Sunday, December 03, 2006

OK...The BCS bowl selection is fast approaching. Here are my picks:

BCS Championship: Ohio State vs. Florida
Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Southern California
Orange Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Louisville
Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. Notre Dame
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Boise State

The only change I might expect is if Louisville goes to the Sugar Bowl and Notre Dame goes to the Orange Bowl. Wisconsin might replace Notre Dame, but when you consider the money that comes along with Notre Dame, its not likely.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Good job, Dan Murray.

Nothing is more frustrating than when you team benefits from a big turnover and the next play you cough up the ball.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A few Big East coaches are being mentioned for vacancies around the country. West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez, Louisville's Bobby Petrino, Rutgers' Greg Schiano and South Florida's Jim Leavitt have their names tossed about regularly.

Rodriguez isn't going anywhere. He is from West Virginia, attended/played for West Virginia and has Steve Slaton and Patrick White for at least one more year.

Petrino is staying put, also. He probably has the deepest team in the conference and would be hard pressed to match the success he has had with the Cardinals elsewhere.

Schiano seems to be linked primarily to two jobs -- one that's open and one that isn't -- Miami and Penn State. Schiano would be foolish to take on the headache in Coral Gables. Sure, you get talented football players. But what else do you get with that? Penn State isn't even an option yet with Joe Pa still in place. But I do think Schiano's reputation, especially in the Northeast can help bring the Nittany Lions back to prominence.

Then there is Leavitt. He also is being mentioned for the Miami job and Alabama. He built the Bulls into a bowl team (two straight years) and is a rising power in the Sunshine State. Florida, Florida State and Miami have someone else to contend with. If Leavitt heads south to command the Hurricanes, he will take a step back, in my view.

So, don't expect any changes in the conference's coaching ranks aside from a replacement in Cincinnati and I anticipate Pitt dropping the axe on Dave Wannstedt.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hernandez done.

Coach Randy Edsall told reporters today that sophomore quarterback D.J. Hernandez broke his left wrist and will miss the season finale at Louisville Saturday.

Hernandez was placed in a cast today, and will remain so until his wrist heals.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Bearcats kicked a field goal with 10 seconds left to secure a 26-23 win over the Huskies in the season's final home game.
Cincinnati scored on a nine-yard pass, and with the PAT, have pulled even with UConn, 23-23. There is 2:19 left in the fourth quarter.
Bonislawski connected with Brad Kanuch on a 45-yard pass, putting the Huskies up 23-16. Tony Ciaravino missed the PAT.
Cincinnati booted a 42-yard field goal to cut the UConn lead to one, 17-16, with 9:12 left in regulation.
The Bearcats respond to the previous Husky's touchdown with a 28-yard field goal, making the score 171-13 in favor of UConn.
The Huskies regained the lead, 17-10, thanks to UConn taken advantage of a pass interference penalty.
Immediately following the penalty, Terry Caulley ran 12 yards for the first down. Brad Kanuch made a 25-yard reception and Donald Brown broke a 20-yard run, putting the Huskies deep in the red zone.
Two plays later, quarterback Matt Bonislawski connected with Anthony Barksdale for an eight-yard score.
Thanks to poor pass coverage and an unnecessary roughness penalty, Cincinnati was able to pull even with UConn, 10-10, early in the third quarter.
Donald Brown scored on the Huskies' first drive and Matt Nuzie hit a 45-yard field goal to put UConn on top of Cincinnati, 10-3, at halftime.
Matt Nuzie, playing in his final home game, hit a 45-yard field goal to push the Huskies' lead back to seven, 10-3.
The Bearcats drove 82 yards and kicked a field goal to pull with four, 7-3, early in the second quarter.
The Huskies have taken advantage of Brown's touchdown and lead Cincy after a quarter, 7-0.
Brown delivers.

Donald Brown broke a 35-yard run on the game's first play from scrimmage and later scored on a 14-yard run to give the Huskies an early 7-0 lead over the Bearcats.
One last time, for the seniors.

Today the 22 gradutating seniors of the UConn football team will have their final home contest of their collegiate careers.

Expect the Huskies to come out fired up -- with or without a big crowd. Now the question is whether today's significance translates on the field against Cincinnati.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's a weird feeling when you can see the end of the season not too far in front of you. I mean, it's come quickly and in its own weird way, unexpectedly. August seems like it was yesterday.

Back in July I met the team's co-captains for the first time. Saturday will be the end of the road for them. Jahi Smith hasn't played all year, but is still very much part of the team. Allan Barnes has had a quiet year off the bench, but stepped in when he was needed most despite being banged up most of the time. Rhema Fuller is something else. He impresses me each time I speak with him and its hard to imagine whjat next year will be like without someone who is as well-spoken, intelligent and up front leader. Then there is Terry Caulley. The man has been to Hell and back with injuries. Yet, he fights to have one more play as if his life depended upon it. Even after losing hie starting job, he never complained.

I wonder...who will be next year's captains? I have some ideas, but past incidents make it hard for them to follow in the shadow of this season's co-captains, especially Fuller and Caulley.

My picks: Dan Davis, Danny Lansanah and Larry Taylor. My darkhorse is Tyvon Branch. Branch has really shown signs of growth this season.

We'll just have to wait and see who coach Randy Edsall selects.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Good to know the ESPN announcers have already discounted the Huskies. As UConn marched towards its first score, the announcers discussed how UConn and Syracuse were the bottom two teams in the Big East and are only playing for next season, trying to improve upon recruiting.
What a great play by both D.J. Hernandez and Larry Taylor!!!

Hernandez took a licking but was able to get off a pass caught by Taylor with a defender covering him tightly.

It looks like the Huskies are about to score...although I don't like the play calling (Allen run instead of Brown, QB waggle).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You know everyone picks up a nickname here and there. Tuesday Rhema Fuller revealed his nickname... "Primetime." Donald Brown? "Hollywood."

"He's big time now. He'll probably have a reality show if he keeps doing what he's done."

Fuller was asked whether he takes much ribbing from his teammates over his academic accomplishments. He said he can live with it.
"I'll gratefully and willingly take any smart jokes because, you know, I'm smart."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Just in case you cared....

Pitt's media relations department was so certain of the game's outcome that on their post game notes, referred to the game as a UConn loss.
Have you come down from your buzz following the exciting win Saturday night? That was really a joy to watch. I want to echo coach Randy Edsall's sentiment regarding the fans who stayed and those who left. Maybe this win is a wake up call for everyone: the fans, the team, etc. Maybe a good number of fans will make the trek to Syracuse.

Anyone who doubts the chances at bowl eligibility, think again.. If Cincinnati loses this coming weekend and UConn wins, the two teams face off the following week at Rentschler Field. The winner becomes bowl eligible...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Donald Brown's 10-yard run in the second extra period and D.J. Hernandez converting a two-point conversion lifted UConn over Pittsburgh in double overtime, 46-45.
After scoring to open overtime, Pitt rallied with a touchdown on 4th-and-1 to force a second overtime session.
D.J. Hernandez found Dan Murray for a one-yard touchdown pass with three seconds left to tie Pittsburgh at 31 and force overtime.
After a promising second quarter for the Huskies, Pittsburgh has taken control of the game. Tyler Palko's keeper from less than a yard out helped PItt expand its lead over UConn to31-17 after three quarters.
LaRod Stephens-Howling scored on a 26-yard run, giving Pitt the lead 21-17 over UConn at the half.
Huskies quarterback D.J.Hernadez broke free for a 13-yard run, setting up a Donald Brown four-yard score. On an earlier drive, Hernandez connected with Terence Jeffers from 11 yards out for a touchdown.
The UConn football team scored on its opening drive of the game -- a 47-yard Matt Nuzie field goal -- but trail Pittsburgh after 14-3 after the first quarter.

Pitts's Tyler Palko connected with tight ened Steve Buches on touchdown passes of 14 and 3 yards. Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling has 80 yards rushing
"Kick start my heart, give it a start."

Those are lyrics from a Motley Crue song playing over the PA system at Rentschler Field before today's game against Pitt. Rather appropriate. The Huskies are a team in need of a kick start if they hope to play their way to bowl eligibility.

Adam Gorney of and I were on the WTIC pregame show today and we discussed Donald Brown replacing Terry Caulley as the starting tailback. It really got me thinking about Caulley's handling of the situation. Impressive. You didn't hear a peep out of him. He just went about his business. Leadership is a crazy thing. You assume it requires being vocal. You think it requires on-field performance. But you know what leadership requires? The ability to lead by action. You don't have to be the most chatty person or the best player.

Instead, you show others how to conduct themselves. You show teammates how you take car of business off the field.

Terry Caulley, by the manner he handled losing his starting job -- and by no fault of his own -- has set the example. Hopefully the freshmen are paying attention.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sad day for Caulley.

Coach Randy Edsall informed tailback Terry Caulley he will not be starting Saturday against Pitt. Instead, Donald Brown will get the start in what appears to be Edsall's concession the program is looking ahead to next season. Caulley, the program's leading rusher will play Saturday. I don't expect Caulley to see too much time on the field the rest of the way. My guess is he will start the season finale in Louisville.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Just anyone else curious to USA Today ranking Texas ahead of Louisvile. Louisville is higher in the AP and Harris Polls, higher in the BCS rankings and came off a win over the No. 3 team in the country. Texas had to come from behind against Texas Tech. Texas doesn't play a tougher schedule but seem to have more respect.

Look, i'm a firm believer that the Big East has proven with its performance this year (best out of conference record in the country), three top 13 schools and its still treated as the weakest BCS conference. Yes, it isn't the SEC and yes, Texas won the championship last year, but this year, the Big East has proven to be a worthy conference to house a potential national championship team.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tonight is the single-most important game the Big East has seen in a few years. Think I'm overstating the significance of West Virginia-Louisville? There's a reason it is the only college game tonight. There's a reason national media is focused on the game as intensely as they are. The winner of this game becomes a heavy favorite for the national title game, especially if it turns out to be a victory for West Virginia.

This game actually could impact UConn. It's a stretch, but humor me, OK? Louisville loses tonight. And again next week against Rutgers. Three weeks later when UConn visits Louisville, the Cardinals may have already accepted a bowl bid since, with two losses, they would be out of the BCS picture. Just like last year, wouldn't play key players, increasing the Huskies' odds at winning. In that scenario, UConn would have to win two of their previous three games: Pittsburgh, at Syracuse and Cincinnati. Likely? No. Possible? You bet.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

D.J. Hernandez is not the quarterback of the future for the UConn Huskies. I question whether he is the quarterback of today, for that matter.

I am increasingly unimpressed with what I have seen. There are moments of hope once or twice every game, but it seems as if the game is moving too fast for him. There are too many occassions where he seemingly panics, makes bad or ill-advised throws or just does the wrong/worst possible thing at any given moment.

Seeing Dennis Brown under center next season would not shock me. But I don't think, barring some drastic changes, that Hernandez is the man for thre job.

Look, he's got the physical ability and the work ethic. But I don't know if it has all come together upstairs for him. No, I'm not saying he's nuts or mentally incapable. I just think he may be overmatched or just not ready. The way he responds to a pass rush is as if he never saw one in his life. I like D.J. he is usually open with reporters and generally says the right things. I want to see him succeed. But I don't now if it will be at QB.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Final: 24-13 Rutgers over UConn

A blocked punt recovered in the end zone for a touchdown squashed any hopes the UConn football team had of coming away with the upset win. Instead, the Huskies fell 24-13 to No. 15 Rutgers.
Sophomore Donald Brown rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns in place of senior tailback Terry Caulley. Brown's performance brought the Huskies within four before a bothched PAT spelled the beginning of the end for UConn. His first score came on a 65-yard run.
Ray Rice, the nation's second-best rusher was held to 79 yards and a score.
Rutgers also scored on an 11-yard fumble recovery.
Don't call it a comeback.

OK, call it a comeback. I just wanted to quote L.L. Cool J.

The Huskies, behind two touchdowns from Donald Brown, have pulled to within four, 17-13 after three quarters.
OK...I'm curious.

I want some opinions. How many of you at home think the Huskies are playing better tonight at Rutgers than last week against West Virginia? Also, does anyone feel the Terry Caulley era is done five games earlier than expected?

Rutgers 17, UConn 0

Ray Rice has 61 yards and a touchdown on Rutgers' first possession to lead the Scarlet Knights over UConn, 17-0, at the half.
Rutgers entered the game with the nation's second-best defense and lived up to the hype. Manny Collins picked up a fumble for an 11-yard touchdown return for the second Rutgers score. Kicker Jeremy Ito hit a 51-yard field goal to close out the scoring in the half.
Freshman running back Donald Brown started in place of Terry Caulley and has 94 yards. The last four teams to come into Rutgers Stadium have 85 rushing yards combined.
Rutgers recovered a fumble and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown...14-0 Rutgers.
After one quarter...
Ray Rice scored on a five-yard run giving the No. 15 Scarlet Knights a 7-0 lead over the Huskies after one quarter.
Matt Nuzie attempted a 51-yard field goal, but was wide right.
Fullback Brian Leonard made a sick move, something you'd expect to see in a video game. He hurdled corner Tyvon Branch for a first down.

On the Huskies' first possession, D.J. Hernandez and co. looked awful.

Chris Pavasaris booted an impressive 63-yard punt.
Just a few tidbits...

* Rutgers' entrance medly begins the same as UConn's.
* Almost two hours before kickoff and it was louder inside Rutgers Stadium than it has been at Rentschler Field any time during this season.
My 2 a.m. drive to my father's house in New York was entertaining because of the winds blowing my car around. I figured the winds would have subsided by game time. WRONG.

That should make tonight interesting. Although the winds seem calmer than earlier.

FYI: long snapper Martin Bedard dislocated his left elbow in practice Friday.
My 2 a.m. drive to my father's house in New York was entertaining because of the winds blowing my car around. I figured the winds would have subsided by game time. WRONG.

That should make tonight interesting. Although the winds seem calmer than earlier.

FYI: long snapper Martin Bedard dislocated his left elbow in practice Friday.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Some last minute thoughts heading to New Jersey for tomorrow's UConn-Rutgers' match up...

I want to believe the Huskies are capable of the upset. Statistically, there's nothing to support the argument. I guess my only explaination would be, as Rhema Fuller says to describe how he selected UConn over other schools, sometimes "I just know."

Speaking of Fuller, I enjoyed sitting down and talking with the young man earlier this week. Even more, impressive is the opinions of him left in his wake. Add me to the lost because rarely have I met someone so genuine.

From the it's a small world department, one of Fuller's high school coaches, Mitch Brown, now coaches under my high school football and track coach. Both are at different schools than they were when Fuller and I played under our coaches.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I have to laugh. Coach Randy Edsall continues to play the "wait until Sunday" card when it comes to announcing who starts at quarterback against Rutgers.

What are the chances if Rutgers prepared for D.J. Hernandez and Matt Bonislawski starts, or vice versa, that the Scarlet Knights feel like they shot themselves in the foot? We're not talking about a Peyton Manning type opposed to a Michael Vick type situation. The game plan doesn't change, or so Edsall had said when he first switched quarterbacks this season.

Reality is that the Huskies are a ball control team. Hernandez is a bit more mobile than Bonislawski and Bones generally makes better decisions than Herandez (see the reasoning behind his initial benching). Let's say the Huskies use the pass to get out to an early lead. They will eventaully revert back to the run.

But I give Edsall more credit than to thik that whomever he starts at QB is really going to be the difference between a win or a loss. As we've seen time and time again this season, if the Huskies don't execute the game plan and avoid mistakes on both sides of the ball, who plays where will be the least of the team's concerns.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It's becoming old hat around these parts. Another game, another UConn quarterback. Seriously, it seems as if Randy Edsall wishes Billy Cundiff never left in August otherwise he'd have another option to go to.

When you look at the schedule and consider the team's realistic chances at becoming bowl eligible, Edsall has to start looking towards next year. Trust me, that is NOT what Rhema Fuller, Terry Caulley and all the other seniors want to hear. But that's the way of the world. D.J. Hernandez looked better Friday than he had earlier in the season. That's not saying much because he still showed signs of very poor decision making, a trait that insures your team of losses.

The time is now. If Edsall believes Hernandez can lead the Huskies for the next two-plus years, feed him to the lions of the Big East. He already saw West Virginia for a quarter-plus, now comes Rutgers, then Pitt. Eventually Louisville. This is the approach Cincinnati head coach Mark Dantonio took with his team, scheduling Ohio State and Virginia Tech to an already brutal schedule. If you play the best, you get better. Hernandez and the Huskies can't play Rhode Island every week. That is, of course, unless the team wants to return to I-AA status.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Final: WVU 37, UConn 11.

Mountaineers' QB Patrick White dismantles the Huskies' defense for 156 yards passing and 102 yards rushing. He threw a TD and ran for another.
Getting ugly

After three quarters...WVU 30, UConn 3.
D.J. Hernandez has replaced Matt Bonislawski at quarterback fro the Huskies.
Despite an 0-for-7 start by quarterback Matt Bonislawski, UConn football only trails N o. 4 West Virginia 20-3 at the half at Rentschler Field.
Running back Owen Schmitt ran in from one yard out with 20 seconds left in the half to extend the Mountaineers' led to 17.
The Huskies' lone points came on a 29-yard field goal into the wind by new place kicker Tony Ciaravino.
West Virginia sandwiched the UConn field goal with two from Pat McAfee. Mountaineers quarterback Patrick White broke a 45-yard run for a score in the second quarter. White has kept the Huskies' defense off balance, piling up 102 yards on 13 carries to go along with 104 passing yards.
After missifiring on his first seven attempts, Bonislawski completed his next five attempts, including two to tight end Dan Murray, who had no receptions this season.
White Hot!

West Virginia QB Patrick White ran the ball 45 yards on the first play of a possession to give WVU a 13-3 lead.
It's good!!!!!

Tony Ciaravino converted a 29-yardfield goal to tie the game at 3. Who would have guessed a UConn kicker converting a field goal attempt? After the ball split the uprights, the almost capacity crowd at Rentschler Field was possibly the loudest it has been all season.
After one quarter, West Virginia 3, UConn 0.
The Huskies are driving and on the WVU 22-yard line. Unable to pass against the Mountaineers, the Huskies have been successful moving the ball on the ground, outgaining the visitors 47-21 in rushing yards with three fewer carries. Terry Caulley has 24 yards and Donald Brown 19.
You know its on ESPN when...

sausages are served in the press box instead of hot dogs.
The mercury has dipped below 50 degrees and the win is blowing left to right. Throw in the rain-soaked field and you've got some interesting playing conditions for tonights West Virginia-UConn game at Rentschler Field.

Where I think the wind will play its biggest factor is with the UConn kicking game. Don't be surprised if coach Randy Edsall takes a chance on a long field goal if his team has the wind to its back. When they are going into the wind, look for a far more conservative approach. Don't be surprised if UConn chooses to go for it on fourth and five or less inside of the WVU 30 or if they punt to try and pin the Mountaineers deep in their own territory.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sometimes taking the hard-line stance is the only way to go.

After seeing what happened this weekend between Miami and Florida International players, you have to reflect back upon the six players dismissed from the UConn program this season.

It is easy to simply say these are apples and oranges, but in reality the events are similar. They are merely progressions. By Huskies coach Randy Edsall putting his foot down, he essentially said he wasn't about to tolerate the type of behavior that can lead to an unsavory reputation.

Look at Miami. Do people say they are a good football program? Not so much any more. What do they say? Thugs? Hitmen? Whatever it is, it isn't good.

I'm not picking on Miami or forgetting FIU's role Saturday night. But FIU doesn't have a track record.

When Edsall comes down hard on players for something as generally harmless as purchasing beer with the intent to drink, you realize he is laying a foundation. Yes, there had been far worse transgressions that he let go with little more than a slap on the wrist. Why? I don't know. But maybe he realized he made a mistake and needed to set a better example.

When some of the five players who were dismissed complained that they didn't deserve such a harsh punishment, they were wrong. It isn't for them to decide, now is it? They did something they knew was wrong. And just like with little children, if you give them an inch, they take a foot. So what would have been a foot for someone at Storrs?

Let's hope we never find out.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


The Huskies defeated Army today, 21-7 to bring their record to 3-3 on the season. The game, while not the most impressive performance, was exactly what UConn needed -- a win.
After three quarters...

UConn is holding on to its 14-0 lead. New kicker Graig Vicidomino has missed three field goals for the Huskies.

Behind a 98-yard touchdown run by Terry Caulley, the UConn Huskies have jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead over the Army Black Knights at Rentschler Field.
Punt returner Larry Taylor added the team's second score with an electrifying 72-yard return.
Taylor split defenders and raced down the left sideline before cutting back inside past a defender and then again past the Army punter Owen Tolson and into the right side of the end zone.
Despite maintaining possession for nearly eight minutes longer than the Huskies, the Black Knights have only mustered 64 yards against the Huskies' defense.
After one quarter, UConn 14, Army 0

Terry Caulley has a 98-yard run for a score and Larry Taylor returned a punt 72-yards for a touchdown.

In my opinion, the most overlooked element of sporting events is the playing of the national anthem. People shrug, wiggle, squirm, slouch, talk and worst of all keep their hats on during the anthem. It even seems as some sort of necessary evil. But that's just it. It isn't. In fact, it is a big part of what allows us to enjoy things such as football games.

Maybe it is that UConn is playing Army, but It really had the chance to absorb the sound in a way I haven't in years. It isn't that I paid more attention or that it mattered more today or even that the UConn marching band performed better than anyone else. There was a richness in my ears and heart and I'm appreciative for the chance to have heard it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Second time

Today marks the second time this season coach Randy Edsall had to dismiss someone from the team. Five players were thrown off the team after, according to reports, bringing alcohol back to the team hotel in Florida Friday night.
First, let's say this was the right move by Edsall. He is building a program and when you are in your early stages, such as the Huskies are, you can't allow such behavior. Before long it filters down throught the the ranks. This can set a program back years.
But this is the second time this year the team had to discipline players. How many teams do you know of have six players thrown off the squad within the first half of season? Exactly. This is where Edsall and his staff are to blame. They need to bring in a better crop of people. Not just athletes, not just football players, but people. Yes, yes, yes...I know they are 18-22 years old and make mistakes. We all do. But we also know what things can jeopardize the things we do. What are the chances all six players are in college because they want to play football? Chances are good. How can I say that? well, would they be at UConn if they weren't playing football? I'll go out on a limb and say no.
If you are in college to play football, why do something that can take football away from you? This is no different than your run of the mill student cheating on a test. You know you aren't supposed to do it. You know that if you are caught you may get thrown out of school. At the very least, you'll fail the class.
It isn't like there have never been any problems involving college athletes at Storrs or elsewhere. The key here is to find the balance between talent and quality persons.
There are a few at UConn. Don't fool yourself.
If you ever get the chance to speak to Rhema Fuller, you'll understand within seconds why he is a team captain. There are few people in any walk of life who speak so clearly and thoughtfully. Fuller takes his time to make sure anyone who is listening understands EXACTLY what he thinks. He is highly intelligent, and it shows. He carries himself with dignity and shows everyone respect.
If more college football players were like Fuller, not only would the Huskies have no disciplinary concerns, but athletes would have a better name.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I may have been a bit harsh. Maybe.

There have been a couple occassions where I have been critical of kicker Matt Nuzie. Granted, he did deserve it for all of the missed kicks he had over the past few weeks. But you know what? He deserves a lot of credit. Nevermind he is a kicker, and everyone knows kickers get the sideways glances and some even consider kickers less than full-fledged members of a team. But Nuzie, time after time after time, faces the music. He can run and hide. He can make excuses. He can give up. But he doesn't. This speaks volumes about the young man's character.

I don't think he should be starting for the Huskies any longer. I don't even know if he should be given the chance to reclaim his old job from Graig Vicidomino. But no matter what happens between now and the end of the season, Nuzie has handled adversity with class, something we can all learn from.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Last week's loss to Navy does not appear to be a fluke. Coach Randy Edsall said the culprits are lack of discipline and lack of execution. Co-Captain Rhema Fuller says it is his fault, since he is a team leader.

If something doesn't change, the HUskies won't win another game this season.

USF 14
UConn 9

The Huskies are playing better than how they began the game, but there is a long way to go. Matt Nuzie has been replaced by Graig Vicidomino at kicker.
Mr. Inconsistancy.

That would be kicker Matt Nuzie.

He missed enough kicks in UConn's loss to Wake Forest and tonight, he's returned to form.
Nuzie has missed a short field goal and a PAT. I think it is time coach Randy Edsall benches the senior in favor of someone who can actually put the ball between the uprights on a regular basis.
Lineup change

Safety Dahna Deleston was left home by coach Randy Edsall after the sophomore arrived 40 minutes late to a team meeting Friday morning. Replacing Deleston is senior co-captain Allan Barnes.
Some things to consider:

With game time over 3 1/2 hours away, look for a decent cheering section for the Huskies. There are 15 players who have ties to Florida, including lineman Donta Moore.

Moore broke his right arm last week against Navy, is expected to play, but keep an eye on how he plays. Any swelling and soreness in his arm, which is in a padded cast, could impact his effectiveness.

The other thing is humidity. While it is not as muggy as Florida has been known to get -- it is October -- it will play a factor in the second half. If UConn can control the ball, and the clock, they will negate the humidity. ALternately, it may wear on the players, leading to a distinct USF advantage.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

At the Half...

Amazingly UConn has climbed back into this game and are trailing by 10, 20-10.

This game hurts. Seriously, my eyes feel sore from this. Neither team looks like it has a grasp of fundamentals. At one point, up 14-0, Navy picked up penalties on three of four plays and put itself in a first and 35 situation.

The Huskies?
A couple fumbles and lackluster play will put you in a hole.

The highlight thus far? The teams' mascots chased each other around the field. Yes, folks, it is THAT bad.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A change for the better?

That is not clear. At least not yet. With Matt Bonislawski replacing D.J. Hernandez should prove a marked improvement starting with Saturday's game against Navy. But this isn't the long-term answer, nor is it the last time I expect the Huskies to change quarterbacks.

Unless Bonislawski can light a fire under the UConn offense, look for this tio be a short stay. My prediction: Edsall keeps Bones as the starter for five games. That will include the hardest portion of the schedule (South Florida, West Virginia, Rutgers).

Why this plan? Bonislawski isn't returning next year. Edsall can spare Hernandez a series of brutal loses and have him back next year relatively unscarred from a rough season. You give him starts against Pitt, Syracuse, Cincy and Louisville, and Hernandez comes away 2-2.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


That's what the Huskies are. Lucky. To go into Indiana and come away with the win after playing horrible offensively, UConn needs to know they dodged a bullett.

Just as Wake Forest was gifted a win last week at Rentschler Field, the favor was returned today.

I cannot say enough positives about the defense. They stepped up and made the plays when they had to. In fact, they were making plays all afternoon long.

One of the problems I am seeing on offense is the main problem. D.J. Hernandez. Yes, he's only a sophomore. Yes, he's yet to have a full season under his belt. But at what point does coach Randy Edsall say, "no matter how much potential he has, I need to bench him?"

I say this: If there isn't a much-needed improvement against Navy next weekend, it's time for Matt Bonislawski to get a shot a starting once again.

We say it against Wake, Hernandez was picked off on a pass he should have never thrown. That was returned 86 yards for a touchdown. He fumbled the ball inside the Deacons' 30-yard-line and then today, how many mistakes did he make against a subpar defense? What about Hernandez, while being dragged out of bounds inside the Hoosiers' 10-yard line, instead of holding on to the ball and taking advantage of the team's position, he chose to reach for the end zone. What happens? The ball comes loose and Indiana recovers in the end zone.

He has talent. Everyone knows this. But Hernandez does not have to be a one-man wrecking crew. It is not necessary. If he continues to play and play recklessly, the only thing he will be wrecking are UConn's chances at winning games.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Right move

When UConn coach Randy Edsall announced today that saftey Marvin Taylor has been dismissed from the team, I had to say I was glad to see the coach move decisively.

We've seen it throughout college football over the past few years where players have committed transgressions and the penalty has been nothing more than a slap on the wrist. That Edsall made the decision he did, sends a message that the UConn locker room wants to be filled with quality people.

While disciplinary actions don't typically have the impact winning a bowl game has, this is a move in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Arrested Development

Nothing stunts the ability of a college football program to flourish like a track record of players who get in trouble with the law. OK, sure you have exceptions like the University of Miami and Florida State. But guess what? They get to pool talent from one of, if not the richest state talent wise for football. UConn? They aren't even a regional power. They may be the top football program in the state but what does that count for? They aren't getting the best players in the state.

Anyways, before I get sidetracked on a topic I will save for another day....Starting saftety Marvin Taylor was arrested for threft and credit card fraud. Nice.

Before we start throwing stones, let's examine the situation. First off, we don't know if Marvin's family can provide much for him. We know the NCAA has a major issue with student-athletes working, so Taylor isn't earning money. Sometimes young adults in situations where they can get material items give in to temptation. It is sad. This isn't an excuse, but it is reality. Let's also think back to when we were in college. I know there was a great amount of peer pressure to keep up with the Jones'. Once I accepted that not every 19-year-old drives a BMW, my life became far less stressful and complicated.

Look, we don't even know if Taylor is guilty. But if he is, what he did, no matter the reason, it was wrong. If I am UConn coach Randy Edsall, there is only one decison to make in the event Taylor is proven guilty of the charges against him -- remove him from the team and make a statement loud and clear for anyone interested in becoming a Husky.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

There's reason for concern today.

Starting center Keith Gray will be out 2-3 weeks with an a shoulder injury. A reason this is so significant is three-fold.
1). The center is usually the guy who calls out blocking assignments and really has to be the well, center, of the offense. While he never scores, the center is vital to any hopes a team has.If you don't have a solid center, your entire scheme will be thrown out of whack.
2) Before the season began, coach Randy Edsall told the Bulletin his biggest area of concern was depth on the offensive line. That depth will be put to the test. It is a very young unit. Gray is a sophomore. His replacement is a redshirt freshman. The schedule is about to get a lot togher for the Huskies. Thye o-line is going to have to gel and fast.
3) The running game. This has been the one area offensively through two games that UConn has been able to depend upon. If the o-line falters, so will Terry Caulley and co.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Halftime: Wake Forest 14, UConn 13

The Huskies' defense has looked fine. D.J. Hernandez and the offense, not so much. Hernandez has been sacked four times, including twice on the final possession of the half for the Huskies, he has lost a fumble and threw an 86-yard interception returned for a touchdown.

On a bright note, tailback Terry Caulley set the school's all-time rishing record with a one-yard scamper in the first quarter.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I have been spending so much time, at least mentaly, trying to assess how Wake Forest's offense matches up with UConn's defense. Maybe I've been going about this the wrong way. The equation might have been backwards.

The Demon Deacons gave up 367 yards to Duke. Duke!!! Listen, this isn't basketball. Duke is not considered a solid team. Part of the problem Wake Forest faced last week was undisciplined play. They had five interference calls called against them. I have to think a team with several returning players on defense -- mostly seniors -- that they should play more focused.

How much does a new QB playing on the road influence the game? Plenty. I don't know if Riley Skinner will handle playing at Rentschler Field. I suspect he will complete less than 50 percent of his passes and throw at least two picks.

One of the concerns I've had was the way UConn defended against the option. Wake ran the option once against the Blue Devils. It turned into a loss of eight yards. OK, so we shouldn't expect to see too much of that tomorrow, but Wake will run and run often.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I've decided...

  • This is the most important game of the year for the Huskies. At least until next week.
  • This is the game Terry Caulley breaks the all-time school rushing yards record. With that, we truly appreciate and grasp the what-could-have-been greatness.
  • Saturday is when we see how much the defense -- in particular the secondary -- learned about assignments and defending the run.
  • That we find out if UConn is a rising middle-of-the-pack team or a team trying to rise to the middle of the pack.
  • If Rentschler Field isn't jam-packed Saturday, we shouldn't expect it to be the rest of the season.
  • Terence Jeffers will make a big play.
  • Danny Lansanah puts a hurting on some unsuspecting player who crosses over the middle.
  • The Huskies should win.

Monday, September 11, 2006

What to expect?

I couldn't begin to tell you. What I do know is that Wake Forest is looking for its first-ever 3-0 start after beating Duke on Saturday. What stands out in my mind, though, is the Demon Deacons' quarterback. Their starter, Benjamin Mauk was injured, and in his place redshirt freshman Riley Skinner led a hungry Wake squad to the win. In the process, Skinner was named the ACC's rookie of the week. He was 22-of-29 235 yards passing and a TD.

Is one game enough for the Huskies to prepare for a different look? I think so. The Huskies have a veteran defense that knows how to take advantage of inexperienced players.

This is also very important in terms of the course of the season is concerned. UConn cannot afford to hit the road next weekend in Bloomington, IN., and have a .500 record. The Huskies look to be a boderline bowl team, so every win or loss could make or break the hopes of Husky Nation.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Making the most of the week off.

Maybe I should refer to the two-plus week hiatus between games as such, a hiatus. Not that it is a bad thing to have.

Getting all worked up and excited to start the season only to have to take a step back can be emotionally draining. There is a certain energizing factor that you can't get back. The fact the Huskies resume play at home against Wake Forest is a good thing. I only hope the crowd is much better than it was against Rhode Island. There had to have been at least five thousand empty seats.

Was it because the game was televised? Was it because it was the first weekend of school? I couldn't tell you.

Anyway, before I get off course....

There are drawbacks a plenty to why having a bye week after your first game is a negative. but after hearing coach Randy Edsall discuss his general unhappiness with the defense and special teams, you have to think they will be much more prepared.

The Demon Deacons are no pushover. While they haven't been a power in the ACC, they are a competitive bunch who have played tough opponents week in and week out. Look, they beat Syracuse, which may not be saying much, but you know Wake is not worse than the least of the East.

Let's hope UConn uses this time off wisely.

Friday, September 01, 2006

An exciting start to the 2006 season for the UConn Huskies Thursday at Rentschler Field.

Sure they were facing a lesser opponent, but the truth is you can only play who the schedule gives you. Of course, the Huskies have a say in whether they play Rhode Island or someone of a higher caliber. That is not the point.

I thought the offense, which seemed to have the biggest question marks, performed as well as could be expected. Coach Randy Edsall was concerned about depth on the o-line and whether his wideouts were able to get the job done. Both showed they are capable and have potential. Obviously Larry Taylor makes a big difference. He may not be your prototypical WR, but he has good hands, is fast and can make defenders miss. One of the freshmen, Terence Jeffers, impressed me. I thought he ran his routes well and will become a factor before long.

The running game was incredible. Top to bottom, everyone contributed and it had to make Edsall feel good when he thinks about the eventual off-game players eventually have. To have four solid options is a luxury few teams have.

Defensively, I have to agree with the coach. There was some suspect play from his secondary, which was a strength last year. In my opinion, the defensive backs were too busy trying to make plays happen then let the plays come to them. I don't care what level of football you play or how much talent you have; you can't do that. If this was Cincinnati, think about that, Cincinnati, the Huskies would have gotten burned frequently.

The d-line did a good job, often getting penetration and applying pressure on Rams QB Derek Cassidy.

What I am interested to see is how this team responds with two weeks between games.