Preview 2017: Can Connecticut Win With Randy Edsall Again?
Can Connecticut recapture the magic with Randy Edsall?
Is Connecticut out of ideas?
This isn’t Louisville getting Bobby Petrino back – he’s a rock star head coach whose talent was undeniable. This is UConn getting back a guy who helped make the program a factor, but comes limping back after not getting the job done at Maryland.
To be fair, the Terps caught an awful break in 2015 – with a bunch of injuries contributing for the 2-4 start – but Edsall was doing an okay job after building the team back up, going 7-6 in back-to-back years with two bowl appearances.
And now, after UConn crashed and burned under head coach Bob Diaco, there’s a chance to get back to the guy who won 74 games over 12 years with two Big East titles – there used to be a Big East football conference, young guys – with a stunning trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010.
Just 59 by the time the season starts, Edsall still has a whole bunch of coaching life still in him, but he has to prove all over again that he can produce, taking a relatively tough situation and making the program a winner.
He’d better, or the hiring will appear to be stale.
UCF has a rising star in Scott Frost, Cincinnati got Luke Fickell away from the Ohio State staff, and South Florida landed Charlie Strong – and that’s just in UConn’s division.
Edsall will go to a more up-tempo offensive style, but when his teams were on, they ran well – Donald Brown ended up making a lot of NFL money on his 2,000-yard 2008 season – controlling games and relying on his defenses to dominate against the run and take over.
The run D was still strong under Diaco, but the offense was an epic fail, finishing dead last in the country in scoring – the team came up with a grand total of three field goals in the first quarters of games last season – with no ground game and a painfully inefficient passing attack.
There’s experience returning on offense, but it doesn’t matter if the line isn’t better. It’s a big front five, but it needs to be a whole lot better. The receiving corps needs more options after losing star target Noel Thomas, and more backs need to be in the mix to help out Arkeel Newsome.
Oh yeah, and figuring out the starting quarterback situation would be nice, too.
The defensive side wasn’t the problem last year – it didn’t get any help – and now, even without a star pass rusher and a few of the top tacklers, it should be okay.
And for good and for bad, there won’t be any expectations.
The schedule is tough, the talent and depth aren’t in place, and it’s asking for too much for the offense to go from zero to decent in a hiccup.
But Edsall has done it before. If he can recreate the formula, and Connecticut can start winning again, all of a sudden, it won’t seem like a regressive hire. It’ll be the school knowing who the right guy was all along, and getting him back where he belongs.