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.