UConn doesn't have Donald Brown anymore but the Huskies can still run the football.
No one in the country ran for more yards (2,083), or averaged more yards per game (160.2), than Brown, the first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts. The Huskies rode Brown to an 8-5 record.
But Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon are capable replacements, UNC coach Butch Davis said Wednesday as the 19th-ranked Tar Heels prepare for Saturday's first road trip of the season.
"Both of these kids have real home-run ability," Davis said, complimenting their speed, in contrast to Brown's physical style of running.
Todman ran for 157 yards and a touchdown in UConn's season-opening 23-16 win over Ohio. Dixon, who started in front of Brown before getting injured, added 100 yards on 19 carries.
"Their own coaching staff felt Andre Dixon was better than a guy who went in the first round," Davis said of Dixon, an All-Big East selection in 2007 but fell behind Brown in 2008 because of injuries and suspensions.
Dixon ran for 828 yards in '07 but was reduced to only 37, on nine carries, last year as Brown's caddie.
Todman's an undersized sophomore, listed at 5-9 and 189 pounds, but has more speed than Brown did.
Brown ran for 161 yards against UNC last season but the Huskies got blown out at Kenan Stadium, 38-12.
"They've added some elements to their offense that they didn't have a year ago," Davis said, citing the read option and "pistol" formations as new additions.
Davis is prone to hyperbole when describing UNC's opponent each week, but he's not exaggerating when compares UConn to UNC's opponent in the opener, The Citadel.
"It's a significantly different challenge for our team to go on the road and play a much, much more talented football team," Davis said.
-- J.P. Giglio