Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What the Big East has to say about the last UConn play

I just got off the phone with conference spokesman John Paquette, who gave me the Big East's view of the final play for UConn in it's 17-13 loss at South Florida Sunday night.

"The passer's back foot was still behind the line (of scrimmage), so when the pass was released. Also, the play would have been reviewed and probably reversed by replay, but since the pass was incomplete the ball belonged to USF anyway," Paquette said.

As for whether Lorenzen was on the receiving end of a late hit, cause for a personal foul call against the Bulls, Paquette added, "Those are all judgement calls. A play like that is a judgement cal and we wouldn't offer an opinion on that."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Called into question

On the Huskies' final play from scrimmage, the play where Tyler Lorenzen was called for an illegal forward pass,UConn coach Randy Edsall provided the Big East with a video of that play. His contention is that Lorenzen was subjected to a personal foul after the throw.

I've reached out to the head of Big East officiating Terry McAulay and hopefully I can give you definitive word on the league's take before the night is out.

Also, I eluded to the Biletnikoff Award. My semifinalist votes went to Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree, BYU's Austin Collie and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin. The final ballot arrived today and the finalists are: Crabtree, Maclin and Oklahoma State's Dez White. Maybe my memory is short, but when was the last time the country had three sophomore WRs like those guys?

Brown no Walker

UConn's Donald Brown is not a finalist for the Doak Walker award, given to the nation's top running back. Michigan State's Javon Ringer, Georgia's Knowshon Moreno and Iowa's Shonn Greene are the three finalists.

“For me, that’s a disappointment because I think he should be,” coach Randy Edsall said. “He’s the leading rusher in the country; he’s up there (among the best). What else would you have to do? Just because he’s not from a big-name school, a supposed big-name school? He has more yards than them, probably more carries (and) more touchdowns; that is kind of surprising to me. That’s the way it is. He’ll just go about his business and keep working hard and try to help his team win.”

Monday, November 17, 2008

Your take

I just submitted by ballot to determine the finalists for the Biletnikoff Award (top WR). I'm not about to reveal my picks ( I will in a few days but don't want to skew the vote) but I want to see who the fans like.

Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
Chase Coffman, Missouri
Austin Collie, BYU
Quan Cosby, Texas
Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Eric Decker, Minnesota
Jarett Dillard, Rice
Casey Fitzgerald, North Texas
Kerry Meier, Kansas
Jeremy Maclin, Missouri

Notice, all but three are from the Big 12.

Larry Taylor en fuego in Canada

Two kickoff returns for touchdowns by the former Husky put Montreal in the Grey Cup Nov. 23.

Is he seeing Orange?

That's what everyone wants to know about UConn head coach Randy Edsall. Is he going to leave for the newly vacant Syracuse job?

Let's look at the facts.

* He spent 14 years there as a player and a coach
* It is, despite what UConn fans may say, a bigger program. Just check out the history.

Let's look at the factors.
*If Edsall wanted to go to Syracuse and move onto another job, a bigger one I presume, he would probably get the same job if he stays put. Why? Because he has to rebuild Syracuse before it can compete and win games. At UConn he's built a respectable program and will have consecutive bowl teams.
* Syracuse would have to make him among the best-paid coaches in the nation. Plus, handle his buyout. Not happening. Plus, Edsall has zero leverage with UConn. He got a new deal a year ago. I do think had the'Cuse come calling then, he would have left. But it was Georgia Tech then. So what it's another Big East school? The state of Connecticut isn't about to give him another raise.
*The most important factor -- he's miffed over not getting the job when the Orange hired Greg Robinson. I can totally see Edsall smiling to himself in private, and he should. Clearly -- Edsall or not -- G-Rob was the wrong call.

Tying in a hot-botton topic of the day, Edsall has said he has no interest. But as he's shown, he's not affraid to lie. He's said as much himself.

Why are reporters, such as myself, in such a tizzy over this? Understand that you, the fan, come to us for news. Our job is to present you the truth of what is going on, no matter if its politics, sports, business or a pet show. Thursday Edsall said it was Zach Frazer or Cody Endres who would start at QB and that he didn't know what Lorenzen could do. He even had Frazer warm up with the first team Saturday night. He knew Tyler Lorenzen was starting. He didn't have to say Lorenzen was starting. He could have said, "Lorenzen is practicing, but right now it's Zach or Cody."

If we are to believe Edsall made the decision based on Thursday's practice, which is generally a walk-through for road games, then the head coach thinks we are all idiots. He says the deciet was an act of gamesmanship. Nevermind that you wasted it on Syracuse, but Lorenzen was a non factor. He passed for 70 yards. 70!!!!

The really point isn't what he lied about. It's that he's done it a few times and we've reported essentially false info as a result. So why should you, the fan, read what we print about your team? There's no way of knowing what is truth and what isn't.

We as reporters should be mad. This isn't a game to play with people's livlihood's, especially in this economy. You want to argue that the press does this with him, but he is a public figure, a state employee. That's part of the job when you coach a football team.

So when Randy Edsall says he's not interested in Syracuse or hasn't been contacted by Syracuse or a third party, etc., do you believe him?

I don't.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vote for the Don...

or another RB, if you choose.

Donald Brown, the electric UConn tailback, is a finalist for the Doak Walker award. It's the annual award given to the nation's top running back. The folks with the Doak Walker award are allowing fans -- yes, fans -- like you to vote on ESPN.com.

It works like this: Whomever gets the most fans votes will receive one actual vote in the balloting. With so many outstanding backs this season, that one vote could make the difference.

So in the spirit of this election year, exercise your right to vote!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another nomination for Brown

In addition to being a finalist for the Maxwell Award (top player) and Doak Walker Award (top running back), the Walter Camp Football Foundation has named UConn's Donald Brown as a finalist for its player of the Year award. He is one of 15 nominees.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lean with it

During this stellar season for tailback Donald Brown, Brown has been a staple of the weekly media sessions. He's also shown a great amount of emotion when dealing with the media. I don't mean banging fists or crying or yelling or anything like that. But he's an expressive young man, who when the Huskies lose, he's disturbed. When they win, he's more affable.

Today, he showed some humor and laughed more than most of my types have seen in three years.

Recalling memories of Syracuse's appeal when he was younger and the legacy of "44s" or star running backs with the Orange, Brown was asked about running backs coach Terry Ricardson, who played at the 'Cuse.

Brown said that when there's been down time in the fikm room, sometimes he pops in old footage of Richardson. There was one game that stood out where Richadson scored against Louisville and then posed by leaning up against the goal post.

The redshirt junior said he doesn't believe that act would fly today, meaning it is far too tame.

Coach Richardson was kicking it old school.

Midweek update

Anyone want to fancy a guess at who is the Huskies' starting quarterback Saturday night at Syracuse?

Right now the only guess that has the odds against it would be Tyler Lorenzen, and his odds are improving -- slowly.

It's still Cody Endres or Zach Frazer -- my money is on Frazer -- and it's still a game-time decision. Endres said he's been working on the basics, something that got away from him in the second half against West Virginia two weeks ago. The three interceptions hurt the most because each led to a Mountaineers score.

Lorenzen looks fine walking around the football complex and is no longer wearing a boot. The screw is still in his right foot, but that hasn't prevented Lorenzen from doing light drills under the guidance of the training staff. He's essentially replicating common movements for quarterbacks such as drops and shuffles. He has yet to get the OK for full-speed running, so that will have to wait at least until later today at the earliest.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Brown named Maxwell semifinalists

Donald Brown was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the college player of the year.

Brown has set new UConn career carries and singfle-season rushing yards records is having a break out season. Despite the consideration, Brown is trying to keep the nomination in perspective.

"To be honest with you, it's an honor, but at the same time, it's unrealistic," he said. "A kid from UConn will never win an award like that. I know it just as well as anyone else – a kid from UConn will never win an award like that."

The other candidates are: Sam Bradford, So., QB, Oklahoma; Donald Brown, Jr., RB, Connecticut; Darryl Clark, Sr., QB, Penn State, Michael Crabtree, So., WR, Texas Tech; Chase Daniel, Sr., QB, Missouri, Shonn Greene, Jr., RB, Iowa; Graham Harrell, Sr., QB, Texas Tech; Jeremy Maclin, So., WR, Missouri, Colt McCoy, Jr, QB, Texas; LeSean McCoy, So., RB, Pittsburgh; Knowshon Moreno, So., RB, Georgia; Javon Ringer, Sr., RB, Michigan State; Zac Robinson, JR., QB, Oklahoma State; Mark Sanchez, Jr., QB, USC; Tim Tebow, Jr., QB, Florida.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Syracuse game time

Originally, the Nov. 15 game between UConn and Syracuse at the Carrier Dome was slated for a noon start. It's been changed to 7 p.m. and will air on ESPNU.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The day after: West Virginia

A few other bits of information besides the update on Darius Butler's condition.

Coach Randy Edsall said he was pretty happy with the special teams against the Mountaineers, and believes that there were a couple of situations on kick returns that had the Huskies gottten the appropriate blocking there might have been a touchdown or two in the cards.

One area Edsall said the team needs to work on is making the opposition kick field goals in situations where touchdowns were scored.

Against a team like West Virginia, the Huskies tried a few different looks on both sides of the ball to put more speed on the field -- an issue that has really haunted the team the last two seasons. Jordan Todman played over Donald Brown (a move I have to disagree with) and Dahna Deleston played at linebacker. The latter move was one that had been discussed in the preseason and it wouldn't surprise me if he sees more time there.

"All it does is puts more speed on the field. I thought we had a great plan defensively yesterday. I thought putting Tywon Martin in there and having Julius (Williams) in at the tackles and Lindsey (Witten) at the ends and Cody (Brown) and Dahna where he was and Scott in the middle and Aaron out there, it just put more speed and athleticism out to play against a team like West Virginia. I thought it was productive for us for the most part."

Ironically, Edsall was happy with how his team stayed away from penalties, but noted that the only penalty came on a 3rd-and-1 and ultimately forced them to punt. If they don't get the call against them and gain the first down in West Virginia territory, it's fair to assume UConn scores.

No decision has been made regarding who will start at QB in two weeks at Syracuse.

“That’s something we’ll evaluate and take a look at and make a determination as we see fit,” he said.

There's no update on whether Tyler Lorenzen can return in time for the next game. My guess is he plays at South Florida in three weeks.

The coach was asked about recruiting players with teams like the Mountaineers in mind.

"We try to recruit the kids that have the academics, tat have the character, the character, the work ethic, the speed and athleticism to fit into our program and we hope we can get the fastest and most athletic guys we can and combine that with the rigors of what the academics are at the university to fit them in."

Butler out 4-6 weeks

The injury to cornerback Darius Butler will keep him out 4-6 weeks, coach Randy Edsall announced Sunday. The injury is being described simply as a "knee injury" that wouldn't require surgery by Edsall. He said that was the extent of what the medical staff want released.

For Butler, this is good news. He won't play until a bowl game, but that he should be OK for NFL workouts is positive.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


There was a lot to not like about today's 35-13 loss. We can start with 28 unanswered West Virginia points -- at home. How do you do that? Donald Brown and D.J. Hernandez's fumbles hurt, as did three Cody Endres interceptions. I noticed the last two weeks that Endres seems to play a decent half but not a complete game. Because of his inexperience, he forgets his mechanics when under pressure and makes mistakes. You won't win many football games with that happening.

I suspect that in two weeks at Syracuse, Zach Frazer will start and Tyler Lorenzen's return may not be too far away.

The loss all but assures the Huskies won't win the Big East. That means a best-case bowl scenario is the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte once again. More likely they end up in Birmingham or Toronto for the games played there.

No official word, but expect Darius Butler to have torn his ACL and have his season end early. Even worse is that this will hurt his draft position since he won't be ready to go to the combines in late winter. Any team that takes him is taking him sort of sight unseen. Scouts have been at games and have game footage to watch but its not the same. Last year, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dave Campo told me you have to see a player run drills live. This injury may have cost Butler millions of dollars. That's sad because he's a great talent.

The drops have to stop. Randy Edsall called out his wide receivers after the game saying he needs someone -- likely a recruit -- to come in and want the ball. I don't know if stick 'em would work with this crop. Kashif Moore, who had the biggest drop of them all, said he thinks the unit as a whole can be that go-to receiver. Sorry, Kashif, but show me one person who has what it takes to do that. There is no swagger a la Keyshawn Johnson, where they say, "Throw me the damn ball."

Finally, let's not give the Huskies' defense a hard time. How much should be expected when they have 30-40 yards to work with. Notice when they had the Mountaineers backed up, the defense was in control for the most part.


Some things you won't read in tomorrow's Bulletin. I guess that makes it semi-exclusive to this blog depending on which other publications run it.

Donald Brown, who had his streak of 100-yard games snapped at eight, passed Terry Caulley as the school's all-time leader in rushing attempts. He's now at 585 carries.

Anthony Sherman had a few career bests: 16 rushing yards, 16-yard run, seven catches and 51 receiving yards.


That's not a Biblical reference, but the amount of time that West Virginia needed to score three touchdowns. Donald Brown fumbled and it led to another WVU score, a three-yard Sanders run. 28-13 West Virginia.

It's over

Unofficially, that is.

Endres overthrows D.J. Hernandez and is intercepted, leading to a Jock Sanders' four-yard score. 21-13 WVU and the UConn offense is in a shell again.

Making the Huskies pay

After Moore's failed catch on the long pass from Endres, UConn was forced to punt. West Virginia, mixing runs and passes, moved down field and scored on short pass from White to Jock Sanders. Had Moore held on, it's 20-7 UConn. Instead it's 14-13 West Virginia.

Deep thoughts

Everyone's been hankering for more pas attempts down field. Endres had Kashif Moore WIDE open down field on the opening possession of the second half. It should have been a 56-yard touchdown. Moore had the ball, but let it slide between his arms for an incomplete pass.

Pushing the lead

Darius Butler had a nice 37-yard kickoff return aided by a sideline penalty and the Huskies got a 38-yarder from Teggart to lead 13-7 with 6:49 left in the half.

That hurts

The Huskies pushed West Virginia back to a 3rd-and-goal from the 24 and barely missed sacking Pat White. Instead, White escapes, get s a block and scores to bring West Virginia to within three at 10-7.


The Huskies drove 80 yards, thanks to three consecutive first down plays, and ended the drive with a Donald Brown 21-yard TD run that saw the back pull, drag and fake out defenders thanks to a stutter step that broke him free of the from the front eight.

Endres has been good, to say the least. He completed 3-of-3 for 24 yards.

Fair start

UConn's defense has come to play. Two West Virginia possessions ended with two West Virginia punts. Noel Devine and Pat White are bound to break for a big play, but right now they've had one god run each (White + 12 and Devine + 11).

The offense, led by Cody Endres looked good on its lone possession. Endres hooked up with D.J. Hernandez on a 17-yarder that would have had the Huskies near the WVU 30. Endres took a licking on the play, but Hernandez ducked after catching the ball and was promptly stripped off the ball costing UConn possession.