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Robbie Frey adds to UConn backfield stable

9/15/2010

Doesn't it seem like UConn always has a star tailback waiting in the wings?

From Donald Brown to Andre Dixon to Jordan Todman, the Huskies have had a wealth of excellent running backs come through Storrs in recent years. And one guy who's patiently waited for his chance might be ready to join that level.

Junior Robbie Frey had a career day Saturday against Texas Southern, rushing 16 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Before that game, Frey had only 24 career carries for 140 yards. But teammates and coaches have always raved about his ability and his approach.

"He's a kid who gives you everything he's got," head coach Randy Edsall said. "Whatever role we've given Robbie, he's fulfilled it to the best of his ability and done it extremely well."

Frey's main role before this season came on special teams. His highlight last year was a 100-yard touchdown return against Rutgers. But in that same game, he injured his shoulder, and that kept him out the rest of the year and through spring contact drills.

"That was tough," he said. "The beginning of this season was mostly about seeing how the shoulder was. But once I got banged on it a couple times, it was fine."

It was unclear what role Frey would play in the offense, with Todman established as the No. 1 back and USC transfer D.J. Shoemate coming aboard. Shoemate was the No. 2 running back against Michigan in the opener, but he had a costly fumble as the Huskies were close to cutting the lead to seven points in the second half. Frey got the bulk of the carries behind Todman in Week 2.

The running back depth chart remains a competitive situation, but UConn has shown in the past a willingness to distribute carries. Todman and Dixon virtually split handoffs evenly down the middle, while Dixon and Brown former a tandem earlier in their careers.

"We all knew we were competing for the running back position, but we are all in this together," Frey said. "We're all trying to get each other better. The running back position here over the years has had great success, and to be a part of that is amazing."

As Frey has shown with his kickoff returns, he has breakaway speed.

"I'm more of just a straight-on runner," he said. "I don't have too much shiftiness like Todman has, and D.J. brings more of a power running game. I think it's major threat of our offense that all the running backs bring a different style."

And all of them seemingly always find success in UConn's system.