September 3, 2007

Know The Foes: Maine Black Bears

Throughout the season, UConnReport.com will be providing fans a quick primer to get acquainted with the coming week's opponents. With the Huskies opening their season against Maine Saturday at 7 p.m., here are the basics for an understanding of the Black Bears.

The Basics

Maine's record: 1-0
Conference standing: T-1, CAA North Division
Head coach (record at school/season): Jack Cosgrove (77-83/15th season)
Primary offensive formation: Spread
Primary defensive formation: Multiple
Three to watch on offense: QB Michael Brusko, TB Jhamal Fluellen, LT Shawn Demaray
Three to watch on defense: LB John Wormuth, DE Jovan Belcher, DT Bruno Dorismond

Scouting Report

What is Maine's strength? Maine is a team that, much like the more-popular West Virginia, runs the spread offense and utilizes a mobile, dual-threat quarterback (Brusko) to be the game changer. After opening up the passing game and spreading the field with several receivers, the Black Bears get the game going by turning to their running game, confusing the defenses and eliminating the linebackers from the equation.

What is Maine's weakness? Experience. Brusko, a sophomore, made the first start of his career last week against Monmouth after the Black Bears lost their four-year starting quarterback, Ron Whitcomb. The team does return eight starters on offense and seven on defense, but many of the offensive skill-position players are underclassmen and the secondary is primary juniors or sophomores.

What should UConn fans know about the offense? The spread offense in itself is designed to create unique match-ups in the secondary, utilizing several receivers to force the defense to play in a nickel or dime formation and try to beat the defensive backs in a one-on-one situation.

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