2023 UConn football season preview
UConn's football team experienced a drastic turnaround under new head coach Jim Mora, going 6-6 in the regular season. Offensive lineman Christian Haynes and seniors Jackson Mitchell and Eric Watts were key contributors. The team aims to build on last season's success.
UConn's journey in recent years has closely resembled that of Duke University. Following the sudden retirement of former head coach Randy Edsall in September 2021, the Huskies experienced a significant decline. Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos took charge for the final 10 games of the season, but their success rate was only 10%. However, in November, Jim Mora was brought in as the new head coach, leaving his position at UCLA.
The transformation that followed was remarkable. While they did not become a playoff team, the Huskies managed to achieve a 6-6 record in the regular season under their new leadership. Quarterback Zion Turner performed effectively, and the running backs, Victor Rosa and Devontae Houston, played crucial roles in keeping the offense dynamic. Although the offense was not a powerhouse, averaging only 19.38 points per game, they were able to consistently put points on the board.
One of the key factors contributing to the team's improvement on the field was offensive lineman Christian Haynes. As a 2022 All-American, Haynes played a pivotal role in supporting a rushing attack that averaged 191 yards per game. He has been a consistent starter since 2019. With Joe Fagnano, a transfer from Maine, leading the offense as the quarterback, UConn can leverage their strong running game and the skills of their new signal caller to elevate their offensive performance to new heights.
On the defensive side, seniors Jackson Mitchell and Eric Watts were recognized for their outstanding performances and named to the Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List alongside Haynes. Mitchell, a linebacker, led the team with 140 tackles last season, while Watts, a defensive lineman, recorded seven sacks, leading the team in that category.
Mora and his coaching staff are determined to build upon the success of the previous season. Despite their loss in the bowl game against Marshall, the Huskies have a wealth of talent on their roster and are well-positioned to continue their upward trajectory. With a focus on improvement, UConn is poised to make significant strides in the upcoming season.