This is the first part in a series of football season preview articles by campus correspondent Luke Swanson taking a closer look at some of the opponents UConn will be facing this season.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”
– Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”
UConn football might not have a hundred games this year, and they may want to fear the result of some of them, but Sun Tzu’s message nonetheless rings clear. For my UConn football preview series I’m going to focus on, in my opinion, the best or most interesting player on each team the Huskies face in the 2017 season.
ECU’s Jimmy Williams has huge shoes to fill, as FBS career receptions leader Zay Jones, one of the best wideouts in school history, departed for the NFL last year. However, he has more than enough physical talent to help him along the way.
Williams runs a scorching 4.44 40-yard dash, which along with his 39.5” vertical leap, allowed him to be highly effective against American secondaries. Williams averaged 18.2 yards per catch, leading the conference in 2016 despite sharing the field with one of the best receivers in conference history in Jones.
Williams’ breakaway speed was on full display when he took on Virginia Tech, even though the rest of the team got flattened along the way. Williams made Virginia Tech’s former freshman All-American cornerback Adonis Alexander eat his dust on his way to scoring one of two touchdowns he had against the Hokies.
Williams’ blazing speed will present a match-up issue for any team in the American, but this problem is magnified against UConn, which returns only one starting defensive back for the 2017 season.
First year defensive coordinator Billy Crocker can look to star cornerback Jamar Summers to cover Williams, but others in the unit will have to step up if UConn hopes at all to contain ECU’s passing attack.
Luke Swanson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org