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.