Welcome back to our semi-regular feature Friends With Bennies, where we sit down with another blogger to talk about their team. Today we have Akula Wolf from Backing The Pack to talk about tomorrow's game with N.C. State. I also answered some questions for them, which you can find here.
TheUConnBlog: Corner David Amerson got a ton of negative press for being repeatedly burnt against Tennessee. How is he going to come back against a UConn offense that has limited (read: no) big play potential? How will the loss of C.J. Wilson affect the Wolfpack secondary?
Backing The Pack: I've seen enough by now to know that Amerson is going to be fine. Surprising though that first game was, I gotta believe that he's going to wipe the slate clean. He's had too much success to let doubts hurt his game at this point.
Wilson's absence will hurt, because he brings a lot of experience to the table, but if there is one area where we could afford a loss, it's probably the secondary. Juston Burris played pretty well against the Volunteers, and Dontae Johnson is a good player as well. Between those two and Amerson, we should be fine at corner.
TUB: Mike Glennon threw four interceptions last week. Was that a product of Tennessee's defense, or a symptom of issues in the N.C. State offense? What is the best way to force the Wolfpack into turnovers?
BTP: It's always difficult to say, but it felt to me like Glennon was just pressing a bit in the season opener, maybe a bit jittery. He's better than that, no question. Which is not to sell Tennessee's defense short, because that group did far more to disrupt our offense than vice versa. I just don't think it was a representative performance on Glennon's part. He didn't have it. That'll happen sometimes.
The best way to force NC State into turnovers is the best way to force any team into turnovers: send a screaming, scary man unimpeded to the quarterback.
TUB: What's the story with Mustafa Greene and Tony Creecy? Looking at their numbers it appears they split the backfield's workload pretty evenly, what should UConn fans expect to see from them?
BTP: They were the most effective contributors against Tennessee, but Tom O'Brien says he's planning to stick with a three-RB rotation, which extends to James Washington. Washington has a lot of experience--he was the team's leading rusher last season--but Creecy and Greene are more talented and far more likely to make a significant impact on the game.
Greene missed the entire 2011 season because of injury, so he's still working his way back into game condition. Creecy was not exceptional as a reserve last season, but he has the potential to change that in 2012. This early in the year, it's really anybody's guess how this rotation is going to shake out.
TUB: Who else on the roster is worth keeping an eye on?
BTP: Wide reciever Tobais Palmer is someone we're going to lean on to make plays. Quintin Payton finished with over 100 yards receiving against Tennessee. Tight ends Asa Watson and Mario Carter caught nine passes between them in the opener.
TUB: Give us a prediction for Saturday.
BTP: I don't have a good feel for this game, so let's say... NC State 28, UConn 20.