Football: Adams, UConn defense expect big things this season

UConn safety Andrew Adams celebrates after making a tackle during the Huskies' game against Temple at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut on Sept. 27, 2014. Adams led the team with four interceptions last season. (Troy Caldeira/The Daily Campus)

There weren’t many highlights for the UConn football team in 2014.

The Huskies finished the season 2-10 in Bob Diaco’s first season as a head coach. They scored just 15.1 points per game and ranked 126th out of 128 teams in yards per game (276). 

However, one bright spot for the Huskies last year was their defense. 

The Huskies’ defense ranked 49th in the country in yards allowed. Considering how much time the defense was on the field because of the lack of offensive productivity, that’s pretty good. They allowed 27.7 points per game. 

And this season, redshirt senior safety Andrew Adams expects something similar out of the UConn defense, and for them to be one of the best defenses in the country. 

“That’s always our goal, to be No. 1,” Adams said at the American Athletic Conference Aug. 4 “So we just work day in and day out every practice, everybody doing their job and doing the right thing to be successful.”

Adams, who led the team with four interceptions in 2014, said that the chemistry he has developed over the past three years with redshirt junior safety Obi Melifonwu has played a key part to their success on the field.

“Our chemistry is unreal,” Adams said. “We hang out together off the field, go to the dining hall together, play video games, work out together in the weight room. Knowing that he has my back and I have his back, that goes a long way.”

Adams thinks that him and Melifonwu can be in the conversation of the elite safeties in the nation.

“We’re just looking to improve on last year and be one of the best safety duos in the country,” he said.

Our chemistry is unreal... Knowing that he has my back and I have his back, that goes a long way.
— UConn safety Andrew Adams on his relationship with fellow safety Obi Melifonwu

Another position to watch out for on the defensive side of the ball is middle linebacker. 

Marquise Vann, who was just named to the 2015 Lombardi Award Watch List for the country’s best down lineman or linebacker, had 105 tackles last year and led the team in that category. But his spot is not necessarily locked up this year. 

Sophomore Matt Walsh, who played in all 12 games as a fullback last season as a true freshman, has provided good competition with Vann for the starting spot.

“Matt Walsh has become a guy to be in that conversation,” Diaco said at media day. “He has taken a whole new step in his preparation and investment. This guy is on his way. Now he’s in the right spot. That’s what he’s always been. This guy can really see the plays.”

Walsh played linebacker at Daniel Hand High School before signing with UConn.

Along with Vann, Adams and Melifonwu, the Huskies also return Jhavon Williams, Julian Campenni, Graham Stewart and Kenton Adeyemi on defense. 

“I think we can go undefeated,” Adams said. “That’s always our goal and I truly believe that. There is nobody on our schedule that we cannot beat so I think we’re going undefeated. Just doing the little things and having 11 guys on the same page will take us to that next step.”


Matthew Zampini is sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.zampini@uconn.edu. He tweets @matt_zamp.