Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Lou train, extreme hedge jumping and other bizzare news from practice

College hockey season is finally over, at least for me. Quinnipiac made a valiant effort at the ECAC final four in blizzard conditions in Albany, N.Y. over the weekend, but came up just short of winning an NCAA tournament bid. The Bobcats beat St. Lawrence, the No. 11 team in the country, to advance to the finals where they led Clarkson 2-0 heading into the third period. But Clarkson, ranked third in the country, scored four unanswered goals to spoil a great run.

So it's back to UConn football for me. I'll be heading up to Storrs for all the open practices the rest of the spring, praying gas prices don't spike any higher and hoping the Nor'easters are over until next winter. At least we weren't out on a snow-covered field watching the team practice today. At any rate, expect the Runway to be at full strength for the next month.

Here's a recap of Tuesday's open practice.

  • The Huskies were in pads and tackling, or as was the case whenever Lou Allen got the ball, trying to tackle. Allen broke off a couple of long runs and looked like a runaway tractor trailer. "(At 238 pounds) he's a load," Randy Edsall said. "Coming around that corner with a head of steam, he'll throw the fear of God into some people."

  • Edsall said Allen will no longer be simply the goal line back. He'll spell Donald Brown as his top backup and have a more significant role on offense.

  • Brown missed Tuesday's practice with a stomach virus.

  • 6-foot-9, 313-pound offensive lineman Dan Ryan is big enough to step over a Volkswagon in one full stride, but apparently he's not much of a leaper. Ryan watched from the sidelines with a protective boot on his ankle today after he was injured last Thursday. It seems he tried to hurdle a bush in the parking lot at the Buckland Hills cinema in Manchester, but landed awkwardly on the curb and rolled his ankle. That must have been a sight to see. Edsall said Ryan could miss two weeks, three weeks or maybe the whole spring. "I just don't know," Edsall said.

  • Will Beatty has recovered from his broken leg, but landed in Edsall's doghouse after going half speed during off-season weight room sessions. Ryan was primed to win the job outright in the spring, but after his failed Edwin Moses impersonation at the movie theater, it looks like Ryan has also taken two steps backward. Zach Hurd was switched over from right tackle to help push Beatty back into shape. More on this story in Wednesday's Register.

  • I always thought Dennis Brown had a good arm, but never realized just how good it was. He throws bullets.

  • Wide receiver Ellis Gaulden hurt his foot Tuesday. It may not be serious. If Gaulden can stay healthy, he'll be a real help to the passing game.

  • Terrence Jeffers could be one of UConn's breakout players this fall. He hit the weight room hard over the winter, and looks like a scaled down version of Calvin Johnson. Keep an eye on him at the Blue-White Game. Brad Kanuch also got bigger, and is still a burner. He showed that after outrunning everyone after one catch.

More to come tomorrow......


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