The offensive line and the running game.
You can't have one without the other and UConn's 2015 season will rest on the play of the offensive line and the run game.
For the third straight year, and the third time in five seasons, UConn will have a new offensive line coach.
Mike Cummings, who served as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, will take over the offensive line duties and try and get the unit up to snuff. Head coach Bob Diaco brought in another offensive line and run game guru in Frank Verducci to be offensive coordinator.
It's clear where UConn's need and development rests at. There are long-term answers in the program and finally numbers thanks to recruiting. But for ready made players? There aren't a ton of options.
Things are off on the wrong foot already with the loss of Ryan Crozier for the season with a knee injury. Crozier was slated to play center and was one of the Huskies top linemen in camp.
So where do the Huskies go?
At center, there is redshirt freshman Dan Oak and junior Kyle Bockeloh to backup. That will be camp battle No. 1. Bockeloh has been in the program for four years while Oak nearly was pushed into action as a true freshman. Oak has impressed the staff, but according to the spring roster was 6-3, 278-pounds, which would make it difficult for a size standpoint to be the incumbent. How far he comes along size and strength wise could determine the position.
The Huskies could also move a guard inside, such as Branden Vechery. The loss of Crozier is a big blow to the line right out of the game.
The tackles are set with Richard Levy at left tackle and Andreas Knappe at right. Dalton Gifford remains as a swing player who can play both spots. The Huskies will remains with Tyler Samra at one guard slot and Tommy Hopkins came out of the spring as the leader at the other guard spot. There's plenty of competition there from Vechery to Zach Rugg and Kyle Schafenacker as well as Trey Rutherford. Steve Hashemi, who also played some tight end for the Huskies, is a long-term answer at tackle.
The unit has struggled for five years and hasn't been able to duplicate the success it had under Randy Edsall the decade prior. Perhaps Cummings and Verducci can get the line back to the dominating physical presence that it was when it beat the likes of Notre Dame and South Carolina and churned out 1,000 yard rushers yearly and the occasional All-American.
The development projects on the line are excellent. The staff brought in a handful of offensive line prospects led by Bryan Cespedes and Matt Peart, a pair of 6-5 and taller linemen who are athletic and have the build to grow into plus 300 pound linemen with strength.
That's for the future. The immediate is finding a center who can make the calls and developing a pounding run game that can take the pressure off a shaky quarterback position and young receiving corps.
UConn's offense was ranked 123rd in the nation a year ago. Nearly all of the problems came on the line. Plays couldn't get started and there were no holes in the run game, much less time to pass.
It got better as the year went on, but if the Huskies are going to improve in 2015 the line is going to have to improve by leaps and bounds.
Editors note: Added Trey Rutherford to guard contention. Oversight on my part. He has a real chance to start and with Tommy Hopkins a major piece into the future.