UConn works on handling the pressure

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
5:05
PM ET
The pressure has been on UConn quarterback Johnny McEntee. Let's just say the Huskies haven't handled it particularly well.

McEntee has been sacked 12 times in the last two games, leaving quarterback protection one of the big priorities headed into their game against Pitt on Wednesday. UConn has seen more blitzes in those two games against West Virginia and USF because, simply put, it has an inexperienced quarterback.

"I think that's pretty typical," coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "South Florida came in with a couple of new pressures and once we saw them, we got them straightened out on the sideline and at halftime. After that we were fine. Sometimes you have to see those (blitzes) once or twice to figure it out."

UConn has given up an unusual number of sacks already this season. After giving up just 15 last year, the Huskies already have given up 24, second worst in the Big East. It's not as if the Huskies are passing more this season, either. The rush-pass attempts this season are nearly identical to 2010. The Huskies rush about 57 percent of the time this year; last year, it was 58 percent of the time.

There have been changes on the offensive line in regard to scheme, a season-ending injury to starting left tackle Jimmy Bennett, plus a shuffling of players. Four different starting lineups have been used on the offensive line this season. But the same group had started three straight games -- left tackle Mike Ryan, left guard Steve Greene, center Moe Petrus, right guard Adam Masters and right tackle Kevin Friend.

"I thought the offensive line played a pretty physical game against South Florida," he said. "I think they executed very well and there were some good things to see on the film. Hopefully, we are settling in with who we have there. I think [the lineup] is established now and we need to continue to build on the urgency that they played with against South Florida. We need to continue to build on the urgency and the detail and absolutely go out and finish every play."

Though McEntee has taken his share of hits, he slowly is getting better. He also has worked with all his teammates to try to avoid getting hit so much.

"USF did some things I don't think we were ready for," he said. "They had some packages we didn't expect. We need to be prepared to pick up the blitzes this week against Pitt, wherever they come from."

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