Snakebit UConn hopes to stay healthy (Part XX)

By Darrell Laurant  |   Tuesday, July 18, 2006  |  Comments( 1 )

Connecticut Huskies
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Teams on the rebound: Twentieth and last in a series.

For Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, last season was like another book in that apocalyptical "Left Behind" series. Left behind, in this case, referred to all the injured players UConn couldn't take on road trips.

In all, eight starters went down for at least two games, including QB Matt Bonislawski, his backup (D.J. Hernandez) and star running back Terry Caulley. The Huskies were 4-1 at one point in the season, then collapsed to 5-6.

This time around, 14 starters return, including Bonislawski and Caulley, and a lot of young players who were force-fed into the lineup in 2005 now have battlefield experience.

The stumpy (5-7, 185) Caulley is a smart and tough runner when healthy, and Bonislawski has a strong arm. The Huskies' hopes will probably rise and fall on the defense, however, which led the nation after five games last season and returns seven starters.

Defensive end Don Davis is perhaps the best pass rusher in the Big East, DT Rhema Fullers is solid, and all four secondary starters are back.

The schedule is doable, but not easy. The Huskies get West Virginia and Pitt at home, but have to go to Louisville on the final Saturday of the season in a game that might determine bowl eligibility. Moreover, Connecticut is at an awkward crossroads -- the program has now been around long enough that other teams take the Huskies seriously, but not long enough to snag nationwide TV exposure and the resulting blue chip recruits.

Still, under Edsall, it seems to be healthy. Now, if only his key players can stay that way.

- Where else are you going to get original Connecticut Huskies football coverage in July? Get your college football fix at
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