Pasqualoni likes UConn's young football offense

Storrs - While the UConn football team returns nine starters from last year's defensive unit, including All-Big East tackle Kendall Reyes, the offensive cupboard is a little bare.

They return just five starters, and just one skill position starter in receiver Kashif Moore.

Still, first-year coach Paul Pasqualoni has been encouraged in the early stages of camp.

"There are a lot of good things we've seen on offense," he said.

On offense alone, the Huskies lost tailback Jordan Todman, fullback Anthony Sherman and lineman Zach Hurd to the NFL.

Senior D.J. Shoemate, a USC transfer who ran for 117 yards and a touchdown as Todman's backup a year ago, and redshirt freshman Lyle McCombs shared most of the snaps at tailback on Saturday.

"D.J.'s an older guy, he's been around this," Pasqualoni said. "He's shown production and he clearly understands what he has to do to play. He's been very focused and he's done an excellent job of taking care of the ball."

McCombs, a 5-foot-8-inch, 172-pound redshirt freshman, could be an important change-of-pace back to the 5-11, 219-pound Shoemate.

"He's a very quick and sudden guy," Pasqualoni said.

Moore and Isiah Moore were the two receivers in most of UConn's 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Saturday, while Geremy Davis made the play of the day, a great diving catch on the sideline coming back to a ball thrown by Johnny McEntee.

Receivers Gerrard Sheppard, Tebucky Jones and Malik Generett also made nice catches. Pasqualoni also said Nick Williams will be in the receiving mix.

"The younger guys are really trying to be a part of this," Pasqualoni said. "We're getting some production out of the two older guys (Moore and Moore). Nick is in this, too. He was the leading punt returner in country last year, so we'd like to get his hands on the ball every once in a while."

• Redshirt sophomore tailback Martin Hyppolite, redshirt junior linebacker Jerome Williams and freshman offensive tackle Xavier Hemingway spent most of the day riding exercise bikes and didn't practice because of injuries. Freshman tailback Max DeLorenzo and redshirt freshman Angelo Pruitt were limited. Redshirt freshman Mark Hansson has switched from offensive tackle to tight end.

o.poole@theday.com

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