Roundtable: Which UConn athletes can help the football team?

The UConn Huskies pictured in their match against Memphis on October 6, 2017. (Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

The UConn Huskies pictured in their match against Memphis on October 6, 2017. (Olivia Stenger/The Daily Campus)

The UConn Huskies have really struggled on the football field as of late, losing four straight games after winning the season-opener against the Holy Cross Crusaders. Defensively, the team is a mess and while the offense can move the ball, it is very turnover-prone as well. Given the success of UConn athletes in a number of sports outside of football, the Daily Campus Sports staff debates which current Husky in any sport could hypothetically help out the football team in this week’s edition of the Roundtable.

Matt Barresi: Staff Writer

Based off the piss-poor results so far, Randy Edsall should be calling every one of his colleagues to ask for spare parts. If Scott Levene is our kicker, do we beat ECU? Could Eric Cobb and David Onuorah get some push on the defensive line? Probably. But it’s evident that where UConn needs the most help is the defensive backfield. For that reason, I have to go with Gabby Williams from the women’s hoop team. Listed at 5’11”, good height for a cornerback, Williams has shown great versatility that the secondary really needs. The 2017 American conference and WBCA defensive player of the year, she can cover players of different physiques and if you have ever watched her play, you know she isn’t afraid of a little physicality, finishing second on the team last season with 66 fouls. Not to mention she plays in a fun manner and has demonstrated a charismatic personality; public relations is certainly an understated capacity the team needs help with. Another thing this new football regime needs? A winning culture. I think Gabby Williams knows a little about that.

Rachel Schaefer: Staff Writer

Charlotte Veitner is one of the best athletes on this campus. In her senior year with UConn Field Hockey, she is part of an undefeated team, no. 1 in the country, and oh yeah, she just broke the program record for career goals scored. This season, she’s already notched four hat tricks. Yes, I said four.

Head Coach Nancy Stevens has said herself that Veitner is capable of scoring from positions most people wouldn’t even think of. She’s fast and smart. In twelve games, she’s scored 19 goals. UConn Football could dramatically benefit from an athlete who plays the game with intelligence, speed and efficiency. This girl’s a machine (and definitely too good for our football program).

Brandon Carney: Campus Correspondent

Two words. Eric. Cobb. Cobb is the biggest (not tallest, biggest) basketball player UConn has had in some time. With his 6-foot-9, 280-pound frame, Cobb would be an ideal addition to a defensive line that could always use some more pressure. He's actually heavier, and of course taller, than both of UConn football's starting defensive ends, Cole Ormsby and Luke Carrezola. While the secondary is what needs the most help, the defense as a whole needs a boost. And who better to help out than a guy who is more mountain than man?

Tyler Keating: Sports Editor

The team needs all the help it can get to shave points off the scoreboard. Why not add a man with freakish leaping abilities to hurdle his way over the line and block some field goals and extra points?

Kwintin Williams, of the men’s basketball team, told media in September that he was working towards a 46-inch vertical. Go on YouTube right now, type in “Kwintin Williams,” and you will see that he does not make that threat lightly. Let’s make him our version of Bobby Wagner. Send him leaping over the line of scrimmage and let him bat down some balls. Maybe return them too. If we can’t get First Night, we must find new ways to watch Williams jump.

Matt Severino: Campus Correspondent

The team has proven they can move the ball down the field and score but, like any offense, there are drives, or days, where it fails for whatever reason.  Unlike the pro game, college teams simply do not have as strong of kickers.  There have been several instances this season where the offense has marched to the opponent's 25 to 35 yard line and been forced to go for it on fourth down. More times than not, they fail. The Huskies are 5-14 this season on fourth down.  This is where the junior forward, Abdou Mbacke Thiam, would make a difference.

Mbacke Thiam currently leads the men’s soccer team with seven goals this season, accounting for more than half of team’s offense.  The former First Team All-Conference member would undoubtedly help the American football team with his strong leg and ability to place the ball in tight spaces.  Instead of risking it on fourth down, coach Randy Edsall could send the Senegalese kicker onto the field.  This would be a simple, yet effective way to end the Huskies’ losing streak and provide a spark that could turn the entire season around.  

Josh Buser: Staff writer

UConn’s leading receiver this season, by a wide margin, is a running back. As great as Arkeel Newsome is, the Huskies need some help at wide receiver. That’s where men’s soccer freshman Austin DaSilva comes in. The forward is having a breakout rookie season for head coach Ray Reid’s squad, and Reid has raved about his athletic ability on several occasions.

DaSilva was an All-State, state champion basketball star at Brookfield High School and it’s rumored that he can dunk at just 5-foot-11. On the soccer field, DaSilva is never one to shy away from contact, going after every header in the box. With his leaping ability and aggressive forward mentality, DaSilva would bring a whole new dimension to UConn’s offense. Not to mention, he would have certainly made the game-tying kick against ECU.

Jorge Eckardt: Campus Correspondent

I was going to say nobody could help this team because they are just so far beyond repair, but if I had to pick someone, it would be either Alterique Gilbert of the men’s basketball team or James Mas of the men’s cross country and track teams. Gilbert may not be one of the biggest players on the basketball court at just 6-foot-0, but size is not everything. Mas is also not very big, but he and Gilbert are both quick and athletic.

Think of the type of effect players like Darren Sproles (who is 5-foot-6) or Danny Woodhead and Cole Beasley (who are both 5-foot-8) have had on the NFL. While small, they still manage to be legitimate threats. They have the ability to make plays with their legs and their athleticism. The Huskies could use a small, quick receiver that is able to get behind the secondary and allow Shirreffs to unleash his cannon of an arm. This would provide a downfield threat that they are seriously lacking. I would also bet that either of them would have been able to make the infamous kick against ECU despite having no prior experience, but it’s okay. I’m definitely over it by now.

Connor Donahue: Digital Editor

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this UConn offense has sort of been fun to watch. Speaking, of course, in relative terms, because last year’s Huskies forgot what the endzone looked like. You know what would make this offense more fun? UConn men’s basketball player Terry Larrier lining up at wide receiver. At 6-foot-8 and 185 pounds, Larrier lining up outside the numbers would be a nightmare for defensive backs. He’d be a constant deep threat for Shirreffs and although we haven’t seen much of him on the basketball court, just take a look at his highlights and tell me he doesn’t have enough speed and explosiveness to be a wideout. With Larrier lining up in this offense, we might actually win some games.