Football ready for action; Carey says losses on defense won’t hurt

By Brian Earle

Football was back in the air in DeKalb on Wednesday, when the Huskies took the field in pads for the first time this summer.

The Huskies are coming off an historic season in which they repeated as MAC Champions, defeating Kent State in the MAC Championship, and earned their first ever trip to the Discover Orange Bowl, which they lost to Florida State.

The Huskies will be led by a new coach this season in Rod Carey as former coach Dave Doeren left for North Carolina State.

At this time last season, the offensive line was the team’s biggest question mark due to inexperience. This season, the entire offensive line returns after a strong season in which it developed chemistry and gained valuable big-game experience.

Senior quarterback Jordan Lynch enters this season after becoming the only quarterback in NCAA history to throw for 3,138 yards and rush for 1,815 yards, and Carey said he has gotten even better.

“While his numbers may be not be that, that doesn’t mean he is not better,” Carey said. “Because I can tell you right now, [after] lining up for three days, he’s better… It’s all the little things. His drop, his mechanics on where he’s holding the ball, his footwork on when he’s throwing right, when he’s throwing left, his understanding mentally, where he’s supposed to go with ball, what his reads are. All those things in three days, I have seen improvement on.”

A number of key players have also departed on both sides of the ball. On offense most notably, wide receivers Martel Moore, Perez Ashford and tight end Jason Schepler have moved on.

“I don’t know that you can replace them [Moore and Ashford] one guy for one guy,” Carey said. “But we might be able to do that by committee. We certainly have a lot of guys out there that have the ability to do that.”

The Huskies will look to junior TommyLee Lewis to make plays at wide receiver and will also turn to younger players such as junior Da’Ron Brown, sophomore Juwan Brescacin, sophomore Angelo Sebastiano and sophomore Jacob Brinlee.

Defensively, there are more holes for the Huskies to fill as they lost Alan Baxter, Sean Progar and Nabal Jefferson on the defensive line. They also lost defensive backs Rashaan Melvin and Demitrius Stone as well as linebackers Tyrone Clark and Victor Jacques.

Carey does not expect these losses on defense to hurt and he believes the secondary will be the strength of the defense.

“What I’m calling the strength, I challenge them to it,” Carey said. “It should be the strength of defense, it needs to be the strength of our defense and it will be, and that’s the secondary. You have Jimmy Ward and Dechane Durante back at safety with Dominique Ware in there. Then outside you’re gonna have Marlon Moore, Sean Evans, Marckie Hayes, Jhony Faustin… Right there that should tell you, we have a good group.”

The Huskies look forward to their first game of the season in a rematch against Iowa in which they lost by one point, 18-17.