Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jazz, Huskies honored

I'll start with word of the team being nominated for the 2009 FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award for the strength and determination it has showed in light of Jasper Howard's murder.

Each week, the Football Writers Association of America nominate a team or player who best exemplifies courage. The winner will be announced at the end of the college football season.

Also, this from the university regarding Saturday's game:
The University of Connecticut and its Division of Athletics will honor the memory of Jasper Howard as the team returns to Rentschler Field on Saturday for the first time since Howard passed away on October 18. UConn will take on Rutgers at noon in a BIG EAST Conference game.

All fans who attend Saturday’s game will receive a “6” card in honor of Jasper Howard’s jersey number.  In addition, the first 15,000 fans who enter the gates will receive “Jazz Live 365” wristbands.

UConn students who attend the game will receive the same “eye-black” that the Husky team is wearing – one with a “6” and the other with a “JH”. All UConn students will also receive a “6” button.

Prior to the contest, the UConn Marching Band will come onto the field all wearing No. 6 jerseys and will display the formation of a “6” in the word “UCONN” during its pregame program.

Following the entrance of both teams on to the field for the game, there will be a “Moment of Respect” in honor of Howard with both teams lining up on their respective sidelines.

“We encourage all Husky fans to arrive at their seats in Rentschler Field by 11:30 a.m. on Saturday in order to see the pregame band show and to be present for the Moment of Respect,” says UConn Head Football Coach Randy Edsall. “There are a number of pregame activities and we would like to see every seat occupied as a sign of respect for Jazz.”

The Connecticut team will once again wear a “JH” sticker on its helmet while Rutgers will wear a “6”.

As fans enter Rentschler Field, they will have the opportunity to donate to both of the funds that have been set up in his memory. 

"The Jasper T. Howard Endowed Scholarship" will be annually awarded to a UConn football student-athlete who plays at the cornerback position and who best displays the outstanding leadership qualities which Jasper embodied.

 "The Jasper Howard Fund" will assist Jasper's family with expenses such as funeral costs, travel to attend the memorial service and support for Jasper's soon-to-be-born child, in a manner consistent with NCAA guidelines.
Fans are also reminded that they will be permitted to bring signs honoring Howard into Rentschler Field. This will be a one-time exception to the regular Rentschler policy prohibiting signs.

Signs cannot be on sticks or poles --- and signs cannot impair the enjoyment of the game for other fans.

"This is one more way that our fans can make a personal tribute to Jasper Howard," says UConn Director of Athletics Jeffrey Hathaway. "We thank our friends at Rentschler Field for relaxing the 'no signs' policy for this one game only and providing fans another opportunity to honor Jasper." 

Prior to the game at approximately 9:40 a.m., the UConn football team will take part in their usual pregame “Husky Walk”. Fans can greet the Huskies from Gates D to C at Rentschler Field to welcome the team to the game.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Jasper Howard's Funeral

If you want to watch...go to and click NNBC on Demand. Click on the scrolling marquee that says Jasper Howard Funeral. A pop-up box will appear prompting you to sign up. You must do this in order to view.

Once you do this, you'll be set.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jasper Howard vigil

From UConn:
Beginning at 6:00 on the lawn outside the student union.
Pres. Hogan, Coach Edsall, student gov. pres. Thomas Haggerty and MAYBE a representative from the West Indian group will speak. Candles will be provided.
There will be some kind of acapella song from a group on campus.
The crowd will then be led in a procession to mirror lake (in front of Monteith and Arjona) for some final words.
Candles will be left by the lake.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The latest on Howard

Randy Edsall said that the team will keep Howard's locker in place until the time he would have graduated (2011). His number will not be retired, but will not be worn until after Howard would have graduated and given only to a player who shares the same character as Howard.

The funeral is expected to take place Monday in Miami and the team will travel.

UConn's game at West Virginia on Saturday will go on, but the Mountaineers will wear a No. 6 on their helmets and hold a moment of silence before kickoff.

Tuesday presser

The normal meeting place, perhaps appropriate today -- the defensive meeting room -- is standing room only as everyone and their cousin is in here to hear what Randy Edsall has to say regarding Jasper Howard's death.

There are 11 TV cameras, numerous photogs and countless scribes.

While we wait, read what former Husky Dan Davis shared:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Press conference on Howard's death

Randy Edsall said he arrived at St. Francis Hospital around 1:30 a.m., where several players and other students were present. He spoke with Howard's mother and later, was called in to identify the body around 4:30 a.m.

He addressed the students who were on present, calling the situation "not pleasant" for him and others.

Edsall, with his voice quivering, called Howard a "great young man."

"We had lost a brother, a teammate, a great person, a mentor and just somebody you love to be around," Edsall told the team at a 6 a.m. meeting.

UConn will do something to remember Howard this season with a helmet or jersey logo and will make tribute in the football complex.

The most tragic news is that Edsall spoke with Howard's girlfriend in Miami and learned that Howard was going to become a father.

Howard dies

Jasper Howard, the UConn CB, was killed in an on-campus stabbing early Sunday morning, team spokesman Mike Enright confirmed.

More details later.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Big play

Kashif Moore caught a 67-yard reception, one that should have been for maybe 15 but the blocking of Ryan Griffin and Dwayne Difton sprung him deep into Louisville territory.

The drive ended with Andre Dixon's second TD.


Andre Dixon's touchdown run was impressive for a few reasons, most most notably the juke he used to get past a defender. He ran untouched into the end zone. Dixon is having a bounce-back season that has the Huskies excited and confident in handing the senior the ball.


While cold, the weather is holding up at Rentschler Field -- for now. Good crowd and a winable game. The question is can UConn not choke as it did in its two losses.

First possession is a three-and-out.

But Blidi Wreh-Wilson picked off the Cardinals' Adam Froman thanks to a Greg Lloyd tip.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sell out

Saturday's game against Louisville officially sold out today. With a forecast of rain, it will be interesteing to see how many people show up at Rentschler Field.


Randy Edsall announced that redshirt sophomore Mike Ryan will replace NFA grad Dan Ryan, and redshirt freshman Erik Kuraczea will replace Mathieu Olivier.

As we evaluated the position, we think Mike Ryan is the better football player,” Edsall said. “Mike Ryan is going to be the starter and will continue to be the starter. Dan Ryan has to be ready to back up both sides and be ready to play in case of an injury. It’s the same situation at left guard. We feel Erik Kuraczea gives us the best opportunity now and in the future for what we need at that position.

Also, Cody Endres is the starting quarterback over Zack Frazer. The numbers say it all:
Frazer is 22-of-43 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Endres is 55-of-83 for 663 yards, three TDs and no picks.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New QB

Johnny McEntee replaces Cody Endres late in a blowout game.

Two. Two straight fumbles.

UConn went from dominance over Rhode Island to fumbles on consecutive possessions. If UConn coughs up this game, I propose it gives up the rest of the schedule.

Two drives, two scores

UConn needed to come out and establish the pass for two reasons. The first being to keep Rhode Island's defense honest. The second is to get that element of the offense on track before the bye week.

The Huskies may or may not get Zach Frazer back in two weeks at Pittsburgh, but either way the offense has to BELIEVE it can throw the ball. If it doesn't have the confidence going into Big East play, it never will.Running backs Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon have been used as receivers already, but the Huskies will have to expand upon the options. Brad Kanuch, who made a great block for Todman, also made a nice diving catch for a 10-yard gain.

If UConn can get five guys with 30 or more yards receiving, it will be a step in the right direction.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Frazer out

Zach Frazer hurt his right knee and is doubtful to return. Cody Endres is now at QB.

Griffin hurt

Tight end Ryan Griffin hurt his back with &;22 left in the first half. The play was a run by Jordan Todman, away from Griffin. Griffin was on his stomach and grabbed his lower back. He got up, tried jogging to the sideline but fell down and eventually walked off with help.

I'm not a doctor, but my guess is he herniated a disc.

Some tidbits...

Former Husky D.J. Hernandez is in attendance. He looks good and smiling more than he did while in school. He's coaching high school football, something he seems fit for.

Rentschler has some changes, such as blue tarp wrapped around the lower level border. It looks good. Now, if UConn would add a blue end zone and some fans -- the stadium is about 30 percent full.

Injuries, etc

Scott Lutrus will not play, Kijaun Dabney is starting in his place.

Also, a couple of Tar Heels are out due to swine flu.

Stay here for live updates.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some things to look forward to

From UConn:

The UConn men’s ice hockey team celebrates its 50th anniversary as a varsity program this weekend and former players and coaches will be honored during a ceremony….The newest class of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame will be introduced at halftime...A new gameday program will debut on Saturday….”UConn Playbook” is a 48-page, playbill-style magazine that will be distributed to fans for free…”UConn Playbook” is a joint production of UConn and IMG College....FanFest takes place from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. outside the stadium between Gates C and D and features entertainment and family activities...the “Husky Walk” will makes its season debut as fans get a chance to welcome the UConn team as they get off the team buses and head to the stadium. That takes place at approximately 9:45 a.m. between Gates A and B.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Q & A

Time to answer some questions from the mailbag. Mike asks:

Q: What are your expectations for the team this season?

I'll save the offensive portion for question No. 2...

Mike, I've grown to like UConn's defense. It's rarely flashy, but it usually finds a way to get the job done as long as it isn't West Virginia on the other sideline. I try not to sound too much like a Kool-Aid drinker, but if Randy Edsall is throwing a true freshmen at defensive end, the guy must be good. I'm talking about Jesse Joseph. He's probably a little on the small side (6-3, 238), but he is strong and quick. The d-line will miss Cody Brown, so there will be some drop off there.

The starting linebackers are excellent and, for as good as Scott Lutrus is, I am always impressed with Lawrence Wilson's knack for being in the right place at the right time. My concern is depth. If someone gets hurt, UConn will likely have some inexperienced players stepping into big roles. Sure, they need to get experience some time, but its always better when you get to play behind the vet.

I believe the secondary will be fantastic. I'm a big Robert Vaughn fan. He has a nose for the ball, and because Jasper Howard and Robert McClain force quarterbacks into making bad passes, Vaughn -- and maybe Jerome Junior -- will be waiting.

The Huskies' special teams is solid. I wouldn't begin to play with spectacular or other grandiose descriptions. Desi Cullen is primed for a good year, as is David Teggart. There's three more years -- including this one -- of Teggart, so he needs to be strong. Coverage has lacked at times last year, and probably will agains with younger guys on the field. The good news is there are guys, like Robbie Frey who make big plays. However, the main concern is punt protection. It cost the Huskies the North Carolina game a year ago.

Q: What do you expect out of the offense tempo wise? Will the team be better offensively?

All the talk is of the no-huddle, and it should be. UConn is going to try to move the chains at a furious pace. Can they? I like its ability to run with Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon. If Dixon plays the way he did two years ago, there's no worries on the ground. Where the no-huddle can flop is if QB Zach Frazer can't complete a pass. Each dead ball nullifies the no-huddle, so drops and incompletions or penalties defeat the purpose.

Don't expect UConn to always use the no-huddle. Every seems to be in love with it, but the draw back to a fast-moving offense is extended field time for the defense.

If the Huskies can grab a sizable lead, expect them to slow the pace.

Will they be better? That's really hard to say. Will Todman and Dixon be better than Donald Brown? Not likely.

Frazer still has to prove he can run the team, and that it's a different offense than he's had the last two years, it has to take some adjusting. Anyone who thinks he will significantly better than last year from the start needs to rethink the position.

I like the o-line because there are so many familiar faces, which the Huskies enjoy. Injuries have chipped away at some depth, but many guys can play at several spots, so UConn should be good there. They will still miss Will Beatty ( A LOT!!!) and Keith Gray. Gray might not have been the best center, but he got the most out of what he had, which started upstairs.

The receivers are the tricky -- and most pivotal -- aspect of the offense in terms of the team's chances to win besides quarterback. The returning wideouts are mad that they've essentially been discounted for the new guys. Fine. It's deserved, but fine. If a healthy Brad Kanuch can stretch the defenses in the manner Randy Edsall imagined years ago, it will be a start. There's so much talk about freshman Dwayne Difton, and physically he's got the goods. He's a mini Darius Butler. He's also got the pedigree -- comes out of South Florida, played for the state title four years in a row and was trained by NFL legend Cris Carter. All this means the kid knows a thing or two. The two guys to watch are Michael Smith, who the team has been raving about of late, and Kashif Moore. Moore was a surprise starter last year and was hot and cold, but mostly cold.

If four wideouts get close to 500 yards each, it's a good year. Or, if one approaches 1,000 and another is in the 500-700 area, things are good.

Q: Thoughts about the Ohio game?

This is a tricky game. Ohio wasn't a good team a year ago but gave Ohio State fits. Most of the team is back, which bodes well for the Bobcats. Their leading rusher had fewer yards last year (529) than Todman and Tyler Lorenzen combined (580), which didn't happen on many carries. All three of their leading rushers had over 300 yards, so they'll mix and match for the matchups or hot hand.

Ohio is much more of a passing team, but I don't like their quarterbacks at all. I have not seen them, but coach Frank Solich described them as guys who can throw on the run. Sure, that's handy but you don't want to talk about how your QBs can throw while running. It means you have a bad o-line.

The other thing is Ohio, while scoring a few fewer points per game than UConn (0.8), it allowed 70 yards more per game against MAC foes.

The line in Vegas says Huskies by 3 or 4. I say 14.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Media Day: Week 1, Ohio

Don't call them Ohio U. or OSU. That's what the Ohio University game notes say. I kid you not.

Anyhow, sorry for the late post. Immediately after leaving Storrs, I had a newspaper to put out.

Coach Randy Edsall is glad to see game week arrive -- you know they are tired of hitting each other.

* He said that Zach Frazer is ready to be the starting QB. Edsall said Frazer throws well, is tough, a competitor, is smart and has a presence that commands respect from the other guys in the huddle. For his part, Frazer said he has been waiting for this opportunity (to be the unquestioned starter). It's been a long road considering he hasn't been the guy since high school.

Frazer said, in response to questions about his concussions last year, that he is wearing the best helmet possible to protect his noggin.

* Edsall has been pleased with Desi Cullen and Dave Teggart in camp and expects that to continue.

* Another person who has impressed is freshman Jesse Joseph. He'll be starting at defensive end, and the time he spent on campus and around the team and coaching staff going back to January, appears to be the deciding edge over another true freshman, Trevardo Williams. The Huskies really like these guys and could be bookends for the next three years once Lindsay Witten graduates.

"He's one of those players that has a knack for the game. He has very good savvy. he's a competitor, he's gotten stronger since January. ... He just has that innate ability to understand the game and play with good leverage," Edsall said of Joseph.

I'll tell you this, you don't hear coaches use savvy too often when describing players. That makes me think UConn believes it found another gem in Canada.

* With it being Week One,Edsall said that if players have trouble getting their focus right for this game, it will be tough to do so later on as the season progresses.

* Injuries/suspensions update: Harris Agbor is still out. John Yurek (safety) is having surgery on Sept. 18, and OL Jimmy Bennett;s surgery went well and "they are very pleased with where he's at already," Edsall said.

* The coach was asked about the allegations at Michigan, and understandably, Edsall was careful with his words as he is friends with Rich Rodriguez. He gave us a breakdown of how the Huskies spend their week.

Sunday (4 hours):
50 minutes of weight training
2 hours meetings
1 hour, 10 minutes practice

Monday (off).

Tuesday (4 hours)
1 hour, 10 minutes meetings

Wednesday (4 hours)
50 minutes of weight training
2 hours meetings
1 hour, 10 minutes practice


Friday (2 hours, 10 minutes)
I imagine all practice time

Saturday (3 hours)

Grand total 19 hours, 35 minutes. Edsall wasn't clear with all of the breakdowns time-wise. By deduction, Thursday is 2 hours, 25 minutes. I also believe the team practices Thursday's, but I don't have the split.

I'll try to post some more during the day Wednesday, with some quotes from the team.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Depth chart

WR: 3 Brad Kanuch (Sr., 6-1, 192))
1 Dwayne Difton (Fr., 5-11, 170)
WR: 80 Michael Smith (So., 6-0, 192) OR
82 Kashif Moore (RSo., 5-9, 182)
83 Isiah Moore (RSo, 6-1, 185)
LT: 73 Dan Ryan (RSr., 6-8, 316)
63 Adam Masters (RFr., 6-4, 281)
LG: 66 Mathieu Olivier (RJr., 6-6, 286)
60 Erik Kuraczea (RFr., 6-2, 333)
C: 57 Moe Petrus (RSo., 6-2, 288)
70 Gary Bardzak (RSo., 6-3, 293)
RG: 78 Zach Hurd (RJr., 6-7, 315)
74 Alex LaMagdelaine (RSr., 6-3, 310)
RT: 79 Mike Hicks (RSr., 6-6, 323)
71 Mike Ryan (RSo., 6-5, 324)
TE: 94 Ryan Griffin (RFr., 6-5, 240)
89 John Delahunt (RFr., 6-3, 243)
QB: 10 Zach Frazer (RJr., 6-4, 225)
12 Cody Endres (RSo., 6-4, 223)
TB: 23 Jordan Todman (So., 5-9, 189)
2 Andre Dixon (RSr., 6-1, 202)
FB: 49 Anthony Sherman (Jr., 5-11, 230)
47 Anthony Davis (RJr, 5-10, 243)

DE: 91 Jesse Joseph (Fr., 6-3, 238)
48 Trevardo Williams (Fr., 6-1, 221)
DT: 99 Kendall Reyes (RSo., 6-4, 286)
54 Alex Polito (RJr., 6-6, 287)
DT: 4 Twyon Martin (RSo., 6-2, 271)
52 Brandon Dillon (RSr., 6-3, 292)
DE: 9 Lindsey Witten (Sr., 6-5, 260)
56 Mike Cox (RJr., 6-3, 242)
SLB:* 32 Scott Lutrus (RJr., 6-3, 244)
28 Jory Johnson (RFr., 6-1, 211)
MLB: 95 Greg Lloyd (Jr., 6-2, 245)
10 Greg Robinson (RJr., 6-2, 240)
WLB: 8 Lawrence Wilson (RJr., 6-1, 220)
46 Sio Moore (RFr., 6-1, 219)
CB: 42 Robert McClain (Sr., 5-9, 198)
5 Blidi Wreh-Wilson (RFr., 6-0, 180)
S: 33 Robert Vaughn (Sr., 6-0, 200)
18 Marcus Aiken (Fr., 5-11, 188)
S: 15 Jerome Junior (RFr., 6-1, 212)
19 Kijuan Dabney (Jr., 6-0, 204)
CB: 6 Jasper Howard (Jr., 5-10, 180)
24 Dwyane Gratz (RFr., 6-0, 192)
* Commonly referred to as the “Husky” linebacker

Special Teams

FG: 38 David Teggart (RSo., 6-0, 214)
13 Desi Cullen (Sr., 6-0, 211)
KO:  13 Desi Cullen (Sr., 6-0, 211)
38 David Teggart (RSo., 6-0, 214)
P: 13 Desi Cullen (Sr., 6-0, 211)
13 Chad Christen (Fr., 6-1, 191)

H: 13 Desi Cullen (Sr., 6-0, 211)
10 Zach Frazer (RJr.., 6-4, 225)
SN: 93 Derek Chard (Jr., 6-3, 235)
54 Alex Polito (RJr., 6-6, 287)
KR:  23 Jordan Todman (So., 5-9, 189)
44 Robbie Frey (RSo., 6-0, 201)
PR: 6 Jasper Howard (Jr., 5-10, 180)
42 Robert McClain (Sr., 5-9, 198)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Just want to thank the folks at WNER 1410AM in New York for having me on yesterday.

Also...The Huskies will announce their depth chart Sunday afternoon as they enter preparations for next week's opener at Ohio University. Will there be any surprises? Probably not, but knowing Coach Randy Edsall, the depth chart will feature a lot of "OR"s next to people's names.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Q&A with Big East commissioner John Marinatto

Courtesy of

Q: Talk about the BIG EAST’s bowl selection process as a whole. How long ago did it begin?

A: Every conference is in a similar position as the BIG EAST right now; every four-year cycle usually brings about shifting in relationships between conferences and bowls. We tried to be ahead of the game, so our process started over a year ago. As a result, we’re excited to be the first BCS automatic qualifying conference to announce a bowl agreement for the next cycle.

Q: Why did the BIG EAST decide to move away from its long standing relationship with the Gator Bowl?

A: The Gator Bowl has been a great partner with the BIG EAST for 16 years, but our coaches and athletic directors were excited about the opportunity to have a new experience for our student-athletes and fans. In the end, we felt as though the Champs Sports Bowl better fit the criteria we have established for our first bowl opportunity after the BCS (2nd overall).

Q: Why is it advantageous for the BIG EAST and its members to have a partnership with the Champs Sports Bowl for its first bowl opportunity after the BCS?

A: It is our goal to put together the best possible bowl line-up we can, and when we evaluate our bowl opportunities, we look at destination, geography and opponent. The Champs Sports Bowl provides our membership with a desirable place for fans and student-athletes to go, a bowl located in a place that our fans can drive to or get to easily and a game that would be played against a BCS automatic qualifying opponent. In addition, Orlando, which has been hosting bowl games for over 60 years, is a city rich in bowl tradition. Our rosters continue to be stocked with players from Florida, and its no secret that Orlando sits in the middle of a recruiting hot bed for college football.

Q: Is it true that the BIG EAST would not accept a “hybrid” model that currently exists between the BIG EAST, Gator and Sun Bowls?

A: Yes, it is true. We feel as though were are in a much better negotiating position now than we were four years ago based on our recent performance and the stability of the conference. The hybrid structure would allow for Notre Dame to be selected twice in a four-year period in our No. 2 bowl spot. In our new agreement with the Champs Sports Bowl, Notre Dame can be selected only once during the four-year period.

Q: Why does the BIG EAST Conference choose to partner with Notre Dame when establishing its bowl deals?

A: A BIG EAST member in 24 sports, Notre Dame has been and continues to be a great partner for us in football. The relationship between Notre Dame and the BIG EAST Conference in football works because it is mutually beneficial. It allows the conference to sign better bowl agreements while at the same time, provides Notre Dame guaranteed bowl tie-ins outside of the BCS that it would not have been able to garner on its own.

Q: Is it important for the BIG EAST to have a bowl game that’s played on New Year’s Day?

A: The college football bowl landscape has changed over the last several years. There are 34 bowl games played over a two-and-a-half week span, with the highest level (BCS) games being played a week after New Year’s Day. As a result, we feel as though the day of a game has become less important. Instead, we placed more of an emphasis on destination, geography and opponent.

Q: What can we expect from the BIG EAST in terms of signing subsequent bowl deals now that the Champs Sports Bowl agreement has been announced?

A: Most conferences tend to negotiate their partnerships from the top, down. As a result, we can now focus on the rest of our lineup, which entails discussions with both current partners and new ones. We will continue to evaluate our opportunities with the same criteria we have with the Champs Sports Bowl.

Champs Sports Bowl

The Big East's No. 2 team will be heading to Orlando beginning this season to play in the Champs Sports Bowl.

"We're obviously elated to announce our new partnership with the Champ Sports Bowl," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said.

Notre Dame is still part of the mix, getting a spot in the bowl once every four years.

The conference is still ironing out its other bowl games

Huskies to tangle with Wolverines

UConn announced Tuesday that it has finalized a two-game series with Michigan. The Huskies will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a Sept. 4, 2010 game and the Wolverines will play at Rentschler Field on Sept. 21, 2013.

“We are very excited about having a football series with the University of Michigan,” UConn Director of Athletics Jeffrey Hathaway said in a statement. “This football series will provide two outstanding games for both programs and their respective fans. We are happy to bring this premier intersectional matchup to our dedicated football fans who fill Rentschler Field.”

This agreement, along with a previous deal with Tennessee, might end the hyped and controversial deal UConn sought with Notre Dame. The schools will face each other this season at Notre Dame, but with plans for six more games and the three UConn home games played at neutral sites, the school seemingly decided it was in its best interest to go in a different direction. There has been no official word on the status of that deal, but none of the schedule games with the Fighting Irish were mention in the release, which listed upcoming opponents.

Coach Randy Edsall said UConn doesn’t want to play more than three non-conference Bowl Championship Series eligible teams in one year.
“It is very exciting for our football program to have a series with Michigan,” Edsall said in the release. “We want to challenge our team by playing a strong non-conference schedule in addition to the Big East slate we face every year. Michigan is a nationally-prominent program and we are happy to have them on our future schedule.”

Next year’s game with Michigan forces the rescheduling of the Northeastern-UConn game to Oct. 9, 2010. It is also the rededication game of Michigan Stadium

Notes from media day

Redshirt freshman Eric Kuraczea from Ansonia is “in better shape,” Edsall said, but needs to monitor his weight. The 6-foot-2, 333-pound guard has made strides in knowing his assignments as he continues the transition from high school to college ball.


Zach Frazer holds the top spot on the quarterback depth chart, but Edsall said that the pecking order behind the redshirt junior begins with Cody Endres then Michael Box, Johnny McEntee and Casey Turner.


Randy Edsall would like to see more linebacker depth. With Scott Lutrus, Greg Lloyd and Lawrence Wilson starting, the coach feels that backups Sio Moore, Greg Robinson and Kijuan Dabney cam get the job done if need be says that if injuries occur, there is some flexibility. Meaning, there are players who can play multiple positions.


Redshirt sophomore safety Harris Agbor will be out at least six weeks with a lateral collateral injury.


Following a 145-play scrimmage on Sunday, a few positions have sorted themselves out, most notably NFA grad Dan Ryan’s experience winning over redshirt freshman Jimmy Bennett’s potential at one offensive tackle position.
“That’s just one thing that you can’t teach right away,” Ryan said. “It is what it is; this is my fifth year here now. I have a lot of game experience, played behind a great player in (New York Giant) Will Beatty and learned a lot of things from him and (Miami Dolphin) Donald Thomas. Over the years, you pick up small things that the coaches can’t teach. You have to pick it up out there.”

Bowl announcement

The Big East has a bowl announcement this afternoon, likely making official the speculation that the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla. will become the destination for the league's No. 2 team.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Difton to start

UConn football coach Randy Edsall isn’t ready to divulge his depth chart, but that’s not stopping highly touted freshman wide receiver Dwayne Difton from spilling some of the beans.
Difton, the highest-rated recruit to ever commit to play for the Huskies, said Monday that he will be the team’s starting Z receiver, or flanker.

“I’m going to work really hard, real hard,” he said at the team’s media day. “Right now they got me as Z on the first team right now. I’m going to work hard, stay humble, stay determined and take it from there.”

Edsall didn’t confirm Difton’s claim, but said the team saw the depth chart Monday. All Edsall would offer is that Difton could crack the starting lineup for the Sept. 5 season opener at Ohio University.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Speedy tidings

If credentials, history, track record and pedigree mean anything, Dwayne Difton is going to leave his mark on the UConn football program in a short amount of time.

The 5-foot-11 wideout became the highest-rated recruit to commit to UConn, when the four-star Floridian gave his verbal Friday. He'll arrive as the 39th ranked player at his position and leaving a St. Thomas Aquinas High School squad that ESPN and USA Today considered the best in the nation.

Difton told me that his mind was made up after researching new UConn offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead's track record. But when I spoke with Difton's father, he said that running backs coach Terry Richardson came to him "man-to-man" and assured him that playing doesn't matter if the younger Difton doesn't take care of priority No. 1 — grades.

Difton never saw snow before his official visit on Jan. 16, but said he knows that the coaching staff has in place an environment that will help him as he deals with the changes that college, football and Connecticut present.

The kid seems genuinely nice and he knows that he's going to start next season, alongside Kashif Moore and Brad Kanuch. If there's one thing the Huskies will have at wide receiver is speed. Now, if they can get the ball to the WRs — and they can catch the ball — there's a lot of potential.

And let's not overlook that if UConn can improve its passing attack (it'll be hard not to), it takes pressure of Jordan Todman, who should start in the place left by Donald Brown.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New OC

The Huskies named former Akron offensive coordinator and QB coach Joe Moorhead to the same position. Clearly, this is a step up for Moorhead who leaves the MAC for the Big East.

What I like: Moorhead has a multi-set no-huddle offense that he will be implementing. He's a 50/50 kind of guy, so seasons such as the one Donald Brown just had should become a thing of the past once a reliable passing attack is in place. He should also make UConn more attractive to high school WRs looking for a place to play.

What I don't like: Rankings-wise, Akron was much better than UConn. Statistically, Akron wasn't much better. The Zips averaged 10 yards and three points more than the Huskies per game. If the Huskies had that tacked on to this season's games, they would have won one more game and maybe would have played in a different bowl, but not likely. Give me six points and we're getting somewhere. I'll admit, having what should be -- I emphasize should be -- better talent in Storrs than in tire country may more than make up for that gap and then some. However, two new o-linemen, a new tight end, a new QB and a new tailback not named Donald Brown means this could be a very bumpy first year for Moorhead.