After the firing of Paul Pasqualoni, UConn head coach T.J. Weist decided to make a quarterback change, benching Chandler Whitmer and moving red shirt freshman Tim Boyle past both Whitmer and Casey Cochran on the depth chart. This change was necessary, and it honestly couldn't have come at a better time. With their second and final bye week of the season, UConn gave Boyle two full weeks of taking first team reps to prepare for South Florida.
Boyle will become the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UConn since Dan Orlavsky—the best QB in school history—made his debut on October 6, 2001. The big question fans are asking themselves is what can they expect?
At 6'3 and 215 lbs, Boyle is a good-sized quarterback, although he will need to put on some weight as he still grows into his body at age 19. Coming out of Xavier High School, there were a lot of things to like about the Connecticut native. While he doesn't have the strongest arm, Boyle is an accurate passer who has the ability to read a defense. In addition to accuracy, Boyle has the ability to move in the pocket as he often scrambled for extra yardage during his high school days. However, don't expect Boyle to be a Russell Wilson-type dual threat QB. He does not possess the speed or elusiveness to run the option at the college level, but is talented enough to keep plays alive with his legs at times.
Here's a look at ESPN Recruiting Nation's scouting report prior to this year:
Calm in the pocket as he goes through his reads. Needs to add strength/bulk to his frame to withstand hits at the next level, not a physical player on the run. Carries the ball low in his set up and is not always ready to throw. Does a good job of getting his shoulders in position to throw on the move. Fluid athlete that can make throws without a perfect setup or time. Boyle has a slightly long delivery. Has an efficient enough release to succeed at the next level. Loses some of his height advantage with a low release point. Has good enough arm strength to make all the throws, but does not display an ability to really drive the ball. More of a touch and timing passer with zip.
After originally committing to Boston College, Boyle decommitted and signed with UConn this past Spring. There are a lot of aspects to his game that will excite Connecticut fans who have been starved for a good quarterback for the better part of a decade, but as NFL teams have to deal with rookie mistakes, college teams will have to deal with the mistakes of freshmen. Saturday will be a big day for UConn Huskies football, but temper your expectations—at least for now.