CORRECTION: DANCES WITH WOLVES
UConn to take on the N.C. State Wolfpack in big game
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 12:09
After issuing a 37-0 beating to a new FBS opponent, the UMass Minutemen, the UConn football team welcomes the North Carolina State Wolfpack to Rentschler Field.
Last weekend, the Wolfpack struggled mightily against the Tennessee Volunteers, losing 35-21 in a game played in Atlanta, Georgia.
A large part of the Wolfpack’s struggles came as a result of turnovers. Senior quarterback Mike Glennon was intercepted four times by the Tennessee defense.
But UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni does not expect Glennon to have a repeat of the Tennessee game. Pasqualoni knows that a player of his experience and talent, in all likelihood, won’t make that many mistakes again. He stressed Tuesday that his defensive line needs to put pressure on Glennon just as it did against UMass freshman Mike Wegzyn.
Pressure like that will not be easy to come by. The North Carolina State offensive line boasts four seniors and has seen more than its share of big games.
“This will be by far our biggest challenge,” Pasqualoni said. “We’ll find out a little about ourselves this weekend.”
A big, experienced offensive line from the Wolfpack could pose a problem for a UConn defensive line that is pretty young in some spots.
Though they’ve shown improvement in practices up to this point, many of the younger linemen still have areas where they could get better.
“I think that they’ve got technique to improve on,” Pasqualoni said. “I think they gave effort there and at times they looked okay but they’ve got to keep going from a fundamentals standpoint.”
New UConn starting quarterback Chandler Whitmer had some struggles of his own. He threw two interceptions, both of which were caught in the red zone.
Pasqualoni saw some things that he liked from Whitmer and said that there are certainly things that he will be able to build on.
“I thought he was good in the pocket,” Pasqualoni said. “I thought it was a good first game for him and now we got to go get better.”
Whitmer’s decision-making abilities will be put to the test against a fairly solid group of defensive backs on the North Carolina State defense. They are quick to react and are talented playmakers, Pasqualoni admitted.
While he doesn’t expect Whitmer to react to what the defense is doing, Pasqualoni said that Whitmer is going to have to show better timing and be much more decisive when he makes a throw. Whitmer will also need to be much more careful in regards to where he decides to throw the ball and when.
Something to look out for during this week’s matchup is the Wildcat formation or something else unorthodox from the UConn offense. Last week, the Huskies ran an inside handoff to wildcat Nick Williams.
Williams’ punt and kick return abilities are well-known by now. In the third quarter, he took a kickoff 37 yards and he is always a big play threat when he’s on the field. Plays like that are immensely beneficial to an offense. The coach noted that even a return of ten yards is a first down before the offense even take the field.
Pasuqualoni said that he’d like to see Williams involved in more plays that aren’t necessarily kickoff or punt returns.
“Nick is a talent and I think we can all agree with that,” Pasqualoni said. “We’re trying to put him into situations where he can go one-on-one, especially underneath and in the short game...We just try to get these guys into positions where they can make plays and score touchdowns.”