of the season in last week's loss to East Carolina. Now it could be Hadley's time to shine.

Hadley played in five games as a true freshman and finished with seven tackles (three coming against Cincinnati). But even after the summer departures of Tyree Clark and David Stevenson, he did not get onto field in the first seven games as true freshman Jamar Summers and converted receiver John Green moved ahead of him.

However, following the season-ending shoulder injury suffered by Byron Jones, Summers is expected to go from being a nickel corner or spelling one of the two starters to earning a starting spot as well while Hadley is pushing Green to be the third cornerback.

"He is a trained corner so he works his game and he has done it for a long time," UConn coach Bob Diaco said. "He hasn't done it here in college football so as a young guy at least there is a volume of practice reps and time that he has been at that position. He is a tough guy, he is a gritty tough guy, he is competitive. What he might lack at this point in his career in size, overall speed he makes up for toughness. He has some fundamental base in playing the position. We are excited about him. He is in competition with John Green so we will see who ends up claiming that first and second down corner spot for the game."

Diaco also had good things to say about true freshman Brice McAllister, who moved from tailback to corner during preseason camp. He is expected to get onto the field now that Jones is no longer in the mix.

"Brice McAllister has never played the position and it is probably at times going to look like that in games but there is only one way to solve it and that is for him to play in games," Diaco said. "We don't have any other options and we don't want any other options and we are excited about Brice, we think Brice is going to be a great corner, we believe it is his best position and his most natural position. He was a very productive tailback throughout his life but he possesses a few traits that separate him at he next level of athleticism on the perimeter. Almost all the great corners could play tailback but not all the great tailbacks could play corner. It is that much harder, you have to be that much of a higher level athlete to play corner because it is all reaction. Brice possesses those traits and he is going to be a work in progress. I am excited to see all five of those guys play."

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