<
>

Huskies to go no-huddle under Moorhead

1/20/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Get ready for an extreme makeover of the Connecticut offense.

Tuesday's hiring of Joe Moorhead as offensive coordinator means that the previously buttoned-down Huskies are going to switch to a no-huddle attack.

"It's something I've been wanting to do," head coach Randy Edsall said. "I like the fact that we can dictate the tempo of the game."

Edsall promised that the passing game would be "totally different," and that has to be a good thing. UConn's passing game was so limited that Edsall basically scrapped it in the International Bowl, running the ball 49 times and throwing it only six times.

Moorhead led potent passing attacks at Akron as the offensive coordinator there the past three seasons. He said his offense would be played at "a very fast tempo" with a lot of quick reads and throws by the quarterback. Though he hasn't met with any of the current Huskies players yet, he said he's familiar with returning quarterbacks Zach Frazer and Cody Endres.

"Zach and Cody both have size, strength, quick releases and the ability to make all the throws and they're good athletes," Moorhead said. "I think we'll be able to have some good quarterback production next year."

Though he will run the no-huddle, Moorhead said he employs multiple formations and not a true spread offense. His goal is a 50-50 split between running and passing. Edsall said Moorhead's schemes will allow UConn to use many of the same running plays that helped Donald Brown lead the nation in rushing in 2008.

"We try to keep it simple," Moorhead said. "Get the ball to our playmakers and get our speed in space."

Finding the right playmakers will be the crucial step this spring. There should be a good quarterback battle between Frazer and Endres. Freshman Jordan Todman showed off his speed and ability in the second half of the year, and if former leading rusher Andre Dixon gets his issues resolved, he can be a workhorse. Connecticut still lacks top-flight receivers, however.

Though Edsall's teams have the reputation of being conservative offensively because of how they've played in recent years, that hasn't always been the case. With quarterback Dan Orlovsky under center from 2002-2004, the Huskies were a pass-oriented offense. Orlovsky threw for more than 3,400 yards and 33 touchdown passes as a junior.