Thursday, December 20, 2007

Governor Rell visits practice

Governor Jodi Rell stopped by UConn practice at the Shenkman Center this afternoon to wish the team well. It was a nice gesture, and the team seemed to appreciate it. The 45 minutes of practice after the Gov. left were, as Randy Edsall said afterward, the worst he's seen all year. "I don't think we practiced real well after that," Edsall said with a laugh. "It gives them a break, and then they want me to blow up practice right then and there. That's where their minds ended up."

Some highlights from Thursday:

  • Rell got a brief tour of the lobby in the Burton Complex, which included a viewing of the spanking new Big East championship trophy, before making her way to the practice field. As the team halted practice to come over and greet her, Rell said, "OK, take a knee boys. Here's what I want to see. You men in the secondary, if they throw a forward pass, when you see it, I want you to go and get it. And that's when we go on offense, and that's when we take it to 'em. We're going inside 'em, we going outside 'em. Inside 'em, outside 'em. We're going to get 'em on the run. And once we get 'em on the run, we're going to keep 'em on the run. We're going to get 'em on the run, and we're gonna GO GO GO GO! And we're not gonna stop, until we get across that goal line. Don't forget men, today's the day we're gonna win. They can't lick us. Go out there, and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! Whattaya say men?" I just happened to take video of Rell's speech. Here it is.
  • Rell issued a wager with North Carolina Governor Michael Easley, offering up a basket of Connecticut goodies that includes honey, maple syrup, tomato sauce, macaroni, cookies, jams, jellies and other local products if Wake Forest wins. If the Huskies win, it's barbecue for all the players and coaches. I think Wake is offering up an awful lot compared to what Rell's got on the table. At least she could have gotten a true Connecticut specialty. How about subs from the Subway World HQ in Milford, a bunch of pizzas from Sally's and Pepe's in New Haven and some Pez candy and dispensers from the Pez factory (headquartered and manufactured in my hometown of Orange, by the way.) Maybe toss in official Whiffle bats and balls from Shelton, too.

  • UConn presented Rell with a bag of UConn gear. Larry Taylor was chosen to make the presentation, then promptly caught flak from the team because Governor Rell has about a half inch on him. In LT's defense, I think the Gov's shoes had a small heel, boosting her up to just over 5-foot-5.

  • Desi Cullen wins the suck up award, complimenting Rell on her choice of sweaters and giving her a hug. He must have a career in politics in mind.

  • Rob Theoudele made the play of the day on a deep ball, getting a fortunate bounce on a pass that was deflected, making the grab on the run and scoring. Just happened to be the final play of practice. The team ran extended sprints afterward. And for those of you scoring at home, we also learned Theoudele pronounces his name "toe-DEAL" not "toe-dell", as UConn has been telling us for the last four years.

  • Did you know Tony Ciaravino kicks for his dinner at the end of each practice? Edsall has him line up a 52 yarder. If he nails it, he can eat. If he misses, he goes to bed hungry. Ciaravino is packing 232 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame, so he's obviously been hitting them. Ciaravino's a great guy to chat with. Here's the link to a feature that ran in today's Register.

  • The official ticket count for the Meineke bowl has hit 12,000, according to UConn sports information director Mike Enright. The 12,500 quota looks like it will be met. Wake Forest has passed 20K, though that's to be expected considering its only 80 miles from Charlotte.

  • Edsall announced that 30 players received a GPA of at least 3.0 this semester.

  • Edsall said he's been frustrated at times with Terence Jeffers, who tends to lose concentration on certain plays (leading to a few to many dropped balls). "It can be very frustrating," Edsall said. "We as coaches need to find a way to get him focused on every play." Edsall mentioned he expects the competition at receiver to be even tougher next season, which means he might be able to afford benching Jeffers for a series or two. "He could be more dynamic is he concentrates on every play," Edsall said.

  • Please pick up a copy of the official WILI-1400 calendar for 2008, if only to see the July photo of Wayne Norman looking like a cross between Bowser from Sha-Na-Na and Uncle Sam. Perhaps I'll scan the picture and post it on the blog, but only if there's enough interest from Wayne's fan club. It's a tremendous photo. You won't be disappointed. Leave your comments if you want to see it.

  • Lots of chatter about the addition of Buffalo to the schedule for four years, as I reported on Tuesday. For the record, Edsall has said his ideal non-league schedule each year would feature a Division I-AA team, Army, a MAC team, Boston College and a BCS opponent. I also got confirmation that the Buffalo contract begins in 2010 at the Runway, heads to Buffalo in '11, back to the Runway in '12 and finishes at Buffalo in '13. The Bills overlap with Temple twice, throwing that out of kilter a bit. So here's the Huskies non-league schedule for the next few seasons.

Aug. 30: Hofstra
Sept. 6: at Temple
Sept. 13: Virginia
Sept. 20: Baylor
Oct. 4: at North Carolina

Sept. 5: at Ohio
Sept. 12: North Carolina
Sept. 19: at Baylor

TBA: Buffalo

Sept. 11: Northeastern
Sept. 18: at Temple
Oct. 2: Vanderbilt

Sept. 10: at Vanderbilt
Sept. 17: Iowa State
TBA: at Northwestern

TBA: at Buffalo

Sept. 1: Massachusetts
Sept. 8: North Carolina State
Sept. 15: at Maryland

TBA: Buffalo

Aug. 31: Northwestern
Sept. 7: Maryland
Sept. 21: at Iowa
Sept. 28: Temple

TBA: at Buffalo

Sept. 20: Iowa

Bowl season begins tonight. Enjoy.


Anonymous Steve P said...

I interned for Wayne at WILI. Please post it :).

December 20, 2007 7:59 PM 
Anonymous huskypantz said...

Nice job, Chip. You're one of the few UConn football reporters not already on Christmas vacation.

Question on tickets sold to date for you. Wake Forest fans are claiming that UConn "sold" about 2,000 of their tickets to Wake. Is that true, and if so is that counted in the 12k we've sold thusfar? Kinda cheesy if true - we'd find out anyway next Saturday.

December 20, 2007 8:23 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Husky pantz,

That's the first I've heard about UConn selling tickets back to Wake.

December 20, 2007 8:38 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet. So how awesome would it be if we get Temple, Buffalo and a I-AA, oops sorry an FCS team as our OOC home slate after 2010.

They might as well pay us to attend those home games.

December 21, 2007 10:00 AM 
Anonymous HBH said...

I don't know much about football (shame on me) but you make a good point, Chip: Connecticut could come up with a better wager than syrup and honey.

December 21, 2007 11:49 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


December 21, 2007 6:24 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any news on UConn selling tickets back to Wake? Interesting stuff and misleading info by UConn in tickets sold number, if true.

December 22, 2007 9:45 AM 

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