Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wanted: Healthy wide receivers.

Anyone else have San Diego in their office pool? Just me? Well, I had Cornell beating Stanford too, so I won't brag. At least we know UConn spring football practices will be populated with a little more media members starting this week.

Here's a taste of what happened on Saturday at the Shenkman Center. Let's just say the receiving core is dwindling.
  • D.J. Hernandez went down hard on a route over the middle during a skell-o drill. He suffered an ankle injury, which Randy Edsall said is probably only a bad sprain. But it also might keep D.J. on the sidelines for the remainder of the spring. He could barely put any weight on it as he was helped off the field. Linebacker Aaron Bryant had a decent stick on D.J. during the play, and I thought the hit caused the injury at first. But Edsall said it was more of a fluke thing.

  • Ellis Gaulden is hurt again. He suffered a foot injury on Thursday, and could be out for some time. Edsall said a tendon separated itself in the foot, and though he wouldn't speculate on Ellis' future, he is considering moving someone from the defense over to wide receiver to help out. Darius Butler? "He's probably waiting for me in my office right now," Edsall joked. It won't be Butler, and your guess is as good as mine.

  • What does this mean for the receivers? Marcus Easley has already been working mostly with the first team because Brad Kanuch tweaked something in his leg the first day. The Moore's, Isiah and Kashif, and Rob Theoudele will also be getting plenty of chances to show their stuff.

  • Pads and contact on Saturday made it seem a little more like football practice. Saw some good hits by Jasper Howard, Darius Butler and Kijuan Dabney (looking like he has the edge on a starting job at strong safety). Dabney's performance early on has eased Edsall's mind about moving Dahna Deleston from safety to Husky linebacker. Hamden's Jameson Davis, a Wisconsin transfer making the switch from cornerback, was getting some work with the second string safety's as well. Sounds like he'll be more of a special teams player, though.

  • Lots of recruits observing practice, most from Connecticut though there were some out-of-staters too. Mike Osiecki of Seymour, Trevardo Williams of Bridgeport, Jake White of Foran-Milford were among the guys I recognized.

  • Tony Ciaravino and Dave Teggart could ultimately share the kicking duties, similar to how Matt Nuzie and Tony C split kicks two years ago. Teggart has some power, and could be the guy from 40 yards and out. Ciaravino has the leg -- he was 4-for-4 from 40-49 last season and hits them from over 50 in practice -- but wasn't as consistent from 50 and out. That's what spring is for, to sort this kind of stuff out.


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