Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Never a dull moment

No such thing as a slow news day with the UConn football team these days. Offensive lineman Donald Thomas, a West Haven resident, was suspended for two games after an arrest at Wings Over Storrs on Sunday. Thomas, according to the police report, was involved in a fight and charged with misdemeanor assault and breach of peace. He'll be in court on Halloween.

That makes nine arrests since May 2005 for UConn football players. Thomas seemed one of the least likely to be involved in something like this. An outstanding student who is preparing for law school next fall (see Runway story on Thomas from August), Thomas was one of several players who spoke up during a team meeting after the 'Beergate' incident led to the dismissal of five players two weeks ago. An emotional Thomas, a former walk-on, told teammates in the meeting that he had been taking things for granted since he was awarded a scholarship in August and vowed to get back to the hard work and team commitment that earned him the free ride in the first place. Sounds like a lapse in judgment from a smart kid, but still another black mark on the program especially in light of the swarm of bad press recently.

Some other notes from Tuesday....

  • No word on who the starting QB will be. That's for me to know and you to find out, said Randy Edsall, who then stuck his tongue out at the media. OK, he didn't use those exact words. And he didn't stick his tongue out either. But it is a bit of gamesmanship by the ole' coach, who DID admit he doesn't want to tip his hand to Rutgers. "Let (Rutgers) try to figure out what we're going to do, who we're going to play," Edsall said. We do know it will be either Bones or D.J. Dennis Brown is going to redshirt. Don't expect an announcement on who'll play until just before the ESPN broadcast on Sunday goes live. More on this in Wednesday's Register.

  • Neither D.J. nor Bonislawski were made available to the media on Tuesday during the weekly luncheon. Word is one of them declined the invitation to speak to the media, and since UConn hasn't made a formal announcement on who'll play this weekend, the other quarterback was told not to head upstairs to greet the press.

  • UConn didn't send out the press release on Donald Thomas' suspension until everyone had left the Shenkman Center and headed back to their respective newspaper offices on Tuesday. Not sure what the thinking was on that. A distraction? Compared to the last few weeks this incident is a dance around the maypole. And it's not like any of the players or coaches would have commented on it anyway.

  • OK. I made fun of Jim Leavitt and Steve Slaton over the last three weeks for being bad interviews (and they love me in West Virginia for that one...got plenty of fan mail from folks in the greater Morgantown area.) So in an effort to prove I'm not a complete misanthrope, I want to point out a couple of great interviews today. Dan Davis was the featured speaker at media day, and was outstanding. He had complete command of the room. It was like he's been doing press conferences his whole life. He was funny, insightful and brimming with confidence. Definite captain's material. I also like Lindsey Witten, who I will refer to from here on out as Hard Hittin' Lindsey Witten (UConn needs more players with nicknames). It wasn't so much what he said as it was his demeanor. He has a quiet confidence that was impressive for a true freshman. He knows he belongs and can play at this level, but is well aware he still needs to work hard to get bigger and stronger. Now 6-4, 217 pounds, Hard Hittin' Lindsey Witten could be a terror at around 245 pounds with his 4.7 speed. Edsall said he has the potential to be one of the best defensive ends UConn has ever had.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I wanted to be a little snarky, I could say that Rutgers could prepare for Bones by putting 11 guys on the field and letting the rest fall into place.

But I don't really feel like snark this early in the day.

October 25, 2006 9:29 AM 

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