No Huddle, No Problem

Senior Writer
Posted Oct 10, 2009


Connecticut changed coordinators this season to jump-start its offense, and veteran coach Joe Moorhead installed the no-huddle.

The Huskies (3-1 overall, 0-0 in the Big East) will put their new offense on display against Pittsburgh (4-1, 1-0) today at 3:30 p.m. at Heinz Field. And it will be going on from kickoff to the final whistle.

"Sometimes, they're in the spread, and sometimes they go under center, but they run the no-huddle all the time,'' Pitt defensive coordinator Phil Bennett said. "It's either stand around or it (moves) fast. From what we've talked about, they have different speeds with what they do.

"With certain personnel groupings, it's very fast. And in other personnel groupings, they double-call it. They look to the sideline (to get the play). So, it's something else you've got to be concerned with, but we're fortunate that we've seen it before this year. And I think (the Panthers) will pick up on it.''

Pitt prepared to face the no-huddle offense utilized by Youngstown State in its opening game, but it's not something the Panthers have worked on this then.

"UConn is doing a lot more of that this year,'' Pitt middle linebacker Adam Gunn said. "You'll see them come up to the line, and then they'll look to the sideline to get the play. So, it's on us to be on top of that to check our (defensive) plays and be ready for them.

"We played against the no-huddle against Youngstown State, but that's about it. That was the only game we faced that offense. It's a little bit faster, but it's really not that big of a deal. We handled it just fine against Youngstown State, and I'm sure we'll do fine against UConn.''

Redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Max Gruder believed that UConn was more varied than some other no-huddle teams with 6-foot-4, 223-pound redshirt sophomore quarterback Cody Endres running the show. Endres has completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Redshirt sophomore Isiah Moore and senior Brad Kanuch are UConn's leading receivers with 11 and nine catches, respectively, for 145 and 133 yards. Kanuch also has a touchdown. Michael Smith has eight catches for 82 yards in three games.

"They do a little bit of everything on offense, run the ball and throw the ball, and they do it all out of the no-huddle,'' Gruder said. "But we've faced it before this season, in the opener against Youngstown State, and we'll be ready for it.''

While the no-huddle offense primarily is used by teams to quicken the pace, UConn can slow things down as well. Either way, the Huskies don't get into a huddle, and they'll run just as often.

While at Akron before UConn, Moorhead helped the Zips to be among 17 BCS schools to rank in the top 50 in rushing (45th), passing (46th), scoring (40th) and total offense (36th).

"Their offense, even though they've changed offensive coordinators this year, they are using a few more varying personnel groups, maybe a few more formations,'' Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. "But they're still committed to running the football. They're the second-leading rushing team in our conference behind West Virginia. They have two running backs.

"(And) both average around five yards per carry, and both average over 90 yards a game. So, they continue to do a great job. You would have thought with the graduation of Donald Brown, who led the nation in rushing a year ago, that there would have been a drop off with their execution or their production or their commitment to the running game. That has not been the case at all.''

Tailbacks Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon, a sophomore and fifth-year senior, respectively, share the rushing duties. Todman has 396 yards (4.9-yard average) and five scores, while Dixon has 368 (5.0) and three.


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