Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moving time

This is the end of the wonderful UConn Huskies Nation blog on Blogger. For all five years I've covered the team, this is where I've posted news, notes and ramblings. And I even got a snazzy background image this summer.

HOWEVER...All of the Bulletin's blogs are moving to the newspaper's Web site, and my UConn football blog is the first of mine to make the jump.

So, as of today, you can find me at:
http://www.norwichbulletin.com/joe_blog

But I'm leaving you with one last poll question. Let me know what you think.

-Joe

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Want some last-minute info on the game?

I will be on WXLM 104.7 FM discussing UConn's game with Temple Saturday morning at 11:15 a.m.

You can listen here: http://www.wxlm.fm/article.asp?id=506208

Friday, September 17, 2010

From the mailbag

It's always good to hear from readers, no matter where they are. This week, Scott from California posed a question about the Huskies' upcoming game against Temple.
Scott writes:
Dear Joe,

Thanks for your great coverage of the Huskies. I was reading before the season about Moorhead installing a new no-huddle, up-tempo offense, and how Frazer was the type of QB who could run that system. Has that been an emphasis in practice? Is that something we would expect to see against Temple? I see UConn has run about 58% of the time for the season.  I appreciate hearing any opinions or insight that you may have on this.
Thanks for the e-mail. Joe Moorhead brought in the no-huddle last season, but it wasn't used nearly as much as people would have liked. Part of the problem was the Huskies really struggled in the passing game and the running attack usually worked.

This year, UConn still wants to use the no-huddle. The media hasn't been allowed to watch practice since before the Michigan game, so I can't tell you what's being worked on specifically. I can tell you this: During training camp, they worked the no-huddle extensively.

Then where is it, right? I think it was difficult to use it against Michigan because the Wolverine's 3-3-5 formation makes passing difficult and that's what the Huskies needed to do to climb back into the game. As you mentioned, the Huskies have run the majority of the time, and I think last week's game skews the numbers. Versus Texas Southern, UConn had to run otherwise it would have been running up the score in a 62-3 game.

Against Temple, which allowed almost 300 passing yards to Central Michigan last week, I suspect we'll see some no-huddle. Look for it on the drives where the Huskies are moving the chains and the Owls are sort of on their heels. It's the ideal situation to use the no-huddle and really crush a defense's spirits.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lutrus out

Senior LB Scott Lutrus will miss Saturday's game at Temple with an upper extremity injury. It's believed to be the stinger he suffered last season, which was aggravated two weeks ago against Michigan.

This was an injury that really nagged Lutrus last season. 

It's time to start wondering if he will play again for the Huskies.

More award updates


  • The Maxwell Award, given to the game's most outstanding player, recognized performances by the following:
Oklahoma sophomore QB Landry Jones threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns. 

Alabama's senior QB Greg McElroy completed 16-of-24 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns.    

Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett completed 28-for-43 passes for an even 400 yards and three touchdowns. 

Oregon sophomore RB LaMichael James rushed for 134 yards on 16 carries including a 72-yard touchdown run. 

Nevada senior QB Colin Kaepernick completed 72% of his passes and ran or threw for 402 yard. He also rushed for 161 yards on 11 carries.

  • The Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) recognized these athletes: 
  •  
Michigan State LB Greg Jones led the Spartans with 11 tackles, forcing a fumble and helping to hold Florida Atlantic to just 45 yards rushing.

Purdue DE Ryan Kerriganhad a dozen tackles, including four for minus yards, and a pass breakup.

Florida senior safety Ahmad Black picked off two passes in Florida's 38-14 win over South Florida, while leading the Gators with eight tackles.

  • The Thorpe Award, presented to the top defensive back, honored Rutgers Joe Lefeged as its player of the week.
  • The award for top center, the Rimington Award, noted three players to watch tis week:
Georgia Tech's Sean Bedford
Mississippi State's J.C. Brignone
Auburn's Ryan Pugh
 

SNY viewing party

I can't tell you if this will become a regular occurrence for road games, although I believe it is a good idea, but...SNY is holding a student-only viewing party for Saturday's UConn-Temple game.

It starts at 11:30 a.m. at the UConn Student Union Theater, which holds roughly 500 people. There will be refreshments, giveaways and prizes for students who attend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Award updates

It's just the third week of the season, but it's never too soon to start talking about the major college football awards. I mean, heck, Temple is plugging it's running back as a Heisman candidate.  Let's try to sort through the pretenders and contenders. I'll try to give updates every week.

Here's what different committees are saying about their awards:

  • The Davey O'Brien Award (best QB) presents its marquee matchup between No. 9 Iowa and No. 24 Arizona. The game features two top QBs — Nick Foles and Ricky Stanzi.
The folks at Stanford don't want you to forget about Andrew Luck. They send along the following from his most recent game:
  • Completed 11-of-24 passes for 151 yards and two TDs in Stanford’s 35-0 victory at UCLA
  • Also rushed for a career high 63 yards on seven carries.
  • Helped Stanford to its first victory in the Rose Bowl since 1996
  • Stanford is 2-0 on the season and ranked 19th in both the AP and USA Today Coaches’ Polls this week
  • Stanford improved to 10-4 with Luck as a starter
Andrew Luck highlight video from last week

  • Meanwhile, the good folks at the Football Writers Association of America, which I am a member of, named Ohio State CB Chimdi Chekwa as the defensive player of the week.
  •  The Paul Hornung Award, which goes to the most versatile player in college football, selected nine (NINE?) who stood out last week. They are:
  • Kentucky's Randall Cobb, Oregon's Kenjon Barner, Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, Michigan's Denard Robinson, Florida's Jeffrey Demps, Rutgers' Joe Lefeged and  Mohamed Sanu, Stanford's Owen Marecic and Michigan State's Keshawn Martin. 
  • The John Mackey Award, presented to the best tight end, named Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph its tight end of the week.
  • Last, but not least, the folks over at the Biletenkoff Award (top WR) have provided the top 40 WRs in terms of yardage. No, I'm not listing all 40. But I'll give you the top 5.
Duke's Connor Vernon has 310 yards, Jermain Kearse of Washington has 287, Kealoha Pilares from Hawaii has 280 yards, Bowling Green's Kamar Jorden follows with 279 and Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma is fifth with 266 yards.

      Tuesday, September 14, 2010

      Tuesday's notes

      UConn began its planning for Saturday's game at Temple, a team which has been a thorn in the Huskies' side. The last two games were memorable in that the Owls were cheated three years ago when the officials wrongly waved off a TD pass, ruling that the receiver was not in-bounds. The most recent game was notable because the Huskies played down to the Owls, who weren't good, and had to be saved by Donald Brown with a tropical storm hitting the region.

      • Randy Edsall said there is no rivalry in particular, because "every game is a rivalry. Temple coach Al Golden, who like Edsall, is on the rise on the coaching scene agreed, but added that his team hasn't done what the Huskies have in winning at Notre Dame, having beaten a SEC team and having won a bowl game.

      • Asked to expanded upon his vote of confidence (note: Edsall has no actual say) in adding Villanova to the Big East and whether he'd consider Temple, he said this:
      "I'm not a decision-maker in the process or anything, but when I heard about this even before (recent reports out of Philadelphia), it was something we talked about when we were in our meetings in May. I think because of when you look at the league and you look at the situation (Villanova already a member in basketball), I think it's a natural fit for our league and for Villanova if they feel they can handle it financially and the things that go with making that upgrade (from FCS to FBC). ... I think it would be a good fit, and if it happened I would be very delighted to see them join in football."

      He went on to say about Temple:
      "That's up to the people at the Big East. We don't make those decisions. That's up to the Big East."

      That sounds like a big thumbs down to the Owls.

      He added this about having a ninth team and how it helps scheduling for Big East teams:
      "That's a lot of it, but also in terms of when was the last time we had seven home games here? We haven't even had seven home games and that's the thing I've been trying to get is seven home games because that helps you financially, it helps you because you'd rather play seven home games than six. You have the four home conference games, I think you have a tendency that you might be able to get seven home games more easily hen you are only playing three non-conference opponents at home."

      Edsall said if there were a balanced schedule, UConn would not give up playing one FCS team because that game helps enable it playing seven games at Rentschler Field.

      • Asked about linebacker Lawrence Wilson,  who has been able to remain healthy over his career while fellow linebackers Scott Lutrus and Greg Lloyd Jr., have not, Edsall had this to say:
      "I don't know, you have to ask him that. He goes out there every day and practices and plays. Some guys genetically are made different. Some guys, their bodies are just different. Some guys are a little bit more athletic, some guys are a little bit more fluid, some guys are a little bit more flexible and some guys are lucky. Whatever it is, he's doing it right. Not that anyone is doing it wrong. I think any time you can play injury free for the most part throughout your career, it's probably a little bit of luck more than anything in terms of football."

      • When Edsall suspended Erik Kuraczea and Cody Endres during training camp, the speculation was that they would make their return this week. But when the subject came up, Edsall said it was a subject he would discuss next week. 
      Does that mean they will return for Buffalo? Not necessarily. He did say that they are not back, but things like that can be fluid. It wouldn't surprise ,e to see them in uniform on Saturday.

      On how " 'Bama" has improved and can continue to improve:
      "He's become more of a student of the game. I thin he's learned to dissect the game a little bit more in terms of what people are trying to do. I think there are always things he can try to improve upon on just in terms of being consistent and being more aggressive all the time."
      • Along the lines of linebackers, Edsall was asked about getting playing time for his younger LBs considering all three starters are seniors.
      "I'm not worried about next year. I couldn't care less about next year. You're going to play your best guys. I'm not going to take Lawrence or Greg or Scott off the field just to gain guys' experience."
      • With Ryan Griffin having missed most of the preseason as well as the Michigan game, John Delahunt has stepped in and played well for the Huskies. Edsall had praise for the work he had done.
      "I think the biggest thing is he put more time and effort into it; he's worked hard. I think he made more of a commitment in trying to be as good as he can be. In think he saw he had some ability. What he did was try and go out and maximize his potential. I just saw a guy who went out and tried to work harder, really since last January, in all aspects of becoming a better football player. I'm talking about strength and conditioning, understanding all the concepts and all that we're trying to do offensively. Again, he's always had very good hands. He just made more of a commitment to be the best player he could be."

      I'll say this much: When I spoke to Delahunt, who is from Canada, a couple years ago prior to the International Bowl, I didn't think he would ever play. He was bulky and looked more like an O-lineman than TE.

      • Sophomore WR Dwayne Difton looked lost during August. He missed catches, the route running left something to be desired, and when talk of who was expected to contribute, Difton's name was usually absent from conversation. But now, Edsall has seen some positives and thinks that the small, but the fast WR from  Fort Lauderdale could be a factor. 
      Difton looked good in the second half against Michigan and again in the second half against Texas Southern. He'll probably get more snaps early against Temple, but he will have to make them count if he wants to see the ball in conference play.

      Edsall said they won't hesitate to use him more. That's really not good if you are Isiah Moore.
            
      "I just think what happens is I don't think it's fair to put some of the hype on these kids as they come out of high school and I think the way some young men are treated in high school, they are catered to and allowed to get away with certain things. When they come to a program like this, they're not going to be catered to. They're going to earn their stripes. The publicity, the rankings that they had coming in here really doesn't mean anything. for some young men, it's an adjustment period. It takes some time for them to really understand that it's all about hard work and going out and working hard and earning your right, not that you're going to be given something. You have to earn it, you have to work for it. And I think that's been part of the process with Dwayne, and I think he's picked it up, and he sees now and he's been better for it and he's doing some good things. He still has to become more consistent when he's on the field.

      What they are saying

      Randy Edsall became UConn's winningest head coach Saturday, but when asked about it, he deflected the praise to everyone else involved with the Huskies. The win put Edsall ahead of J.O. Christian This is what a few of his players said about him.

      “He’s a consistent leader,” said right guard Zach Hurd. “He’s not afraid to say what he needs to say or get done what needs to get done. He doesn’t care of people don’t like him for what he does — he does the best thing for the program. Whatever the program needs he does. His interest is always in the program. He’s just a great person in general.”

      “Right now, he is the program,” said fullback Anthony Sherman. “He’s been here 12 years and he’s done a great job every year that he’s been here. ... His hard work has just rubbed off on everybody else. That’s why we’re a good team, because of him.”

      “He harps on, you come here to play football, but he’s very concerned with your academics,” tailback Robbie Frey said. “He wants you to do well in school. I feel like he’s built a program where he has well-rounded people.”

      Monday, September 13, 2010

      Observations and ramblings

      During his Sunday teleconference, which might have been the shortest in the five years I've covered the team, Randy Edsall said he saw some inconsistent play from the secondary, wasn't happy with Jory Jones' play in place of Scott Lutrus, and found good and bad in Mike Box's play.

      I just watched the SNY pregame and postgame coverage of Saturday's game as well as the game itself (not that I wasn't watching Saturday).

      Some points of interest:
      Athletic Director Jeffrey Hathaway said he likes where the Big East is at, but thinks it needs to explore a ninth team. Published reports out of Philadelphia say that the conference invited Villanova. The studio analysts said the Wildcats were a bad choice. Roman Oben said if the conference lost Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech, it needs to add a school of that stature. Uh....good luck.

      My take is there is a short list of schools that are viable: 'Nova, Central Florida (my choice), Memphis, East Carolina and Florida Atlantic.

      Another subject Hathaway was asked about was playing a team such as Michigan in Week 1. He said he liked it because the team had longer to prepare. Imagine what would have happened if they had just a week? The players said they weren't ready for Michigan and that it was a bad practice week.

      Speaking of Michigan, Dennard Robinson's big game against Notre Dame makes UConn look better than in the immediate aftermath.

      Lost in the Huskies' 62-3 win over Texas Southern on Saturday was that the victory made Randy Edsall the program's all-time winningest coach. He has 67 wins.

      There was a lot of hype surrounding D.J. Shoemate's arrival from USC. Two games in and it's been undeserving. He's been the least effective of the Huskies' running backs and looks tentative. His best moments came against Texas Southern's second string. Not good. He has three games to bounce back or you won't see him in conference play.

      How dangerous is Jordan Todman? Two games in and both teams avoid him on kickoffs.

      About Todman and Shoemate...both lost the ball in a game this season. Not a good trend.

      The games are going to start getting harder. Temple plays UConn tight and Vanderbilt will be an athletic team that's faced better, yet the passing game hasn't distinguished itself. There were some drops at Michigan and just 15 attempts versus Texas Southern, not a real test.

      UConn was unhappy with third down effectiveness in its opener. After a 4 of 11 game Saturday, I am sure that hasn't changed.

      Saturday, September 11, 2010

      Notes

      If you were at the game, you might have noticed that at its conclusion, the Huskies join the band in singing the school fight song. It's a new tradition started in hopes of keeping fans around a little longer. Today was tough to do so because the game was over after the first quarter.

      The Huskies are 7-1 in home openers. ... They are 3-1 against teams from Texas. ... When Jordan Todman eclipsed the 100-yard mark at the 8:25 mark in the first quarter, he notched his seventh 100-yard game of his career. He has 100 yards in five of his last six games. His three touchdowns move him to within one of the school's all-time top 10 for rushing TDs. ... Michael Smith caught his first career TD. ... John Delahunt's 45-yard reception was the longest of his career. ... Cole Wagner had a punt inside the five-yard line in consecutive games. ... Jory Johnson picked up his first interception of his career. ... Robbie Frey set career bests with a 63-yard TD run and his 101 rushing yards. ... Gerrard Sheppard had his first catch. ... Dwayne Difton's 27-yard reception was the longest of his career. ... Greg Lloyd tallied his first career INT. ... Martin Hyppolite had his first career sack. ... Meme Wylie scored his first career TD. .. Freshman Taylor Mack also had his first INT.

      BREAKING NEWS

      OK, not really. But here's injury news that Randy Edsall didn't want you or anyone else to know. DT Kendall Reyes, who didn't play in the second half, injured his ankle and it was taped heavily after the game. But Reyes said it's nothing serious and he'll practice Sunday. His removal from the game was precautionary.

      Second half changes

      Mike Box in at QB, Kevin Friend in at RT and Kendall Reyes out with an injury.

      Ugly

      Texas Southern is BAD. It has 56 penalty yards, no points and no first downs.

      Meanwhile, UConn scored on every possession, toys with the Tigers by testing different plays that weren't available last week and leads 31-0 halfway through the second quarter.

      A game within a quarter

      Jordan Todman has 136 yards rushing and the Huskies scored on each of their four possessions to take a 24-0 lead over the Tigers.

      Friday, September 10, 2010

      Listen in

      I will be on WXLM 104.7 FM discussing UConn's game with Texas Southern Saturday morning at 11:15 a.m.

      You can listen here: http://www.wxlm.fm/article.asp?id=506208

      Is Villanova the answer?

      fROM espn.COM:
      PHILADELPHIA -- Villanova is studying a proposal to join the Big East Conference in football, the school's athletic director told the Philadelphia Daily News.

      "The Big East very recently communicated its interest in adding Villanova as a football member," Wildcats AD Vince Nicastro told the Daily News on Thursday. "As a result, we have decided to embark on an in-depth evaluation of this opportunity."

      In a letter to alumni, Villanova President Peter Donohue wrote: "This is a complicated issue with numerous, multi-dimensional factors that come into play, and it is important that we investigate scenarios related to making -- or not making -- such a move."

      The Big East has eight members for football. Villanova is a member of the conference in other sports, including men's and women's basketball. A ninth member would allow the Big East to play eight conference games -- four home and four on the road. Currently, teams alternate playing more home than road conference games each year.

      Villanova currently plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, where it is ranked second in the nation. The Wildcats won the national title a year ago.

      The Big East declined to comment. Sources told the Daily News and ESPN.com that the Big East would like an answer from Villanova by the end of the year.

      One issue for Villanova is its home field, which seats 12,000 -- 3,000 fewer than the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision minimum.

      The school also would need to fund 22 more scholarships for football, as well as a similar number for women's athletics in order to meet Title IX requirements. Upgrades to on-campus training facilities also would be needed.

      Thursday, September 09, 2010

      Lutrus out

      Huskies LB Scott Lutrus has been ruled out for Saturday's game against Texas Southern. The senior is listed with an upper extremity injury. No word on the exact nature, but my guess is a stinger. That's the same injury that sidelined him for parts of last season. He will be replaced by Jory Johnson.

      Reserve RB Jonathan Jean-Louis is also out.

      Looking back

      With the start of the NFL season tonight, let's take a look at the former Huskies who are playing in the league. It wasn't that long ago that there were hardly any UConn players in the NFL. Now there are a few who even have name recognition.

      The program has come a long way.

      Dan Orlovsky, QB, Houston Texans
      Deon Anderson, FB, Dallas Cowboys
      Tyvon Branch, S, Oakland Raiders
      Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
      Darius Butler, CB, New England Patriots
      William Beatty, OT, New York Giants
      Marcus Easley, WR, Buffalo Bills
      Robert McClain, S, Carolina Panthers

      Larry Taylor, WR, and Cody Brown, DE, are both on the New York Jets' practice squad.

      Last weekend, Donald Thomas, OG; Julius Williams, DE; and Tyler Lorenzen, QB, were released by the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints, respectively.

      Tuesday, September 07, 2010

      Worthy non-football notes about Saturday's game

      Saturday's game vs. Texas Southern will be "Green Awareness Day" at Rentschler Field. For the second-straight year, fans will be reminded of ways to be environmentally friendly when they visit a UConn football game.

      According to the university: UConn students from the "EcoHusky" and EcoHouse" groups will be stationed inside the stadium at recycling areas to educate fans about recycling as part of the "Man the Can" program. Patrons will be able to be “Caught Green Handed” throughout the day as several fans will win prizes when they are recycling at Rentschler.

      Various UConn corporate partners will be assisting in the effort. Coca-Cola, Inc., has donated new recycling containers in Rentschler Field. Viridian Energy will distribute plastic bags to be used for recycling in the Blue lots.

      The game will also serve as Military Appreciation Day. All of the events associated with the game are dedicated to honoring all UConn alumni and current students who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces.

      There will being an Armed Forces Alumni Tailgate prior to the start of the game.

      Past and current military personnel and their guests who attend the Alumni Tailgate will have special reserved seating for the game.


      Members of the UConn’s Air Force ROTC and Army ROTC Color Guards will present the flag prior to kick off. At halftime, the UConn marching band will present a special tribute to our armed forces, and those attending the Alumni Tailgate will be welcomed onto the field where they will be honored as a group.

      To participate in the day’s special activities, pre-registration is required. To purchase tickets to the game and the pre-game festivities – or for more information -- contact Kim Lachut, Manager of Alumni Programs at (888) 822-5861 or (860) 486-2240 or Cara Workman, Director of University Events, at (860) 486-1001.

      Injury report

      Randy Edsall said only players who are out or pending surgery as a result of the previous game will be included in the Monday injury report. Otherwise, they will be included in the report released by the Big East on Thursday.

      That report won't get into specifics, but to protect the student athlete, will list injuries in one of five ways:
      Arm
      Leg
      Upper Extremities
      Head
      Torso

      News from Storrs

      Not a whole lot today.

      Still no word on Scott Lutrus. For what it's worth, I passed him in the parking lot and he looked OK. That doesn't mean he is or isn't.

      There was one change to the depth chart. Alex Polito is replacing Ryan Wirth at defensive tackle, backing up Twyon Martin.

      Randy Edsall was asked whether there was something for UConn fans to learn from their Michigan counterparts considering the Huskies have their home opener Saturday at noon vs. Texas Southern. His response was to show up early and get to your seats before the team takes the field.

      He also said the Huskies learned from playing the Wolverines.

      “Just the level of competition in terms of having an opener like that,” coach Randy Edsall said. “You’re getting put into a lot of situations. Our guys, we go down 21-0, they could have folded their tents. And you find out a lot about their character, attitude, perseverance -- a lot of different things.”

      Citing past games with West Virginia, where the Mountaineers would score late and the Huskies “just kinda took it,” said Edsall.

      Monday, September 06, 2010

      Big East Conference Call

      On today's Big East coaches conference call, Randy Edsall reiterated that the Huskies failed to take advantage of opportunities against Michigan. Looking ahead to Texas Southern, which he says is one of the faster and better teams from the SWAC.


      The coaches have been asked about scheduling tougher games in the first week. Neill Ostrout of the Connecticut Post asked Edsall of his thoughts on scheduling:

      "We've done it both ways. We've played FBS teams in the first week and FCS in the first week. The schedule is what it is and you take it as it comes. .. To me, you just play the games as they come. It makes no difference in terms of how you do it.

      "Maybe if we play that game at home, it makes a difference."

      Edsall was asked for an update on Scott Lutrus, but he declined, saying it will wait until Thursday.

      From ESPN's Dana Jacobson

      "It wasn't as if (Denard Robinson) did it against a Big Ten defense."

      Sunday, September 05, 2010

      Notes from Edsall's teleconference

      Coach Randy Edsall said that considering how bad they played Saturday, it was disappointing the Huskies didn't take advantage of the opportunities presented.

      He also was upset about the 3rd-down conversion on both sides of the ball.

      There were four drives of over 70 yards in which Michigan scored and that was a result of UConn not making plays.

      The positives: a "bunch" of tackles for a loss; good ball movement.

      On the secondary: "We have one major bust out there and it was on a lack of communication on that big pas splay. If we had communicated better, it would have been completed but not for that kind of yardage."

      On the O-Line: "They weren't very good. I think we got whooped on both sides of the line of scrimmage."

      Edsall said both lines need to get a "lot more physical."

      Leon Kinnard "showed he was a true freshman."

      The Morning After

      There is a lot to digest from UConn's 30-10 loss at Michigan on Saturday. I finally had a chance to watch the game uninterrupted. I don't think if UConn plays the same exact way next week that Texas Southern wins, but there was plenty to work on.

      THE GOOD: Following it first two possessions, the Huskies were able to move the football. Zach Frazer looked more comfortable (as he should) and I was impressed with Michael Smith and Kashif Moore. Both WRs had a more polished look. ... Jordan Todman is going to have a monster season. ... UConn did a better job of hitting and tackling in the second half.

      THE BAD: There was no pass rush from the Huskies, and granted, that losing Marcus Campbell and not wanting to blow contain coverage on Denard Robinson made rushing difficult. BUT...there was no contain, so UConn might as well as try to pressure the QB more. It can't, at least against a much-improved Michigan O-Line. ... During the first two possessions, the UConn O-Line struggled. They can't have that happen again. They have to come out sharp from the start. ... On their fourth possession, the Huskies had a 4th and 3 situation and Kashif Moore went two-plus yards. You have to be certain that you get past the first down marker.

      THE UGLY: Denard Robinson=Pat White=Not good news for Huskies. UConn couldn't beat White at West Virginia and couldn't beat Robinson at Michigan. It's the same offense because it's the same coach. This does not bode well for the Huskies' game versus the Mountaineers later this season. ... The dropped passes. There were six, but the last one, to John Delahunt, was more Frazer's fault. There were two killers: Smith's drop at the Michigan 2 and Isiah Moore's drop on the third possession. ... The WRs aren't to shoulder all the blame. ... Frazer had Isiah Moore wide open down the middle of the field in the second quarter, but overthrew. ... D.J. Shoemate's fumble was inexcusable. He left the ball exposed and it was knocked out by a helmet -- wrap it up. The Huskies left at least 14 points on the field. It might not have changed the outcome, but it would have changed the game. Who knows what happens from there. ... No 3rd down defense. Michigan embarrassed UConn by going 12-for-16 on 3rd downs. The worst example of how bad the defense was came in the fourth quarter. Michigan is at its 11 for a 3rd and 15. Robinson runs up the middle for 16 yards.

      Saturday, September 04, 2010

      Prediction

      I like UConn's ability to the run the ball versus Michigan's inability to stop the run. I see the Huskies winning this, 27-21.

      Friday, September 03, 2010

      UConn, UCF to play in home-and-home series

      The Huskies have agreed to play two games with the Knights beginning in 2014, the University of Central Florida announced Friday.

      Central Florida will visit Rentschler Field in 2014 and UConn will make the return trip to Orlando in 2015.

      UConn opens its 2010 schedule Saturday at Michigan (3:30 p.m., ABC).

      This is an interesting matchup because if the Big East expands, UCF is going to be on its short list.

      Thursday, September 02, 2010

      SNY comes to Eastern Connecticut

      OK, so we've all heard about SNY's deal with UConn as its new broadcasting partner. Well, SNY launches on Comcast in parts of the state that hadn't been receiving it as part of it's package.

      The first Huskies show will be the UConn Huskies Football Season Preview Show at 9:30 p.m.

      From SNY: SNY’s live UConn football game coverage, which features approximately five games throughout the 2010 season, will kick-off September 11th at noon when the Huskies take on Texas Southern. SNY will also air the following week’s UConn-Temple match-up on September 18th at noon. All Huskies football games airing on SNY will be wrapped by in-depth pre and post-game shows.

      Here's where you can find SNY around the state (local areas in bold):

      * For Clinton-area customers in the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Durham, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook on Channel 58.

      * For Groton-area customers in the towns of Groton, including the Groton Navy Base, Ledyard, North Stonington, Stonington and Voluntown on Channel 65.


      * For Middletown-area customers in the towns of Cromwell, East Hampton, Middlefield, Middletown and Portland on Channel 59; HD Channel 254*.

      * For Vernon-area customers in the towns of Andover, Bolton, Ellington, Hebron, Marlborough, Tolland and Vernon on Channel 68; HD Channel 218*.

      * For Norwich and Old Lyme-area customers in the towns of Bozrah, Colchester, East Haddam, Franklin, Lisbon, Lyme, Norwich, Old Lyme, Preston, Salem and Sprague on Channel 46; HD Channel 786*.

      New uniforms

      No, not for the Huskies, but for several teams including Pitt and West Virginia.

      Check these out and tell me what you think. I like Virginia Tech's design but dislike Miami's a lot.

      http://nikeprocombat2010.nikemedia.com/downloads.html#west_virginia

      Predictions

      ESPN.com' Mark Schalbach and Andrea Adelson have the Huskies going to the Meineke Car Car Bowl (vs. Clemson) and Beef o'Brady St. Petersburg Bowl (vs. Tulsa), respectively.

      Sporting News' Derek Samson has the Huskies at 28th overall

      CSB Sportsline's Dennis Dodd has the Huskies ranked 22nd. The site projects UConn to meet Colorado in the first-ever Pinstripe Bowl. (Note: Sportsline lists Notre Dame as the Big East's No. 2 team.)

      I have the Huskies at 10-2 and finishing the year with a top-20 ranking.

      Listen if you can

      If you live in the Syracuse/Watertown, N.Y., area, you can hear me today on ESPN Radio 1410 AM or tomorrow the podcast will be available on wner1410.com discussing UConn football.

      Wednesday, September 01, 2010

      A video, for your viewing pleasure

      This is a video produced by UConn's in-house media arm, UConn Today.

      Better late than never

      My apologies...the overlap of baseball and football leaves little time for blogging. Here are a few tidbits from Tuesday.

      Freshman Leon Kinnard made the two-deep as a WR, which led to Randy Edsall emphasizing that Kinnard is "an athlete."

      What does that mean in terms of what he's going to contribute? Look at Kinnard as a secret weapon. They can use him as a straight QB (which is what he was recruited as), he can lineup as a WR, take direct snaps, run reverses and be used in wildcat-like plays.

      Did Edsall say as much? What do you think?

      “He’s somebody we believe has the ability to make plays for us,” Edsall said. “And that’s why you want to get him on the field if you can.”

      Kinnard gives the Huskies some unpredictability, something that has been sorely missing. I promise you that the Huskies will unleash their newest weapon against Michigan.

      *********

      There are also two other true freshmen -- both CBs -- on the two-deep.

      This sis what Edsall had to say about Taylor Mack, whom a week ago he raved about, and Gilbert Stlouis:

      “The couple things that I like about them,” said Edsall, “is that they are kids that are physical. They’ll get after you, they have good ability, they’ll compete and go after the ball. They’re going to come up and be physical.”

      I haven't decided yet what this says. Is it that the Huskies are lacking depth, which they are, or are these kids that good. We'll get a better idea in a few days. But Gary Wilburn, who lettered last season, must feel bad since he's not on the two-deep and Chris Lopes was moved from S to CB.


      *********

      In years past, the depth chart would be littered with "OR" at many positions, meaning there wasn't a clear-cut No. 1 or No. 2. The only offensive or defensive "OR" comes at running back.

      Robbie Frey, who looked amazing during camp, and USC transfer D.J. Shoemate are "OR" as the backup to Jordan Todman. It's clear that the Huskies see each as situational players. Which ones remain to be seen.

      **********

      Everyone is talking about the return of Greg Lloyd, Jr., who went from not playing this year to starting middle linebacker in no time.

      It was Lloyd's hard work -- something questioned by Edsall in early July -- that got the senior back on the field.

      He had clearance to participate in some drills and really pushed the envelope when he knew how much his left knee could handle. Keep in mind he tore his ACL and MCL last year against Syracuse.

      Said Edsall: "Sometimes young people exceed the expectations that you might have for them."

      That says A LOT coming from Edsall.

      **********

      Other notes: Mike Box is the NO. 2 QB. We should see him play a lot in the home opener. I also don't expect him to lose the spot when Cody Endres returns from his suspension.

      Edsall said the Michigan game isn't any more or less important than any other game. "It's just one of 12," he said.

      Monday, August 30, 2010

      Depth chart for Michigan

      A few surprises with some of the true freshmen, but the biggest is Greg Lloyd not sitting out the season.

      OFFENSE

      WR: 80 Michael Smith (Jr., 6-0, 202)
      88 Gerrard Sheppard (RSo., 6-2, 209)

      WR: 82 Kashif Moore (RJr., 5-9, 180)
      14 Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 182)

      WR: 83 Isiah Moore (RJr., 6-1, 190)
      1 Dwayne Difton (So., 5-11, 173)

      LT: 63 Adam Masters (RSo., 6-4, 283)
      72 Jimmy Bennett (RSo., 6-8, 290)

      LG: 66 Mathieu Olivier (RSr., 6-6, 294)
      50 Tyler Bullock (RFr., 6-4, 301)

      C: 57 Moe Petrus (RJr., 6-2, 292)
      70 Gary Bardzak (RJr., 6-3, 292)

      RG: 78 Zach Hurd (RSr., 6-7, 325)
      69 Steve Greene (RFr., 6-4, 309)

      RT: 71 Mike Ryan (RJr., 6-5, 333)
      77 Kevin Friend (RFr., 6-5, 289)

      TE: 94 Ryan Griffin (RSo., 6-6, 243
      89 John Delahunt (RSo., 6-3, 244)

      QB: 10 Zach Frazer (RSr., 6-4, 231)
      4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209)

      TB: 23 Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 193)
      44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203) OR
      24 D.J. Shoemate (Jr., 5-11, 218)

      FB: 49 Anthony Sherman (Sr., 5-11, 240)
      39 Brett Manning (Sr., 5-11, 260

      DEFENSE

      DE: 48 Trevardo Williams (So., 6-1, 225)
      96 A.J. Portee (RSo., 6-4, 237)

      DT: 99 Kendall Reyes (RJr., 6-4, 298)
      59 Shamar Stephen (RFr., 6-5, 300)

      DT: 4 Twyon Martin (RJr., 6-2, 292)
      53 Ryan Wirth (RSo., 6-2, 272)

      DE: 91 Jesse Joseph (So., 6-3, 255)
      98 Ted Jennings (RSo., 6-5, 247)

      SLB:* 32 Scott Lutrus (RSr., 6-3, 245)
      28 Jory Johnson (RSo., 6-1, 227)

      MLB: 95 Greg Lloyd (Sr., 6-2, 259)
      55 Jerome Williams (RSo., 5-11, 233)

      WLB: 8 Lawrence Wilson (RSr., 6-1, 226)
      46 Sio Moore (RSo., 6-1, 230)

      CB: 5 Blidi Wreh-Wilson (RSo., 6-0, 191)
      29 Taylor Mack (Fr., 5-9, 170)

      S: 25 Harris Agbor (RJr., 5-11, 183)
      15 Jerome Junior (RSo., 6-1, 215)

      S: 19 Kijuan Dabney (Jr., 6-1, 192)
      7 Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 181)

      CB: 24 Dwayne Gratz (RSo., 6-0, 187)
      2 Gilbert Stlouis (Fr., 5-11, 182)

      * Commonly referred to as the “Husky” linebacker

      SPECIALISTS

      P: 86 Cole Wagner (RFr., 6-2, 198) OR
      13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

      K: 38 Dave Teggart (RJr., 6-0, 207)
      13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

      LS: 93 Derek Chard (Sr., 6-3, 237)
      67 Adam Mueller (Fr., 6-1, 208)

      H: 13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)
      4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209)

      KR: 23 Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 193)
      44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203)

      PR: 21 Gary Wilburn (RJr., 5-11, 195)
      31 Nick Williams (So., 5-10, 183)

      Friday, August 27, 2010

      Edsall named to foundation's board

      UConn coach Randy Edsall has been named as an honorary members of the board of directors of Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation, it was announced Friday.

      After appearing as a guest speaker at the Lauren’s First and Goal football camps, Edsall expressed interest in promoting the foundation’s mission of providing financial support for brain tumor research and cancer services, offering financial and emotional support to families living with pediatric cancer, and increasing awareness of the disease. Since 2004, the foundation has raised more than $1 million.

      “Coach Edsall is an outstanding leader in the coaching profession, not only due to his success on the field, but because of his desire to make a positive impact in the community where he lives and works,” said co-founded Marianne Loose in a statement.

      “He has a personal connection to LFG, having served as a featured speaker at our camps and meeting with the thousands of players who attended. We are very grateful to him for helping us spread the mission of LFG.”

      Loose and her husband, John, created LFG in honor of their 13-year-old daughter Lauren.

      Thursday, August 26, 2010

      Edsall featured on ESPN.com

      Randy Edsall is the headlining story right now. Here's the link:

      http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/preview10/columns/story?columnist=maisel_ivan&id=5497647

      Todman on Doak Walker list

      Junior RB Jordan Todman was named a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, presented to the nation's top running back.

      He rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last season as part of a time-share with Andre Dixon in the Huskies' backfield. He was a second-team All-Big East selection in 2009.

      Todman has looked good, as expected, during UConn's training camp. He will lose some carried to Robbie Fry and D.J. Shoemate, but will likely see an increase in his 235 carries from a year ago. That, combined with the Huskies' run-first approach and solid offensive line, should make Todman a viable candidate for the award.

      Wednesday, August 25, 2010

      Quotes and more from Tuesday's practice

      Tight end Ryan Griffin didn't practice Tuesday, with what Randy Edsall described as "a couple bumps." He looked fine walking off the field, but it is my guess he will see limited time, including today's scrimmage. He's clearly the best TE on the team and there's no benefit in risking a prolonged injury.

      Not happy with the depth at TE -- especially with Griffin banged up -- Edsall is moving LB Andrew Opoku to that position. Opoku played some TE before and at 6-4, 227 pounds, could give UConn another option. However, his play at TE is raw, so don't count on him to be a contributor at least just yet.

      "You sit there and you look and you see a position you are in, and you're always trying to evaluate and kids and getting them into the best spot," Edsall said. "We're sitting there and looking at where we are from a Husky (linebacker) standpoint and when you have Jory (Johnson), you have Martin (Hyppolite), you have David Kenney there at that position, and you have Andrew there. You're sitting there saying, 'Geez, you got four guys who are athletes who can help you.' and you look at other positions where you might need help. It's one of those things that we saw. We saw, 'Hey, Andrew's battling for those spots.' But we felt maybe some of those other guys were maybe a little closer and we felt we had a need at tight end and he's played receiver/tight end type things before. So we just say, 'Hey, let's take a look at it,' because now we have a bigger, faster guy than what we had there. We have to teach him how to block a little bit, but it's going to allow us to take advantage of his abilities a little bit."

      Another reason Edsall likes the move is he sees a lot of depth at LB and Opoku made the most sense in terms of shifting personnel.

      Senior FB Brett Manning had someone fall on his leg during Monday's practice and was wearing a boot on Tuesday. It's not a great loss for the Huskies for two reasons -- Anthony Sherman is a beast who can be counted on like the Sun, and if they needed another FB, D.J. Shoemate could slide back there from TB since that was where he played at USC. There is also freshman Reuben Frank, someone Edsall is high on. At any rate, Manning is listed as day-to-day.

      As long as Cody Endres is suspended, the Huskies are in need of a second-string QB. Initially, Edsall didn't want to make a proclamation, but just from the few media availabilities, it was clear who No. 2 is: Mike Box.

      "I would say Michael has the edge, yeah," Edsall said. "You can probably tell that (Tuesday). He was doing some things with the exception of the sack in the two-minute drill, (but) he's doing some things."

      There was a lot of praise for Zach Frazer's camp performance. Maybe it's because Edsall is VERY disappointed in Endres or maybe it's because EVERYONE on both sides of the ball are raving about how much Frazer has matured and developed since April.

      The coach also noted that this season's freshmen may be the best incoming class he has ever had. Of note were WR Tebucky Jones, from New Britain, who Edsall said will be redshirted this season; Frank; Lyle McCombs;and the new offensive linemen (Teddy Baker, Gus Cruz, Mark Hansson, Greg McKee and Bryan Paull). On defense, he praised the new DBs and linebackers, the latter he said need to get stronger. Edsall singled out Yawin Smallwood, who he put in at MLB on Tuesday.

      "To me, I think this is our best freshmen class we ever had here, top to bottom, no doubt," said Edsall.

      It was also noted that the season opener at Michigan will be played before 109,901 fans -- the largest crowd in NCAA history.

      There's a lot of competition at running back, and there's no question Jordan Todman is the No. 1 guy. But with the addition of Shoemate there was speculation he would be No. 2 behind Todman. Edsall wouldn't say, but based on what we've seen and heard (including the upcoming quote from Edsall), it's looking like Robbie Frey is ready to shine.

      "I wish I had a 105 Robbie Frys. Just his work ethic, his character, his love of the game, his respect of the game. He just works. He's had a good camp and has been very, very productive. He's a guy I know we can count on," Edsall said.

      Tuesday, August 24, 2010

      8/24 Notes

      By all accounts, this was the last open practice for the media, so getting a good look at these guys before Michigan was important.

      There were plenty of eyes on the Huskies today as West Haven football coach Dennis McCarthy, former Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen, broadcaster Sean McDonough as well as a few scouts, including one from the Indianapolis Colts, were on hand.

      I'll get into the rundown and we'll go from there.

      9:10 Special teams drills followed by stretching. Leon Kinnard was out of the usual red jersey for QBs and in a blue one today. he started out with the WRs, but finished off with the QBs.

      9:31 Position drills. Freshman LB Andrew Opoku practiced with the tight ends.

      10:00 The offense ran plays without an opposing defense. It was basically a day off for Zach Frazer so Scott McCummings and Blaise Driscoll saw most of the snaps in this drill.

      10:02 The second-string O began a 7-on-7 drill.

      Mike Box was 6-for-12 and an INT. He had one ball which he threw behind his WR and another that was deflected. On another long pass, which should have been a TD, John Delahunt didn't get to the spot for the catch.

      Johnny McEntee wasn't as sharp as Box, but completed more passes. Mcentee was 9 of 10.

      Kinnard was 3-for-3, including a diving, one-handed catch by Tebucky Jones.

      10:21 Offense and defense split up and work from the playbook with their coordinators.

      10:30 11-on-11 two-minute drill starting at the offense's five-yard line.

      1031 Box overthrows Mike Smith along the left sideline. It would have been a sure-fire TD had the throw been more accurate. Box rebounds with a short pass to Jordan Todman, who picked up at least 20 yards. The offense sets up Dave Teggart for what was roughly a 40-yard FG. He misses wide right.

      1034 McEntee takes over and is promptly yelled at by Randy Edsall because he took a sack deep in his zone rather than throwing the ball away. The McEntee-led offense goes 3-and-out.

      Kinnard follows, completes two passes to get the Huskies to around their own 30. But he, like McEntee, took a sack forcing the Huskies to use a timeout. Again, Edsall was none too pleased.

      Kinnard threw an incomplete pass and was then picked off by Byron Jones.

      Not much else came out of the drill except:
      * a bad snap by Moe Petrus deep in the offensive zone. It went over Kinnard's head and would have been a safety or touchdown.
      * Some nice runs from Robbie Frey, Jordan Todman and D.J. Shoemate.
      *Kashif Moore made a terrific leaping catch in traffic on a Box pass.
      *Edsall threw A.J. Portee out of practice, for what appeared to be alack of hustle.

      10:54 No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense vs. No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense
      Neither Zach Frazer nor Scott Lutrus practiced this morning. They were more like additional assistant coaches.

      The only real highlights were a big run by Frey to get inside the five, and two plays later, Todman ran it in from three out.

      Videos from today's practice

      I've got two of the offensive line, one of the quarterbacks and two of the running backs. What you don't see prior to the second RBs video is Meme Wylie knocking down position coach Terry Richardson not once, but twice. It was a comical scene, but I think T-Rich was ready for some serious work.

      video



      video

      video
      video
      video

      Monday, August 23, 2010

      Open no more

      The Huskies had an open practice for the public slated for Tuesday morning. But due to the expected rainfall, it has been moved indoors and no longer open to the public.

      Thursday, August 19, 2010

      Notes from Camp Husky

      This was an early (8 a.m.) practice, especially for us sports writers. It was also an open practice. I would estimate 50 people were there. Among them, the fathers of Jimmy Bennett and Michael Box, who figured heavily in the world of UConn considering the suspension of Cody Endres. There was also a scout from the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL scouts are nothing new at college camps.

      Big east officials have been with the team the past two days, part of program instituted last season. This gives the team an understanding of rules -- new and old -- and the refs a chance to get some work in before the first week of the season. The crew on hand was the same that worked the UConn-Notre Dame game last season.

      Here's a rundown:

      8:20 team stretching

      8:31 QBs working on their drills. Leon Kinnard, who has worked in multiple positions, is a QB today.

      8:36 LBs working on run defense

      8:38 Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead oversees QBs, who are working on drop steps
      and side-to-side shuffles before making a throw.

      8:40 WRs run routes with staff presenting obstacles and serving as defenders with use of pads.

      8:46 Oklahoma drill. This time its WRs vs. CBs. Joshua Alexander blew up Dwyane Difton, who was warned "you're going to get hurt" using the form he did.
      8:57 QBs working with WRs

      9:08 WRs vs. CBs. Mike Lang, who moved from WR to S, made a strong play when he came from behind the receiver and deflected the pass. Later on, Michael Smith hauls in a spectacular pass from I don't know with an equally impressive over-the-shoulder grab down the left sideline.

      The non-football highlight came when a local "news" reporter from Fox decided that camp should stop so Randy Edsall can answer questions about the suspensions of Endres and o-lineman Erik Kuraczea. He said he didn't read SID Mike Enright's three-sentence release, which ended with the mention of no further comment. The reporter insisted he be shown respect because he's a "news reporter" and asked repeatedly if Enright "saw his report." The joy here is the guy left before Edsall would speak. So if you get a hostile twist on UConn from Fox today, you know why.

      The best part was his cameraman wore a Boston College hat. Can anyone say Renee Gork?
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/renee-gork-fired-florida-_n_684332.html

      Add to it that there were fans in the area, and this was not a cool move, Mr. Fox "news reporter".

      9:20 11-on-11

      9:40 7-on-7

      9:48 D-Line vs. O-Line

      9:59 11-on-11 and the offense starts at its 1-yard line. Dwayne Difton made a nifty catch on a 40-plus-yard pass. Ted Jennings, now a second-string defensive end, busted through the line for a monster pass deflection. Think Dikembe Mutombo.

      Wednesday, August 18, 2010

      Endres and Kuraczea suspended

      Redshirt junior quarterback Cody Endres and redshirt sophomore offensive guard Erik Kuraczea have been suspended indefinitely by the team due to a violation of UConn and Division of Athletics policies, the university announced Wednesday.

      There was no other comment, but I am sure we'll have more in the morning following the team's practice.

      Tuesday, August 17, 2010

      Hairy situation

      In years past, Edsall had forbidden his players from growing beards, much to the chagrin of several Huskies. But when the team met to start training camp, there was a change of tune from Edsall. Suddenly, the Huskies could grow a little more facial hair.

      “I just want them to be clean-cut,” Edsall said. “Some guys who shave a lot get the bumps on their face and then they don’t want to. So I just say, ‘Hey, if you want a beard, that’s fine. Just keep it neat.” It’s all about them presenting an image out there. As long as they’re presentable, it’s not a Santa Claus beard or anything like that.”

      Right guard Zach Hurd is excited about the change.

      “Now we can have an actual physical-looking offensive line,” Hurd said. “Usually if I shave, I look like a 12-year-old boy.”

      Faith and football collide

      During holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast from sunrise to sunset. This fasting, which includes absence of water, can make those hours particularly challenging.

      That includes center Moe Petrus. But as Petrus explained, the Qur’an makes exceptions for physically demanding situations.

      “I’m not fasting now, but if you can’t -- if you have obligations -- you can make it up later,” he said.

      It isn’t as simple as forgoing the fast. In its place, Petrus will have to either fast at another time or provide charitable services beyond what he already does through the football program.

      Petrus has fasted through a few in-season practices, but never through a game or on game day. This year, he said, is the first time Ramadan has fallen during training camp.

      He recalled former Carolina Panther wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad used to fast during the preseason. Still, fasting during the hot summer days, especially with the team enduring two-a-days, would make for a hazardous environment.

      “At this level, it would be really strenuous, really hard to not drink water, to not eat while practicing,” Petrus said. “We’re losing four, five pounds at practice as it is.”

      Stepping up

      Sitting on a table in the training room on Monday, Marcus Campbell tore an anterior cruciate ligament during a non-contact drill on Saturday, ending his season before it began, the defensive end pulled aside team captain Scott Lutrus and apologized for letting the team down two straight years.

      Campbell, who missed last season due to academic concerns, took his latest misfortune hard. But his teammates weren’t going to let him get down.

      “It’s not his fault,” Lutrus said. “He was going out there playing hard. It’s what Coach tells us, go out there and play every play like it’s your last, and I believe he did that.”

      Campbell will undergo surgery on Friday.

      Now with Campbell shelved, the Huskies are elevating Trevardo Williams to play opposite Jesse Joseph, giving UConn a pair of true sophomores at defensive end. It also means that red shirt sophomores Ted Jennings and A.J. Portee will man the second unit, giving the Huskies a lot of youth and not much experience at the position.

      “There’s no margin of error,“ said defensive tackle Kendall Reyes. “The twos and threes are expected to know everything the starters are supposed to know. If anything, the twos and threes should know it even better because when you get thrown in, the coaches don’t expect a drop off at all. You’re getting more mental reps, so you should know everything that you’re doing, exactly where you’re supposed to go.”

      Campbell marks the second loss to the unit as Greg Lloyd Jr., will be red shirted and moved back to his original position of linebacker for next season. Lloyd is recovering from a knee injury. He is able to practice, but will not play.

      Sunday, August 15, 2010

      Campbell done for the season

      Defensive end Marcus Campbell, who sat out last season due to academic issues, will miss the entire 2010 season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in practice on Saturday.

      Campbell, a junior, was expected to start for UConn. He has 24 career tackles and two sacks for the Huskies. The Huskies will now likely turn to Trevardo Williams to play opposite Jesse Joseph.

      He will undergo surgery later this week.

      Tuesday, August 10, 2010

      Opening Day thoughts

      Monday's first day of practice was different than the previous four years, at least, in that there were zero scuffles between players. I don't put a lot of weight into some people's notion that tempers have to flare.

      What I also liked was that the Huskies went right to business. The thing is, they know for a change that this could be their year. UConn has played well in recent years but this team can win the Big East outright.

      There are two important areas of concern. First, without Marcus Easley, who steps up at wide receiver. The other is the development of reliable defensive backs. For the first time in a while, Randy Edsall doesn't have a few guys that he truly trusts.

      How those play out over the next month will determine what the Huskies do.

      Monday, August 09, 2010

      Back from camp

      I've just walked in from Day One of UConn football camp. Sorry there weren't live updates, but that's a new mandate of coach Randy Edsall, who seems worried about the flow of information getting out there about his team. After all, the Huskies have been known to use creativity in playcalling (see run up the middle, run to the left, run to the right).

      Anyhow, here are some timestamped updates from my trusty notebook.

      4:30 p.m. Offense working on running plays/blocking schemes

      4:36 p.m. QBs practice drop steps/DBs work on side-to-side footwork

      4:40 p.m. DBs work on their back peddle and opening up to play the ball

      4:45 p.m. Defensive line hitting the sled

      4:50 p.m. Corners are in 1-on-1 workouts with each other
      *A side note -- I love DBs who run routes. Nothing helps them think like a WR better than playing WR.

      4:52 p.m. RBs and WRs run routes and catch passes. Leon Kinnard makes a beautiful catch on an out route pass from Zach Frazer. I didn't see who was covering Kinnard, but he beat two men to the spot and pulled away.

      5:10 p.m. 11-on-11 drills

      6:03 p.m. Red zone drills

      Highlights:
      Dwayne Difton, who looks bigger, makes a diving catch in the end zone off of a Cody Endres.

      New Husky D.J. Shoemate tiptoes down the line abouyt seven yards for the score

      Isiah Moore grabs a tough pass in traffic in the back of the end zone

      Shoemate plows up the middle for a score

      Tebucky Jones catches Michael Box's high pass in the corner of the end zone thanks to Jones outjumping the defense. It was a spectacular catch.

      I'll come back later with more thoughts on today's practice.

      Day 1

      The Huskies open practice this afternoon, starting what should be an exciting season. There's a lot of hype surrounding UConn, with some polls having them in the Top 25 and others just on the outside.

      UConn has a favorable schedule, especially early on. A win in the opener at Michigan would put the Huskies on track for a big season.

      However, you will have to wait a while to get updates on today's practice -- or any practice, for that matter. UConn has banned live blogging, Facebook and Twitter updates.

      I will have updates afterward.

      Wilson added to another watch list

      Senior linebacker Lawrence Wilson was added to the Bednarik award, given to the nation's best defensive player.

      Wilson, a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., led the Huskies with 140 tackles last season en route to an All-Big East first team selection. He also had five sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

      Saturday, August 07, 2010

      What the SNY deal really means

      If you heard me this morning on Sports Talk with Bill and Mike on 104.7 FM, you know why the TV deal between UConn and SNY is so important.

      If you didn't, here it is:

      When all Hades was breaking loose this summer with schools talking relocating to different conferences and such, one of the sticking point to what made Rutgers so appealing to the Big Ten was its place in the New York City market.

      Guess what?

      That's gone. It now belongs to the Huskies.

      Here are the details from the press release:

      ►Comprehensive UConn Huskies Football Season Preview Show

      ►Randy Edsall's Weekly Press Conference

      ►In-Depth Post-Game Shows [Following all SNY-televised UConn football games]

      ►UConn Huskies Season-in-Review/Bowl Preview Special

      ►UConn's "Football Signing Day" Press Conference

      ►Re-airs of every UConn Huskies Football Game [subject to availability]

      ►Huskies Power Hour: A 60-minute cut-down version of that week's game.

      ► SNY Spotlight with Head Coach Randy Edsall. SNY Spotlight is an exclusive signature series - created by SNY's Original Entertainment Division - that features in-depth interviews with New York's most influential leaders in sports and entertainment


      It's not just football. It's men's basketball and a little bit of women's, which is a shame.

      ►Comprehensive UConn Huskies Men's basketball Season Preview Show

      ►In-Depth Pre-Game Shows Prior to Select SNY-Televised UConn Basketball Games

      ►UConn Huskies Season-in-Review Special

      ►Re-airs of Every UConn Huskies basketball Game Shown on SNY

      ► SNY Spotlight with Men's Head Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun and Women's Head Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma

      This has two effects.

      The first is, as mentioned earlier, the Big East has a school not named Rutgers, embedded in NYCs TV market. If schools start looking to move again, and they will, the Big East suddenly looks more appealing. Now, don't be too shocked to see Rutgers pop up on YES, but if you are a school looking to make the jump up to the Big East or from another large conference to the Big East, the exposure on SNY is a nice perk.

      The second is that should the Big East fail at securing its future, UConn is now positioned itself to jump ship if the right opportunity strikes. So if the Big Ten or even the ACC came calling, UConn has a major bargaining chip.

      On a side note to the SNY deal, the rest of Connecticut should be receiving the network on Comcast before the season opener at Michigan.

      Wednesday, August 04, 2010

      More from Big East Media Day

      The big topic in the conference and really, in the nation, this summer has been the talk of conferences expanding. These so-called super conferences would have put the likes of the Big East in jeopardy.

      The temporary dust settled and the big piece in all the talk -- Notre Dame -- chose to remain an independent for the time being. Had the Irish moved it would have led to a chain reaction that very likely would have doomed the Big East.

      Because these rumors will pick up again and at some point in time become inevitable, the Big East has spent time and money to study what is in its best interests.

      The eight football coaches were instructed to not discuss the conference shuffle matter while in Bridgeport, but listening to commissioner John Marinatto talking you get the feel there will be big changes.

      The Big East brought in former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as a consultant. It will also announce a new TV partnership -- different than what's in place -- with SNY next week at Rentschler Field.

      But the one thing unsaid that I got the impression will happen is expansion.

      This is the course many of the conference's fans want to see as do many of the coaches because it gives a balanced schedule.

      Let's look at the possibilities, at least in my opinion, and in no particular order.

      1. Notre Dame
      This makes the most sense and secures both the conference's future, increased revenue, greater national exposure and higher bowl quality.

      But...

      This is NEVER going to happen. The Irish would prefer to remain an independent, and if it were to join a conference, the Big Ten (12) makes the most sense.

      2. Central Florida
      UCF is the most likely because it gives South Florida an in-state rival and improves the Big East's visibility in a football hotbed.

      3. East Carolina
      This is a strong, southern program that fits the bill for the teams that entered the last time the Big East shuffled its deck.

      4. Temple
      Are they still mad?

      It is an up-and-coming program as long as Al Golden remains there. It's in a major city, which gives the Big East schools in the New York and Philadelphia markets.

      5. Memphis
      Not a great football program, but the basketball program would have the conference in the news for all the wrong reasons.

      6. Any school left hanging by a future purge.
      It's called westward expansion.

      Happenings from Big East Media Day

      Greetings from Newport!

      An odd thing happened today -- the Huskies were respected. In the past, UConn was generally dismissed by the voting media, but this year was different. UConn finished fourth in the poll, its highest finish ever.

      Here are the results with first-place votes in parenthesis:
      1. Pittsburgh (22) 190
      2. Cincinnati 142
      West Virginia (1) 142
      4. UConn (1) 131
      5. Rutgers 99
      6. South Florida 79
      7. Syracuse 41
      8. Louisville 40

      Usually the Huskies say things such as they are insulted and have a chip on their shoulder. But this year it was more about living up to the expectations and exceeding them.

      Thursday, July 29, 2010

      Edsall on ESPN

      Ian Bethune over at Sox and Dawgs generously provided links to UConn coach Randy Edsall's day on ESPN's various brands.


      http://soxanddawgs.com/huskies/video/uconn-football-randy-edsall-on-first-take.html

      http://soxanddawgs.com/huskies/articles/audio-uconn-football-coach-randy-edsall-on-the-herd.html

      http://soxanddawgs.com/huskies/articles/randy-edsall-sportsnation-chat.html

      http://soxanddawgs.com/huskies/video/uconn-football-coach-randy-edsall-on-espnews.html

      http://soxanddawgs.com/huskies/articles/audio-uconn-football-coach-randy-edsall-on-espn-1250-pittsburgh.html

      http://soxanddawgs.com/huskies/video/uconn-football-coach-randy-edsall-on-the-scott-van-pelt-show.html

      Monday, July 26, 2010

      Randy Edsall Day

      The coach will be all over ESPN's properties Thursday. Here's the schedule:

      10:50 a.m. – Appear on First Take with Jay Crawford, Dana Jacobson, Jay Crawford and Reischea Canidate

      11:05a.m. – Interview with SportsCenter.com

      11:20 a.m. – Interview With ESPN Rise

      11:40 a.m. – Appear on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio, ESPNU and ESPN.com

      1:00 p.m. – ESPN.com chat

      1:20 p.m. – Interview with ESPNW

      1:40 p.m. – Appear on ESPNU

      2:10 p.m. – Appear on ESPNews

      2:40 p.m. – Radio interview on 1250 ESPN Radio in Pittsburgh

      3:10 p.m. – Appear on the The Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio, ESPN2 and ESPN.com

      3:30 p.m. – Appear on College Football Live with multiple airings on ESPN and ESPNU

      Thursday, July 22, 2010

      Interesting story...

      from my colleague Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant. Apparently, a Boston College assistant coach, in an attempt to lure a Virginia high school QB who had committed to UConn, told the kid via e-mail that Huskies coach Randy Edsall and his staff will be gone by January.

      Talk about playing dirty.

      Read more here:
      http://articles.courant.com/2010-07-22/sports/hc-uconn-football-recruit-0722-20100721_1_uconn-coaching-staff-coach-edsall-bc-coach

      Thursday, July 01, 2010

      Summer, Summer, Summer time

      Coach Randy Edsall and staff just wrapped up camps and are heading on vacation, but not before providing updates on the goings on around Huskyville.

      Jimmy Bennett will be "full-go" for camp;Jesse Joseph (shoulder), Blidi Wreh-Wilson will also be ready for the start of camp. Greg Lloyd's availability will be based on "how hard" he wants to work. Sounds as if the son of the former Pittsburgh Steeler is not working hard.

      "I'm very pleased with what we got there," Edsall said of the depth at defensive end. "I think guys are working hard and showed some things in the spring. If Greg's there, he's there. If he's not, he's not there."

      Nick Williams (hip) will be good, Alex Polito "should be cleared toward the end of camp, and Emmanuel Omokaro (late September).

      Freshman Geremy Davis may miss time due to an injured knee sustained during a workout. Right now, there is no word until results come back from an MRI.

      All of the incoming freshmen reported Sunday for summer school and are getting acclimated and "doing well," said Edsall.

      Three open practices for fans: Fri Aug. 13, Thurs. Aug. 19 and Aug. 24.

      Marcus Aiken dismissed by UConn due to violation of school policy. Edsall denied to specify whether this was academic or conduct related. His departure does not open up any positional changes at safety. What Edsall did say is that "nothing legal" was in the papers, so we can "figure it out."

      Malik Generett is not eligible to play due to school policies. He "did not meet NCAA" requirements.

      On the environment at UConn: "We tried to eliminated all excuses for failure."

      Big East Media Day is a month away and the season is two months away. How quickly time flies.

      Tuesday, June 22, 2010

      More honors for Hurd and Wilson

      UConn LB Lawrence Wilson and OG Zach Hurd were both named to the preseason All-America third team by the Sporting News.

      Monday, June 21, 2010

      Wilson, too

      Hurd’s UConn teammate, senior Lawrence Wilson was named to watch list for the 2010 Bronko Nagurski Trophy by the FWAA and the Charlotte (N.C.) Touchdown Club. It is awarded to the nation’s best defensive player.

      Wilson led the Huskies with 140 tackles — 11 for a loss — to go along with five sacks. The Tuscaloosa, Ala., native averaged 10.8 tackles per game, first in the conference and 10th nationally. His efforts earned him first team All-Big East honors.

      Waterford's Hurd named to watch list

      UConn senior offensive guard Zach Hurd was named to the 2010 Outland Trophy watch List on Monday by the Football Writers Association of America. The award is given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman.

      Hurd, a former standout at Waterford High School, was a first-team All-Big East selection last season after starting 13 games and has made 26 consecutive starts for the Huskies. He is also one of the team’s four captains for the 2010 season.

      Tuesday, June 15, 2010

      Two more times announced

      UConn's games on Sept. 11 against Texas Southern and Sept. 18 at Temple will kickoff at noon. 

      Kickoff times have been finalized for three of UConn's six home games. In addition to the season opener versus Texas Southern, the West Virginia game on Friday, Oct. 29 is at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2 and the Pittsburgh game on Thursday, Nov. 11 is at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

      Wednesday, June 09, 2010

      What Nebraska moving to the Big 10 means to UConn and the Big East

      There has been so much talk over the past few months about this school moving here or there and the creation of super conferences. The first piece has appeared to have fallen into place Wednesday.

      Word that Nebraska will leave the Big 12 and head to the Big 10 should be a sign of relief for the Big East, at least initially.

      If nothing else, Nebraska might be a big enough of a deterrent to Notre Dame, which doesn't want to be in a conference bigger than 12 teams, to remain an independent. This saves the Big East. Even if Rutgers, Pitt or Syracuse defect, there won't be an issue replacing them with Central Florida or Memphis.

      As for the Big 12, they look to replace Nebraska with Texas Christian. But if the conference can't hold itself together, all bets are off and the Big 10 may try to take several Big 12 and Big East teams.

      The fallout could produce a Big East raid of Conference USA or should the SEC expand, the Big East and ACC could produce a super conference of their own.

      Right now, the Big East looks safe.

      Monday, April 26, 2010

      Depth chart

      2010 University of Connecticut Post-Spring Practice Depth Chart

      Offense

      LT
      Adam Masters (RSo., 6-4, 270)
      Jimmy Bennett (RSo., 6-8, 301)
      Greg McKee (Fr., 6-5, 299)

      LG
      Mathieu Olivier (RSr., 6-6, 276)
      Erik Kuraczea (RSo., 6-2, 315)
      Steve Greene (RFr., 6-4, 324)

      C
      Moe Petrus (RJr., 6-2, 292)
      Gary Bardzak (RJr., 6-3, 297)
      Ben Chapman (RSo., 6-2, 276)

      RG
      Zach Hurd (RSr., 6-7, 323)
      Tyler Bullock (RFr., 6-4, 291)

      RT
      Mike Ryan (RJr., 6-5, 332)
      Kevin Friend (RFr., 6-5, 287)
      Stephen Brown (RFr., 6-4, 289)

      TE
      Ryan Griffin (RSo., 6-6, 240)
      John Delahunt (RSo., 6-3, 243)
      Corey Manning (RSo., 5-4, 255)
      Alex Kaiser (Sr., 6-5, 238)

      TB
      Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 190)
      Robbie Frey (RFr., 6-0, 199) OR
      Kelmetrius Wylie (RJr., 5-10, 223)
      Jonathan Jean-Louis (Sr., 6-0, 200)
      Martin Hyppolite (RFr., 6-0, 210)

      FB
      Anthony Sherman (Sr., 5-11, 242)
      Bret Manning (Sr., 5-11, 255)

      QB
      Zach Frazer (RSr., 6-4, 236)
      Cody Endres (RJr., 6-4, 223)
      Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 194) OR
      Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 179) OR
      Johnny McEntee (RSo., 6-3, 216)

      WR
      Michael Smith (Jr., 6-0, 200)
      Malik Generett (RFr., 6-4, 210)
      Joshua Massey (Sr., 5-8, 186)

      WR
      Kashif Moore (RJr., 5-9, 177)
      Nick Williams (So., 5-9, 182)
      Dwayne Difton (So., 5-11, 171)
      Eric Sawicki (RFr., 6-0, 189)

      WR
      Isiah Moore (RJr., 6-1, 183)
      Gerrard Sheppard (RSo., 6-2, 205) OR
      Marcus Aiken (RFr., 5-11, 191)

      Defense

      DE
      Jesse Joseph (So., 6-3, 231)
      Trevardo Williams (So., 6-1, 224) OR
      A.J. Portee (RSo., 6-4, 236)
      Jonathan Louis (Fr., 6-5, 241)

      DT
      Kendall Reyes (RJr., 6-4, 287)
      Alex Polito (RSr., 6-6, 284) OR
      Shamar Stephen (RFr., 6-5, 291)

      DT
      Ryan Wirth (RSo., 6-2, 275) OR
      Twyon Martin (RJr., 6-2, 270)
      Tim Willman (RFr., 6-3, 271)

      DE
      Marcus Campbell (Jr., 6-2, 227)
      Greg Lloyd (Sr., 6-2, 234) OR
      Ted Jennings (RS., 6-5, 238)

      “Husky” LB
      Jory Johnson (RSo., 6-1, 219)
      Andrew Opoku (Fr., 6-4, 217)
      Matt Edwards (RSo., 6-0, 189)
      Emmanuel Omokaro (RJr., 5-10, 207)

      MLB
      Scott Lutrus (RSr., 6-3, 240)
      Jerome Williams (RSo., 6-11, 248)
      Michael Osiecki (Fr., 6-2, 225)

      WLB
      Lawrence Wilson (RSr., 6-1, 217)
      Sio Moore (RSo., 6-1, 231)
      Mark Hinkley (RSo., 5-11, 228)

      CB
      Blidi Wreh-Wilson (RSo., 6-0, 184)
      Tevrin Brandon (RFr., 5-10, 172)

      S
      Jerome Junior (RSo., 6-1, 208)
      David Kenney (RFr., 6-0, 186)
      Harris Agbor (RJr., 5-10, 192)
      John Yurek (RJr., 6-0, 200)

      S
      Kijuan Dabney (Sr., 6-0, 214)
      Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 186) OR
      Chris Lopes (RFr., 5-10, 183)

      CB
      Dwayne Gratz (RSo., 6-0, 190)
      Gary Wilburn (RJr., 5-11, 196) OR
      Gilbert St. Louis (Fr., 5-11, 176)

      Special Teams

      P
      Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 200) OR
      Cole Wagner (RFr., 6-2, 197)

      K
      Dave Teggart (RJr., 6-0, 209)
      Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 200)

      LS
      Derek Chard (Sr., 6-3, 234)
      Stephen Brown (RFr., 6-4, 279) OR
      Mark Hinkley (RSo., 5-11, 228)

      H
      Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 200)
      Zach Frazer (RSr., 6-4, 236)

      PR
      Gary Wilburn (RJr., 5-11, 196) OR
      Nick Williams (So., 5-9, 182) OR
      Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 179)

      KR
      Robbie Frey (RFr., 6-0, 199)
      Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 190)