Thursday, October 30, 2008

Huskies' academic success honored

The UConn football program has been honored by the American Football Coaches Association for its graduation of student-athletes as part of its Academic Achievement Award program. This is the fourth time in six year (2003, 2005, 2007) that the Huskies have received this notation.

“We are happy to be recognized by the AFCA for our graduation rates once again," head coach Randy Edsall said in a release. “This is a great credit to our players and to Ellen Rennie and her staff at CPIA (Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes) which works so diligently to help the student-athletes here at the University of Connecticut.”

Established by the College Football Association in 1981, the Academic Schievment Award program recognized CFA-member Football Bowl Subdivision institutions with high graduation rates among members of its football team. When the CFA disbanded in 1997, the AFCA stepped in to present the award and conduct a graduation rate survey that encompassed all members of the FBS.

This year's award marks the first time the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) formula has been used to select the winner. From 1981 to 2007 the award was presented based on a formula used by the College Football Association and the AFCA.

Monday, October 27, 2008

O' Canada

The Huskies go back to the land of the Maple Leaf once more in recruiting. Canadian contributors this year have been Mo Petrus and Martin Bedard. This time, defensive end Jesse Joseph out of Vanier College in Quebec, according to

Joseph is Vanier's defensive captain and leads teh team with four sacks. Vanier is the same school that produced Petrus and former Husky Shawn Mayne.

Here is the article I wrote in August on UConn's forays into Canada.

Teggart honored

After his four-field goal game against Cincinnati, Dave Teggart was named the Big East's Special Teams Player of the Week. It's a nice start to his career, thanks to the four kicks, one of which was 47 yards into the wind.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Record breaker

Donald Brown is now UConn's single-season rushing yards record holder with 1,324 yards. That's with four more games to play.

Critical call

Call it conservative, but going for 3 on 4th-and-inches from the goal line is the right call especially after taking the delay of game penalty. The field goal makes it a two-possession game for Cincinnati, which is down 26-16. Dave Teggart has four field goals for UConn.

The kick was made necessary after a review negated a Donald Brown 5-yard run on a direct snap. The call was he was down at the half yard line. Another run on third down failed, setting up the field goal.

Dave, Dave he's the man

Dave Teggart's 47-yard field goal into a strong wind was as impressive of a kick as any I've seen in a few years. It reinforces the decision to start him. Three field goals and two PATs on the day make him the offensive star.

Huskies strike back

Jordan Todman helped put the Huskies back on top witha two-yard run to his left.

It was set up by a sweet 34-yard pass to Michael Smith. On 2nd-and-10 from the Cincy 39, Cody Endres checked off his receivers and had plenty of time to find Smith, who ran a great route from the left to make the catch over the middle of the field.

Dave Teggart's PAT has UConn up, 17-13.

New QB

Cincinnati came out of the break with a new QB -- Chazz Anderson, who started when today's starter Tony Pike was out with a broken arm.

Donald the great

A two-yard run, but he ran to the right eluded Deangelo Smith's tackle attempt by hurdling the defender then diving for the end zone. The Huskies are looking good. Zach Frazer may want to transfer again.

Big, bad Cody Brown

Brown sacks Cincinnati QB Tony Pike, then on the next play chases him to the sideline and forces a fumble that goes out of bounds putting the Bearcats in a 3rd-and-28 situation from the Cincy 2.

Making up for lost yardage

An illegal block call wiped out a 25-yard run by Donald Brown (who had one yard against Cincy last year), Endres found Brown on a screen pass that picked up 24 yards.

The drive stalled bringing out Dave Teggart for his first FG attempt. It's a 26-yarder that sailed through the uprights.

A small victory

After the blocked punt gave Cincinnati the ball on UConn's 15, the Huskies held the Bearcats to just three yards and a field goal.

It's something to build upon, but right now the Huskies must show it can move the ball. Try handing Donald Brown the ball. Sure, Cincy is stout against the run but you have to try and se if you can loosen up its defense. My guess is Randy Edsall wants to complete a pass before he runs. If that's the case, it will be a while before there's a run. Between bad throws, bad blocking and good defense, it can get ugly.


Cincinnati blocked UConn's first punt attempt after Cody Endres feebly tried passing on every down. On the blockd punt, punter Desi Cullen had to be helped off the field. Cincy takes over on the UConn 15. I smell a LOOOOOONG day.

And the quarterback is...

Zach Frazer warmed up, but Cody Endres is starting.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Coaching rumors

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Huskies coach Randy Edsall was contacted by a third party, hired by Syracuse, as it begins a coaching search in advance of firing Greg Robinson. Edsall is a logical choice being he played and coached at Syracuse.

Edsall denied the report Wednesday, saying he "doesn't deal in speculation."

"I just want you to know and everybody to know I haven't been contacted by any college, any university, the NFL or any person regarding any job," Edsall said.

The Times' piece said Edsall may be cost prohibitive to Syracuse because he has a $1 million buyout, plus Robinson has a buyout, then add on at least $1.5 million (Edsall's current salary). That's a whole lot of cash.

Outside of that consideration, I don't see him taking the job. Edsall won't say it because he loves Syracuse and it holds a special place in his heart, but he is upset he wasn't offered the job when Robinson was hired.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tony kicked to the curb

There's a new kicker in town and his name is Dave Teggart. While Teggart isn't new in the truest sense of the word, he is new in the fact he hasn't kicked for the Huskies yet. The decision came down today when coach Randy Edsall announced the move at his weekly presser.

A few thoughts: Congrats to Teggart, he's a good kid. You can tell he was a bit nervous talking to reporters today because he probably never had a 10-15 grown sweaty, overweight men surrounding him like a piece of meat. It sounds worse than it is.

Anyhow, on the flip side, Tony Ciaravino, I think is paying for the sins of the father, or at least the offense. It's really easy to say he cost the team the game against Rutgers with three missed field goals. But is that really why this change is happening? Randy Edsall said, "Those two guys are very, very close. There’s not much difference at all." So why make the change? Change for the sake of change is never good.

I think it's easier to sacrifice one lamb than feed the entire flock to the wolves. That is what's happening. To his credit, Ciaravino is taking the demotion like a champ. If you recall, Ciaravino was Matt Nuzie's backup and when Nuzie struggled his senior year, he wasn't a big fan of talking to the press. He was a little temperamental, which is understandable. Toward the end of that year, he really opened up a bit and showed strong leadership by example. Ciaravino saw that and walked the walk, if you will from Day One. It's one of the reasons he is liked by everyone.

So you don't want to say that Rob Ambrose's play calling stinks? OK. I can respect that Edsall doesn't want to stab his coach in the back. Then take the blame yourself. No, can't do that. Instead, demote the kicker, who won't play a game past December, mess with his head and it looks like the 12-10 loss falls squarely on Ciaravino's right foot.

On the QB front, Edsall said that Zach Frazer has a "head injury," refusing to call it a concussion. You can have a nail stuck in your head, have it removed and possibly still play a few days later. That's a head injury. A concussion is far more serious football-wise because of the long-lasting ramifications. Don't expect to see Frazer Saturday against Cincinnati. Look for Cody Endres, who played a bit against Hofstra, to start Saturday. If he plays well, Frazer may want to look into transferring again. According to Edsall, nothing new will be announced until Thursday.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Randy Edsall is at it again. He has made all of his quarterbacks off-limits at tomorrow's media press conference.

Not that this should be a surprise considering the coach doesn't like hearing anyone second guess him. Right now it's, if you haven't coached who are you to say anything. Of course, if a high school coach or a non BCS college coach questioned his calls, the response would probably be they hadn't coached at his level.

This is all too much. I understand the desire for control as a head coach. but Edsall makes BIG bucks and avoiding the reality of his situation (bad playcalling) isn't going to make the questions stop. All he's doing is putting pressure on himself and his team.

"Fuzzy" Frazer doesn't practice

Randy Edsall said Monday that redshirt sophomore Zach Frazer didn't practice Sunday. He'll know more tomorrow, but in the event that Frazer can't play Saturday, Cody Endres, the third-string QB, will take the snaps against Cincinnati.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Not a happy camper

Randy Edsall is usually a mild-mannered football coach. You know he is passionate and you know he wants to win. But when things go wrong — as they did at Rutgers Saturday — he should have known questions about play calling were bound to pop up.

They did during his day-after conference call. But this time Edsall took exception to the notion of the Huskies' offense being "Conservative."

“You call it conservative, I call it trying to win games,” Edsall said Sunday.
“If you’ve ever coached, the object is to win games,” he continued. “If we need to throw the ball, we’ll throw the ball. If we need to run the ball, we’ll run the ball. We’re going to do the things that we think are important to win the ball game, we’re going to do the things we feel to win the ball game. (Saturday) we did the things to put ourselves to win the ball game; we just happened to not win the ball game.”

He went on to say that he doesn't need to explain the logic, but frankly, after two straight losses that featured special teams mishaps, the passing game is spotty because of inconsistent play by the receivers and the running game has been expected. I wonder if using more two-back formations with Donald Brown and Andre Dixon might help, if for no other reason as creating a guessing game and/or use them as receivers.

Edsall sarcastically said they will throw 50 times against Cincinnati Saturday.

That may be a problem as quarterback Zach Frazer is "fuzzy" after taking a hit or two late in the game. By all accounts, it sounds as if Frazer is concussed, but the coach said he didn't have any more details. That's not true. If your quarterback is "fuzzy" after a game, there's no way you don't know. At any rate, Edsall will give an update Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back in the saddle again

It's been a couple of weeks since my last posting here, and now that the first bye week is over and done with, let's get caught up on the happenings today from the Burton Family Football Complex.

Zach Frazer met with reporters this morning before coach Randy Edsall. Frazer is feeling more confident and comfortable with the offense, saying the playbook is "wide open" to him. Center Keith Gray echoed Frazer's evaluation, noting that his apartment-mate wasn't down more than anyone else after the North Carolina loss, but that Frazer took the defeat as added motivation.

"Things are going good. ... I feel like I'm fitting into the offense more and more each day," Frazer said.

The redshirt sophomore philosophised that feeling good in practice and away from the field translates into how you feel and play during games. There has to be truth to that statement, nothing of an absolute nature, but certainly its encouraging.

Darius Butler, who plays on both sides, said that Frazer has looked good in practice but emphasized it is only practice and that "everyone looks good in practice."

I'll dish Edsall's words on Rutgers until later. He did have some nice tidbits...

Asked about whether Butler's play at corner has led to teams throwing more toward Jasper Howard he said, "I think that some people have a tendency to throw away from where Darius is, which would put a little more pressure on Jas. I think he's responded well to it. He has to understand that when you have a guy like Darius that people might tend to stay away from him and go after the other guy because he's the new guy on the block. I think he's responded well, He;'s got to get better; he's nowhere near where we want him to be or where he wants to be. he's making progress the more he plays, he's just got to get better with fundamentals and doing the technique exactly right. He's not a big guy, so if he can play his technique the right way all the time he has a chance to get better each game and each year."

Asked about former Husky Dan Orlovsky's play in his first career NFL start for Detroit against Minnesota, Edsall sent his former star a text message after the Lions' loss. Orlovsky committed a blunder when he ran out of the end zone for a safety against the Vikings.

"He never did that while he was here. I felt bad for him. ... I told him not to let one play get his confidence down. I'm sure he'll never do that again."

Everyone was asked how they spent the bye week. Rob Lunn went apple picking with his girlfriend, Frazer went to Boston with his girlfriend, who was visiting, Donald Brown went home for a day. Edsall had the chance to see his son, Corey play football Saturday night and checked out the new film, "The Express."

Being a Syracuse graduate, Edsall had a little more perspective on the film than most would have. That wasn't what stood out to him, however.

"I thought it was a good movie. ... To me, it was too long in the making. For kids nowadays, I don;'t think they can relate to the time frame in terms of when that took place. To me, with what Ernie Davis did, that should have been made 20 years ago.
"There probably as much football, but the racial situation he had to confront during those times. It's just interesting to see the way it was."

It doesn't happen too often that something other than football is discussed at these pressers. But that was a nice, brief break. It was followed by a great question asked by Desmond Connor of the Hartford Courant regarding Edsall's stance on his players being outspoken on various issues.

"I think if people have a cause or if they feel strongly about something, I think they should go ahead and pursue or be active in whatever role they want to partake in supporting that cause or bringing attention to that cause but understanding they can't let that affect what their jobs are. That's to be a student and to be an athlete, first and foremost. If they have the time to do those things and not affect those other areas, I'm all for that. If you are going to be involved or champion or be an advocate for certain things, then you need to make sure you are thoroughly prepared to discuss those issues and be able to have your points to get out. I never want to see one of our players do it be the seat of their pants or a fly-by-night thing because then it turns back the other way against them. If you feel strongly about certain things, in this country, you have that right to be able to express yourself. As you express yourself, make sure you have all your ducks in a row and your prepared to discuss it and handle any questions that come back at you. I think that's all part of the growing process, that's all part of the total person philosophy that we have within our program. We want to develop that. When they leave here, the majority of them are not going to the NFL. They're going to go out into all walks of life and you better be ready to communicate, you better be able to stand up for yourself. If you have that forum, if you have that platform while you're in college, just do it the right way and handle it the right way."

That's it for now. In the next post, we'll see what Rutgers coach Greg Schiano had to say, as well as Donald Brown, Darius Butler, Cody Brown and Keith Gray.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tickets becoming rare

Wanna see the Huskies take on Cincinnati on Oct. 25 at The Rent? Too bad, it's sold out.

What about the early November meeting with West Virginia? Ha! That's sold out, too.

What does that mean? You either have to find a loving friend who has a ticket to spare or buy one for the season finale against Pittsburgh.

Ticket sales such as these are showing an increase in interest in the Huskies. How much that means people will be in their seats for the start or if they ever leave the parking lot, I don't know. However, this is a good step forward. The next is selling out the Pitt game. Then selling out the entire home slate before the season begins next year.

Time is money and money is time and athletes aren't paid!

Huskies coach Randy Edsall refused to allow new starting QB Zach Frazer to speak to the media Tuesday. He said 10 minutes of Frazer's time would prevent him from preparing for North Carolina. You know how ridiculous that sounds, right?

“The young man is making his first start this week,” Edsall said. “The only thing he needs to focus on is trying to get himself ready for the game and to play the best game that he possible can. It’s my prerogative as the head coach to protect my players and to allow them to prepare the best way that I feel possible for them to be successful.”

Edsall justified the action by saying Frazer was appreciative of the move. Maybe he is. I don't doubt it. Here's the catch: If Frazer stinks Saturday night, this bit of posturing blows up in Edsall's face and takes Frazer down with him. He may believe that the attention and focus has shifted off of Frazer, but it hasn't. All Edsall has done is increase the magnifying glass that his redshirt sophomore will be viewed under.

Furthermore, Frazer has been in the program over a year -- he knows, or should know the playbook. It's a bigger issue if that's why Edsall kept him away from reporters.