Today, we will switch gears from a week of offense, and begin to look at Connecticut's defense. Strong over the previous 5+ seasons, once again the Huskies ability to stop teams will be the strength as the 2009 campaign gets underway.
The Huskies are replacing three of the four-starters from opening day a year ago, up-front. Rob Lunn, better know as 'The Fat White Guy,' Cody Brown (Arizona Cardinals) and Julius Williams (Jacksonville Jaguars) are all gone.
Senior defensive end Lindsey Witten, who will be the focus of opposing offensive lines, is coming off a year where he registered career highs in sacks (5) and tackles for a loss (6).
Expect the tackles, Twyon Martin and Kendall Reyes, both redshirt sophomores, to anchor the middle of the line for the next three years.
Martin started the final eight games of 2008 and had his best game, stats-wise against West Virginia, recording 8 tackles and a sack.
Reyes took over for Lunn a year ago to start the last four games, finishing the season with 20 tackles.
The one question mark heading into summer camp was the other defensive end spot. Marcus Campbell was expected to excel at that position, but after he was dismissed from school, competition opened up between some young, but talented freshmen. The depth chart, which came out yesterday, lists Jesse Joseph the starter, with Trevardo Williams backing him up.
The 6' 3" 238-lb Joseph, a true feshman who was at Vanier Prep. in Laval, Quebec a year ago, enrolled at school in the spring.
"Jesse has very good skills and has just picked things up a little bit better," Edsall told the Courant's Desmond Conner Sunday night. "He maybe is a little bit better all-around and can give you a little bit of everything at that position, more than maybe some situational things."
Expect to see Williams and redshirt freshman A.J. Portee to see time throughout the year spelling Joseph. On the other side, junior Mike Cox is slated to back-up Witten.
Not surprising, Alex Polito and Brandon Dillon are in the two-deep at the tackle spots.
If the combination of Witten and Joseph are able to get some pressure on opposing QBs, then 2009 will once again be a big year for the Connecticut defense.