For UConn to improve on last year's 3-9 campaign a number of players are going to need to step up and into larger roles. Offensively, the team has lost a lot of it's O-line experience to graduation, also running back Lyle McCombs and experienced receiver Shakim Phillips transferred. With question marks on the line and uncertainty at quarterback, someone will need to step up for the offense to be successful.
Here's my guess at three players who could break out in the new offense under Mike Cummings, in no particular order.
1. RB Joshua Marriner
Joshua Marriner was redshirted last year but has received rave reviews from Bob Diaco throughout spring ball and camp. Built like a truck and faster than he looks, Marriner won an Iron Husky award for his performance in the weight room this off-season. He is the second running back on the depth chart behind Max DeLorenzo but Bob Diaco recognizes it will be a fluid situation. Right now he says that DeLorenzo is the most complete back on the roster, and I'm inclined to agree, but there will be plenty of carries to go around. I expect Josh Marriner to make his name known by the end of the season.
2. WR Dhameer Bradley
There's a large group of guys vying for targets after two established starters at wide receiver and tight end Sean McQuillian. Dhameer Bradley is a speedster who will play out of the slot and should be a good option on quick routes given the shakiness of the offensive line. If he is able to find himself against a nickel cornerback, or a linebacker, he should be able to gain separation with his breakaway speed and be a playmaker out of the slot.
3. TE Tommy Myers
Tommy Myers is a Connecticut product who redshirted last year but earned his way onto the two-deep depth chart at tight end behind Sean McQuillan. In an offense which will use multiple tight end sets and take advantage of the versatility of this position, look for Myers to stand out as a red zone target and outlet receiver. At 6-foot-5, 238 pounds the uber-athletic, former multi-sport star will be a mismatch for defensive backs or linebackers.
Honorable Mention: LT Richard Levy
Richard Levy was redshirted last year, and now is tasked with protecting Casey Cochran and Chandler Whitmer's blindside. I have to imagine he has shown something significant to warrant so much confidence from HCBD and earn that job over the other, more experienced tackles on the roster.