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.