Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Media Day Revisited

A few opinions and observations from media day at the Hotel Viking ballroom in Newport, R.I. ...

  • An unofficial count gave UConn the runaway prize for most beat writers who made the trip. Not surprising since Newport is so close, at least for us. It's a 4-6 hour drive for Rutgers and Syracuse and requires a plane trip for everyone else. But I'm not complaining. Don't think anone else was either. Newport is great.
  • Randy Edsall sporting a George Hamilton-like tan. Glad to see he enjoyed his summer. The coach's 20-hour days will start soon enough.
  • If you have $359 a day to spend on lodging, the Hotel Viking is recommended. Oh, I stayed at Best Western along with the rest of the media.
  • Louisville running back Michael Bush is being touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate, and he certainly dressed the part. The last time I saw a zoot suit like that was on a "Tom and Jerry" cartoon.
  • The national championship game will be played at the brand new Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. this year. West Virginia has a legitimate chance to be there.
  • Am I the only one who orders regular old coffee at Starbucks?
  • Each year the media discovers a "go-to" player to interview... a guy who comes through with something interesting and informing to say, win or lose, practice or postgame. Last year it was Grant Preston. If media day is any indication, I have a strong feeling it will be Rhema Fuller this year.
  • Say what you will about Mike Tranghese, but he's doing a good job. There are seven bowl games with Big East ties for an eight-team league, including an automatic BCS spot for the league champ.
  • Watch out for Pitt. They've got the whole package. Maybe not enough to unseat West Virginia, but close.
  • It's surprisingly difficult to find a good restaurant in Newport. I didn't have a good meal there, even at the normally solid Brick Alley Pub (tip: don't get the Asian chicken wrap). Before I went home, I drove 25 minutes the opposite direction to Providence just to eat at the Cheesecake Factory, which never fails to deliver a delicious meal (get Evelyn's Favorite Pasta. Absolutely fantastic).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Welcome to The Runway

I'd like to welcome all of you to "Ramblings from the Runway", my first foray into blogging. My name is Chip Malafronte, the New Haven Register's beat writer for UConn football. I was born and raised in Southern Connecticut, and have watched UConn athletics morph from its infancy in the Big East to national power player. As a reporter, I have the privlidge of getting the inside scoop and relaying the news and events back to the reader. This blog is designed to provide even more depth and insight into UConn football, as well as provide a small taste of what it's like to be a beat writer for a Division I-A program. There will be plenty to dissect and discuss as the year unfolds. This may include everything from game day strategies and opponent scouting reports to what D.J. Hernandez is listening to on his iPod before games. I plan to update at least a few times a week, maybe even multiple times on any given day.

There should be plenty to blog about from now until the season ends, which could very well be at a bowl game in late December (dare I say January? anything is possible). So sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Opening day is August 31, but for the beat writers the season began last week at Media Day in Newport, R.I. The first practice is a week from Friday (Aug. 4), but I will provide my 5-minute guide to the upcoming season for Sunday's editions of the Register.