We're previewing 2010 opponents before 2009 ones. Excellent.
Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
You want UConn to be a good team this year. Seeing the Huskies do well this fall will vindicate the selection by the AD. The Huskies are young on offense this year, with nearly all of the projected starters at the skill positions in their sophomore or junior seasons. They're young defensively as well, though the seniors are distributed a bit more evenly across the three units. Make no mistake: UConn might have a decent team this year (especially with no dominant team in the Big East, as there was during the Rich Rodriguez tenure in Morgantown), and they should be even better in 2010. Bill Martin didn't schedule a doormat.
The Huskies don't play in any of the now-traditional Big East Thursday night games, but they'll be on TV enough to catch a game or two over the course of the year:
Zach Frazer (RS Jr QB) - Frazer was a 4-star QB in the class of 2006, and he signed with Notre Dame. After spring practice in 2007, it became clear that he wasn't going to be out Jimmy Clausen for the starting job (which, lol how that’s turned out), and he decided to transfer to UConn. He sat out the 2007 season in Storrs, and became the team's #2 in 2008. He will take over for Tyler Lorenzen as the starter in 2009, and will be a polished 5th-year senior in his second year of a new system by the time Michigan sees him next year.
Jordan Todman (Soph RB) - With the departure of workhorse Donny Brown, the Huskies will look to a new source to power the running game. Todman only carried 47 times last season, though in the Brown-centric UConn offense, that was the second-most by a running back. This will be fans' first time to seriously evaluate Todman as a feature back.
Kashif Moore (RS Soph WR) - Moore burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman last year, and became the Huskies' leading receiver (which didn't mean much in last season's offense: he ended up with only 1 touchdown). He'll continue this year, and perhaps develop into a pro prospect by the time Michigan sees him.
Zach Hurd (RS Jr OG) - Hurd played in every game as a backup in 2007, and started every single contest at right guard last year. He's the only starter on the UConn OL who started at the same position last year as he will in 2009, and also returns for the 2010 game. Considering the Huskies' offense last year was run-run-run, a new offensive line probably bodes ill for this season. However, the UConn coaches are hoping that a more highly-touted QB and a developing, young, receiving corps might allow them to be a little more creative and move the ball in other ways.
Scott Lutrus (RS Jr LB) - In 2007, Lutrus was a (redshirt) Freshman All-American, and he reprised it last year with a team-leading 106 tackles. Most fans outside of Big East country may know him best as a friend of Fat White Guy Rob Lunn. He'll be a team leader in his redshirt junior season, and have tons of experience when Michigan faces the Huskies.
CB Jasper Howard (Jr CB) - Howard will be in his third year as a starter when Michigan faces UConn. He picked off 4 passes last year, and started every single game. He has also acted as a a punt returner for the Huskies' special teams unit, taking one all the way back in 2008.
Mike Hicks (5th Sr RT) - Hicks will be a 4-year starter for UConn. As a redshirt freshman, he started 9 games at right tackle, to go along with starting every game the past two years (the vast majority of them, again, at right tackle). He'll help UConn succeed this year, but if he's a standout for the Huskies, Michigan fans can breathe easy, as they won't have to face him.
Robert Vaughn (Sr FS) - Vaughn hasn't been a longtime starter for UConn, only having started 14 games over the past two years, but he was able to excel last year, named as a second-team all-Big East performer. He was third on the team in tackles with 67, while picking off two passes. He'll be done roaming the secondary after this year, so Michigan fans won't have to worry about him.
Connecticut, after a resurgent year behind Donny Brown in 2008, will be rebuilding this year. Every preseason magazine picks them to finish 6th in the Big East. They graduate a fair amount of talent, but aside from Brown and the offensive line (and of course Lunn), it doesn't look like they're losing too much that can't be replaced. With a new offensive coordinator and a guru-approved quarterback, they might pass the ball a bit more this year (and a bit more successfully). The team is laden with sophomores and juniors in the 2-deep, so 2010 should be a pretty good year in Storrs—just in time for Michigan to face them. There's a decent chance Michigan fans' perception of this game changes by the time 2010 rolls around. For a bit more on the Huskies, check out a diary and forum post by the_white_tiger.
We're previewing 2010 opponents before 2009 ones. Excellent.
+1. i was just about to say that.
Tim, your forgetting Andre Dixon, a RB who split carries with Brown in 07' but missed much of last year. I think he'll actually be a solid back, and probably the #1 runner this year.
Yep, I agree with you here. Dixon led the team in ruching in 2007 and they've got a good stable of backs overall. The running game may take a step back, but it wont be that big if the line comes together.
But, Dixon would be in the "You Wont See Him" category since, I think, this is his last year of eligibiity.
I'm not trying to stir the pot here, but has Michigan's athletic department actually confirmed a 2010 game against UConn yet?
If not, this could turn into Michigan's equivalent of "wait a minute, Brett Favre has not filed his retirement papers yet."
I am not sure if I am missing some subtlety in the "actually confirmed" portion of your comment, but:
Edit: Oooh, now I see the Brett Favre story on the MGoBoard. My bad.
No problem. The post you cite to links to a rivals post for the 'source with insider knowledge.' I've yet to see a press release confirming the news so it's still not 100%.
This is somewhat similar to earlier this summer, when Lolphers coach Tim Brewster floated to the press that the Lolphers will be playing Texas "in the future."
Yep, they very may will. Confirmation, please?
I'm cheering for UConn to have a good year this year so our opening game will generate some buzz.
The only buzz coming for the opening game in 2010 is the buzz Michigan creates for itself with this season. UConn is a non-factor in the grand scheme of things...
Good post but I disagree with this comment, "Seeing the Huskies do well this fall will vindicate the selection by the AD." Regardless of UConn's upcoming season, Michigan will still waste a valuable OOC game in the North East at a High School stadium.
Martin made a good business decision rather than choosing to make a P.R. splash. Can't say I blame him, but I'm not waiting with baited breath for either of these games.
How good can Zach Frazer be if Clausen beat him out with a bad throwing arm (bone chips)? The book on Clausen will be written starting this year. We will see what was forged during the beating in 2007 & the learning how to win in 2008. I will predict most of the D Co-ordinators won't be LOL as they prep to defend him as a junior and senior (if he stays).
Zach Frazer was very, very bad last year (0-4 3 INT against Pitt, that's three picks and an incomplete pass).
To the OP:
I think Andre Dixon is going to be in a job share with Todman, they were both good before Brown emerged.
I appreciate the link to my earlier posts.
Didn't you have a post earlier commenting on the weakness of ND's schedule, which includes UCONN? No. Wait. That post will come in the week prior to the ND-UM game.
Are you and BGS doing an opponents analysis this year?
I don't think Tim ever said they were a strong team. Actually the closest thing he said was:
UConn might have a decent team this year
Emphasis mine. I think you would agree by most of the comments here, even many Michigan fans aren't impressed that we scheduled them either, hence Tim saying we should hope they do well so they are more appealing next year.
Actually, Tim implied more than the appeal factor when he said:
“Seeing the Huskies do well this fall will vindicate the selection by the AD.”
Tim stated vindication, which goes far beyond what you are suggesting.
Thanks for all you do to make Mgoblog the best Michigan site on the web! Go Blue!
the disappointment over UConn had very little to do with their on-field credentials.