Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday practice: a little of this, a little of that.

Some news and notes from Thursday's open practice. Randy Edsall called it an intense practice, with some hitting and tackling that wasn't supposed to be but wound up taking on a lfe of its own.
  • Ellis Gaulden's injury is a bit more severe than Randy Edsall first thought. Gaulden was on crutches, and may be on them for another six weeks. Edsall said Gaulden is having a procedure done tomorrow to see how much ligament damage there is, and there's potential for a screw insertion. It could be a couple of months before Ellis is cleared to practice again. Tough break for a guy whose already torn the ACL is both knees since arriving at UConn.

  • Donald Brown is over his stomach virus, but left practice early Thursday after falling on his surgically-repaired shoulder. Edsall didn't think it was anything too serious.

  • Scott Lutrus is happy to be back at outside linebacker. Moved to the middle last summer to help with depth, he could have been slated to back up Danny Lansanah there this fall. Instead, with the losses of Donta Moore and Justin DeRubertis, Lutrus is competing with fellow redshirt frosh Greg Robinson to start at strong side backer. More on Lutrus in tomorrow's Register.

  • Terrence Jeffers, who has been making some athletic receptions during practice, says all three quarterbacks are looking pretty good to him. "I couldn't even call it," Jeffers said. "They're all getting reps with the 1's. Dino and Tyler are pretty similar. D.J. throws a softer ball that's easy to catch. There's not too much of a difference. A spiral comes into my hands the same way."

  • Jeffers, a solid 214 pounds, says his added strength from off-season weight lifting has given him confidence on downfield blocking. Edsall said he likes the fact that Jeffers won't be easy to bring down by the opposition. "It's going to take some effort to tackle him," Edsall said.

  • Mike Hicks is feeling healthy again after knee and ankle injuries slowed him for the final three games. He recently turned in a squat of over 600 pounds, but didn't win style points for his technique. "It might have been the worst technique I've ever seen," Edsall joked.

  • Edsall spent most of the last 45 minutes of practice standing in the end zone to focus on his secondary during the first red zone drill of the spring. There was a lot of coaching going on. Edsall, a former defensive backs coach in the NFL, says the secondary will be his pet project this spring. With all the inexperience at safety, he'll be busy.

  • Andre Dixon might be the third tailback this season, but he's running the ball pretty darn well this spring. Edsall says he's very quick and more disciplined, but needs to work on the little things.

  • Funny moment of the day: During the red zone drill, D.J. Hernandez threw a pass that was blocked at the line of scrimmage. It wound up in the hands of 332-pound o-lineman (and chatterbox) Lawrence Green, who rumbled a few yards before taking a couple of hits. His momentum propelled him just over the goal line, where he leapt up with arms raised, took a few steps to where Edsall was standing, shouted some more words of encouragement before slapping Edsall on the rear end -- eliciting a big smile from the coach. Green was still whooping it up as he headed back his huddle.

More tomorrow....


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