There is some good news to report on the UConn football team these days outside of the hiring of a new offensive coordinator.
I will get to some thoughts on T.J. Weist later, though from what I can gather the Huskies aren't going to radically change their offense this year.
The one piece of good news is that senior defensive end Jesse Joseph has been granted a redshirt for his senior season and will play next season for the Huskies. This is great news for the Huskies and expected, as Joseph never too a redshirt year. With the loss of Trevardo Williams to graduation, Joseph's return gives the Huskies' defensive line a stalwart player. Joseph is one of the top players in the Big East and an all-around defensive end. He tore his Achilles Tendon last season against Maryland and missed the year. Joseph's return ends one of the defensive end question marks and allows the staff to concentrate on finding another defensive end on the outside with EJ Norris and Tim Willman and others vying for the spot. It hurt not to have Joseph last year, but having him back in 2013 is going to be crucial for the UConn defense.
As far as other returnees, tackle Jimmy Bennett's petition for a 6th year remains before the NCAA. Bennett's petition is a little more complicated as the NCAA has to go over his medical records. But, Bennett has missed two years because of injury after redshirting as a freshman and last year, his 5th at UConn, was the first time he's played any significant amount of action. If he can return, and the school feels it has an excellent case, then that would help solidify an offensive line that struggled last year.
As far as other roster spots, the 2013 spring roster is up and would be seniors Neil Shortell and David Kenney are no longer with the team.
Kenney is remaining in school at UConn and was mostly a special teams player at linebacker. He is going to run track this spring for UConn and could transfer out after graduation to another school and play his final year of football.
Shortell's stay at UConn was brief. He transferred in last year from Butler Community College, same as quarterback Chandler Whitmer, and was used sparingly. Despite a gaping hole at tight end on the roster, Shortell has left the team and school and is no longer with the program.
This is a blow to depth as the Huskies lost Ryan Griffin and John Delahunt, their top two tight ends, and had a JUCO commit, J.D. Krill bail out after not meeting academic transfer standards.
W here do the Huskies go at tight end? Sean McQullian is on the roster and walk-on Mark Hannson appears to have returned to the team after being out for academics last fall.
The Huskies desperately need another tight end and are bringing in three recruits -- Cameron Stapleton (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Tommy Myers (Coventry, Conn.) and Quinn Thompson (Edinboro, Pa.). Playing-time at this position will be quicker for the young guys than most.
Lastly, linebacker Sio Moore is headed to the Senior Bowl making it his second All-Star game appearance. Moore is replacing teammate Trvardo Williams on the roster at linebacker after Williams injured an ankle in practices. Moore is joined by teammates Blid Wreh-Wilson and Dwayne Gratz at the Senior Bowl festivities in Mobile, Ala. Moore stood out in a week of practice at the East-West Shrine game in Tampa, Fla. last week.