September 5, 2007

Linebackers need to step up against Maine

STORRS, Conn. - With another mobile quarterback about to step into the confines of Rentschler Field Saturday and a spread offense arranging itself opposite the UConn defense, Danny Lansanah recognizes how important it is for his linebacking corps to be on top of their game this weekend.

He didn't need to be reminded of last season, when the Huskies allowed a trio of dual-threat quarterbacks to run roughshod over the defensive unit. Most importantly, UConn allowed 102 yards and a touchdown to West Virginia quarterback Pat White, who, as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate in just his third season, operates out of a spread offense very similar to that employed by Maine.

"I think it just comes down to running to the ball - all 11 guys running to the ball, swarming," Lansanah said. "If we're all swarming to the ball, [Maine quarterback Michael Brusko] can't beat all 11 guys."

The Black Bears had a high level of success last week against Monmouth, a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly Division I-AA) foe that has won the Northeast Conference championship three times in the past four seasons and compiled a 36-9 record in the process. Brusko finished with 109 yards and a touchdown on the ground for Maine at home Saturday in the 21-14 victory, while tailback Jhamal Fluellen, a Syracuse transfer, ran for 125 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Head coach Randy Edsall said the team will present challenges for the Huskies on the defensive side of the ball because of their offensive formation.

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