Midseason Report: UConn


Record: 3-4, 0-2

You know the shame of the first half of the season for the Huskies? They are wasting a very strong defense with their play on the other side of the ball. We have already gone over the problems on offense in depth, but since this is the midseason review, we will ... review. Here are some national rankings to chew on:

Total offense: No. 107 (average: 320.6 ypg)

Rushing offense: No. 111 (average: 100.14) -- worst since UConn became an FBS member.

Scoring offense: No. 109 (average: 19 ppg) -- worst since UConn became an FBS member.

Sacks allowed: No. 102 (average: 2.86 per game, 20 total)

You get the point.

Many fans are wondering how a team that traditionally runs the ball well and plays solid up front on the offensive line all of a sudden can't do either. There are those, myself included, who thought the addition of junior college transfer Chandler Whitmer would make the Huskies a darkhorse contender in the Big East.

The defense has held up its end of the bargain, ranking No. 6 in total defense and No. 13 in rushing defense, while racking up 21 sacks to lead the Big East. Trevardo Williams once again leads the league with 7.5 sacks, and the Huskies have a terrific linebacker trio in Yawin Smallwood, Sio Moore and Jory Johnson. There have been some key defensive lapses in a few games, but the onus should not be on that group to play perfectly every snap. UConn is going to need much more out of its offense in the second half of the season if it wants to go back to a bowl game.

Offensive MVP: Lyle McCombs. He only gets this by default because there have been no standout performances on offense this season. Despite missing a game with an injury and being suspended for a quarter, he still ranks No. 4 in the Big East in rushing, averaging 80.7 yards per game. That is still well off his pace from a year ago.

Defensive MVP: Yawin Smallwood. He has been outstanding for the Huskies defense, ranking No. 1 in the Big East in tackles per game (10.7), No. 1 in tackles for loss (11) and No. 5 in sacks. This is only his second year playing middle linebacker, so he should be even better next year.