Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday notes: New ways to avoid answering questions

Tuesday media luncheon is over. Here's what I got for you all...

Donald Brown is practicing this week. Randy Edsall refuses to shed any additional light on his situation. Take that update for what it's worth, which isn't much. Edsall then got a bit testy when asked who would be starting Friday night against Louisville.

"We have three tailbacks, men, that are going to play," Edsall said. "Don't get caught up in who's starting and who isn't. That's irrelevant. That's irrelevant. We have three guys who play in games. Who cares who starts? I don't care who starts. I like every one of them. Whoever plays will go in and do the best job they can. Don't get hung up on that. It doesn't mean anything."

I agree with the statement, except with the part where Edsall makes it sound as if Lou Allen is part of a three-headed rotation. UConn has played two close games this season (Temple and Virginia), and Allen has four carries for minus-2 yards combined in those games. It seems clear there's Dixon and Brown, and Allen getting carries when they can get him in the game (usually short yardage situations).

My main issue is with Edsall deflecting the questions about Brown's situation by getting surly after a fair question designed simply as a follow-up on whether Brown is healthy or not. He said Brown was fine all last week, then decided he wasn't healthy enough to play sometime around Friday. We all know Brown and Dixon will share carries for the rest of the year. They've been doing it since Dixon returned to the team. Obviously, things will change if Brown can't play. Tabbing someone as "questionable" with an injury is just as effective. It's saying something even though it means little, plus, it keeps jerks in the media (and by jerks I mean myself, of course, and only myself) satisfied because at least I have something to tell the readers.

Now, I understand much of Edsall's shroud of secrecy routine is to keep the opponent guessing. Louisville is preparing for both Dixon and Brown, and it makes things much easier if it knows ahead of time that one of those two is out of the equation. But don't get into a condescending rant on how everyone should know that who starts and who doesn't start makes no difference, and then say 10 minutes later that one of the main reason's the UConn defense has been so effective this season is because they've had the same 11 starters for seven straight games (which happened on Tuesday).

Neither Brown nor Dixon were made available to the media on Tuesday.

Some more notes...

  • Edsall said he hopes the crowd at the Runway makes enough noise to disrupt the Louisville offense the way Virginia's crowd completely disrupted the Huskies on Saturday. Does the Rentschler crowd have it in them? Tough one. If last Oct. 20, when thousands upon thousands left a night game at halftime because it was "too cold" (in October!!) despite still being in the game with nationally-ranked West Virginia, is any indication...probably not. Until I see differently, it's just not that type of crowd at the Runway. Prove me wrong, people. Prove me wrong.

  • There are a limited number of tickets left for the game on Friday.

  • Lt. Paul Vance of the state police spoke following Edsall Tuesday about the anticipated traffic problems for the Louisville game. It's the perfect storm for a traffic apocalypse. An 8 p.m., nationally-televised game. Rush-hour Friday traffic. The grand opening of a massive sporting goods store, located in the middle of the Rentschler parking lots. Could be 60,000 cars in the vicinity. I'll be leaving for the game around noon. On Thursday.

  • Personally, I'll be thanking Cabela's management for the vulture-like planning of their grand opening by never stepping foot in the store. (Not that I would anyway...I already own a turkey call, get my beef jerky wholesale and purchase all my firearms in seedy back alleys).

  • How do you prepare for Brian Brohm and the vaunted Louisville passing game? Aside from renting Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker for a couple days, there's not much that can be done to simulate the Cardinals. Scout team players (or most first strings in the country) aren't quite at the same skill level, though I would think Notre Dame transfer Zach Frazer running the scout team offense is about as good as most teams can prepare.

  • Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said UConn's defense will be the best his team has faced all season. Pretty major compliment. He then lost a bit of credibility when he also said Tyler Lorenzen will be the best quarterback his team has faced. Did Kragthorpe forget his team played Kentucky last month? Nothing against Tyler, who is a big, athletic, talented quarterback and perhaps the second-best the Cards have faced to this point. I'm just not ready to say he's better than Andre Woodson right now.

  • Lorenzen was asked to clarify why he went back to regular cadence late in the Virginia game when the crowd of 60,000 was screaming at ear-splitting levels and he had been working the silent count all game to that point. "Um, I'm not supposed to talk about that is what I was told," Lorenzen said.

  • Louisville receiver Mario Urrutia missed the last two games with injury but has "a good chance" to play on Friday. Not good news for the Huskies, though Harry Douglas is the guy who really gave them fits last year in Louisville.

  • Safety Robert Vaughn is second in the nation in interceptions per game. Kicker Tony Ciaravino is second in the nation in field goals made per game. The Huskies could do with a little less of the latter against the Cards. Touchdowns are as vital as ever in the red zone this week.


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