Sunday, April 15, 2007

A little Sunday gravy: blogging Italian style.



Enjoying this lovely mid-April Sunday afternoon? Nothing like 18 hours of solid rain and Hurricane-force wind gusts to dreary up an already craptastic Connecticut spring.

Stuck inside all day? Never fear. The Runway is here. As my grandmother always said on rainy Sundays just like this, "You no worry...I cook up for you a nice-a blog, just-a the way you like, OK?" Just don't dunk pieces of Italian bread in the sauce. You'll get your hand slapped for making crumbs.

  • Having mixed feelings after the spring game yesterday? Just think back to the 2006 game. That should ease your mind. UConn is miles ahead of where they were a year ago. The offense looked brutal back then. There's still a long way to go, don't get me wrong. But Dennis Brown is a quarterback, and Tyler Lorenzen will be right there with him come August. Dennis had an up and down day. He started like gangbusters, leveled off, got hot again, leveled off again, etc. Randy Edsall summed it up like this. "I thought he tried to be too perfect. I thought instead of (Brown) letting it happen...you take it one play at a time and move on. He's got all the ability you're looking for in a quarterback. He just has to understand every play is not going to be a great play."

  • No suprises, but nothings been decided at QB. Edsall has said all along his intention wasn't to have the competition decided by the end of spring. "We probably won't name a starter until the Thursday before we play Duke." Get ready for four more months of healthy competition (and debate).

  • More quarterback fun. Dennis Brown's quarterback rating on Saturday was 45.05. Matt Vollono? 98.21. Excellent column by my collegue Dave Solomon on Vollono and what Saturday's game meant to him in today's Register. Even though Dave says he doesn't read blogs (well, la-de-freakin' da), I'll give the link to a good story anyway.

  • I'm a little worried about Larry Taylor at wide receiver. Once he gets the ball, forget it, he can make big things happen. But therein lies the crux. Throughout spring practice and again on Saturday, and even dating back to last season, it seems it's very difficult for quarterbacks to get him the ball because he's such a small target. He can't get over taller defensive backs in traffic, and even on the quick outs the QB has to put the pass right on the money. Would Larry's talent be better served by moving him back to being a scat back? I think so.

  • I've been saying it all spring, and they proved me right. Terrence Jeffers is looking like he'll be a top-notch possession receiver and the unquestioned No. 1 threat in the passing game. D.J. will have a big impact, too. He's the real deal. We didn't see Brad Kanuch targeted much Saturday, but his potential as a downfield threat is legit even if he's the third option this season. He reminds me of Kevin Curtis, now with the Eagles, incidentally.

  • Tough days for Donald Brown and Lou Allen. Call me a glass is half full guy, but credit the defensive line before getting too down on the o-line.

  • Speaking of the offensive line, Donald Thomas credits his two emergency starts last season (against Cincinnati and Louisville) with convincing himself that he could play and play well at this level. A former walk-on who played one year of high school football -- and that was as a freshman -- Thomas is one of the strongest players on the line. “I still have a lot to improve on, but going into the season I feel I should be starting and that I’m in a place where someone will have to take the spot away from me,” Thomas said. Against the Cardinals last December, Thomas was lined up opposite All-American defensive tackle Amobi Okoye – being touted by some NFL draft experts as a once in a generation player. “That was a confidence booster,” Thomas said of his day blocking Okoye. “Knowing I could play against him and that I can compete against the best competition helped me a lot.”

  • Six captains? Could be a club record. The team voted, but those ballots, at least partly, may have been tossed out the window. Forget about a recount. Edsall joked that the state ethics commission may come after him because he used his executive privileges to ensure those six guys became captains. “The most important thing is to get your leadership right, and I felt these were the six best on our team to lead us." It's good to be the king.

  • Just think, Scott Lutrus could have been in the Ivy League or at a Division I-AA program like UMass right now. UConn was one of the few I-A schools to court him, and Lutrus ate up the offer (much the way Edsall recalls eating up a terrific steak dinner at the Lutrus' house during an in-home visit). Lutrus, as you saw Saturday, has the potential to be one of the special ones. I liked that he and Desi Cullen went out and ran the Memorial Stadium steps earlier in the week, too. "At some point, Desi text messaged (outside linebackers coach) Lyndon Johnson and said we don’t want to hear about Orlovsky and Fincher anymore because we’re out here running these stinking steps.” Edsall said.

  • Your starting punter, field goal kicker and extra-point man next season? Could very well be the Kentucky Hammer. At any rate, incoming recruit Dave Teggart will have to win the place-kicking jobs from Cullen come August.

  • Did they just paint the dirt at the Runway green for yesterday's game? The field never looks great for the spring game, but my lawn is in better shape with nothing on it but a winter's worth of natural fertilizer (i.e. my dog's, uh, business).

  • They announced the attendance at 9,200 yesterday. Unlikely. My guess is there were closer to 3,000 in the stands.

  • Just re-read my opening paragraph, and my grandmother sound more like Borat. I was looking to nail down the Italian accent, in case you were wondering.

  • How about that opening episode of the Sopranos? I'm not sure if Bobby Bacala could have knocked out Tony in real life, though. Bobby seems like a lifelong fat guy (uncoordinated, unathletic) while Tony is a strong guy turned fat (i.e. Tony Siragusa). Here's my theory on what happened last week. The French-Canadian guy Bobby killed was in fact Janice's estranged son, Harpo (who, if I recall, lived in Montreal). The cops will trace the murder to Bobby (remember, the guy ripped his shirt before dropping dead) and an enraged Janice will either force Bobby to flip and turn government witness, or simply drop the hammer himself on T.

News will be sporadic until the July 17 Big East media day in Newport, R.I., but I plan to check in often to ramble just for the hell of it. Time to check on the sauce.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must have only looked at the shaded side of the stadium. Because when in the end zone near the score board you could tell there was way more than 3000 fans.

April 16, 2007 1:48 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

3,500?

There was no where near 9,200. The shaded side of the stadium had less than 500.

April 16, 2007 2:26 PM 
Anonymous Alex said...

Chip,

Informative and hilarious. Another nice job

Alex

April 20, 2007 8:18 AM 
Blogger Bill Cloutier said...

Great theory on Bacula. I didn't think that was a random shooting either.

Do you write about football too?

April 21, 2007 10:54 PM 

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