Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sizing up the depth chart

Yesterday was a little hectic, so I didn't get a chance to post the usual post-practice wrap up.

Aside from preparing for our first live video streaming "event", there were a few other tasks and obstacles that made for a trying afternoon.

First, I kicked off what will be a weekly radio spot with Jason Page of ESPN Radio every Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. You can listen on AM-1410 in Hartford and AM-1300 in New Haven, and, if the spirit moves you (Vinny from East Haven, I'm looking in your direction), call in to harass me every week.

The first spot was going smoothly. Until, while on the air in the middle of the live interview, I was practically accused of spying on practice by UConn's new director of football operations. He saw me speaking on my cell phone and staring in the general direction of the practice field and assumed the worst. Luckily, I was able to finish the interview uninterrputed and then convinced Tim Pendergast that I am indeed a credentialed member of the Connecticut media and had been invited to attend practice that afternoon. I'm exaggerating, of course, and teasing with Tim a little. But deep down, I think he truly wanted to believe I was working undercover for Greg Schiano or Dave Wannestedt.

Later, after nervously slogging my way through the stream, and fighting off the urge to make off-color jokes with Joe D'Ambrosio because anything said would have been audible on the live interweb broadcast, I was forced to sprint from Gampel Pavilion back to the practice field because I left my computer bag (with my laptop and car keys inside) on the practice field. That was fun.

You see, after the interviews were finished I had made my usual retreat to Gampel to write when I realized something was missing. What was it? Oh, yeah. My freaking computer! So I unleashed my best Usain Bolt impersonation (at 1/100th the speed, of course) and hightailed it back to the upper practice fields, gasping for air up the 4,000 wooden steps and hoping someone hadn't walked off with my computer (which, most likely, would have resulted in my unceremonious firing from the paper for losing a company-owned, $1,500 laptop).

When I reached the top of the hill, I spotted my bag. Whew. But the field had already been bolted shut and locked down. Luckily, coach Randy Edsall was still milling around in the parking lot. He didn't have a key for to the field, but had a solution. I proceeded to watch Edsall defy all laws of quantum physics by rolling his massive frame under a tiny opening in the fence to retrieve my bag, then rolling back through without breaking stride. It was so effortless, you'd think he enters the field like that every morning. He was like Plastic Man. Or a former Olympic gold medalist in the limbo. I only wish I was streaming that to a live audience. Maybe next time.

The moral here is, things were a little frantic yesterday. The blog was scrapped. I'm here to redeem myself. Here we go.

The depth chart is out for the Hofstra game. I might as well give my enlightened opinions (snicker) position-by-position. Starters listed first.

WR: 87 Ellis Gaulden (RSr., 6-2, 193) 80 Mike Smith (Fr., 6-0, 193)
WR: 82 Kashif Moore (RFr., 5-9, 174) 14 D.J. Hernandez (Sr., 6-0, 201)
Chip sez: Don't be sucked in by semantics. All four will play a lot, and be counted on to produce. Marcus Easley, Kevin Poles and Alex Molina round out the rotation. If and when Brad Kanuch returns, he'll roll somewhere into the top four.

LT: 64 William Beatty (RSr., 6-6, 310) 73 Dan Ryan (RJr., 6-8, 312)
LG: 57 Moe Petrus (RFr., 6-2, 276) 74 Alex LaMagelaine (RJr., 6-2, 302)
C: 68 Keith Gray (RSr., 6-2, 285) 69 Trey Tonsing (RSr., 6-2, 311)
RG: 78 Zach Hurd (RSo., 6-7, 294) 66 Mathieu Olivier (RSo., 6-4, 293)
RT: 79 Mike Hicks (RJr., 6-6, 321) 71 Mike Ryan (RFr., 6-5, 321)
Chip sez: The line is certainly big enough to get the job done. Donald Thomas will be missed (and how about him going from walk-on to rookie NFL starter? Wow.) Still, this is a promising, veteran crew. Petrus and Hurd are new starters, but "backups" Dan Ryan, Tonsing and LaMagdelaine have started a combined 38 games over the years. Mike Ryan is a monster.

TE: 90 Steve Brouse (RSr., 6-4, 250) 91 Martin Bedard (Sr., 6-3, 239)
Chip sez: Could Brouse be the team's most underrated player? He gets little fanfare, but his contributions may be immense.

QB: 4 Tyler Lorenzen (Sr., 6-4, 224) 10 Zach Frazer (RSo., 6-4, 231) or 12 Cody Endres (RFr., 6-3, 229)
Chip sez: Lorenzen is entrenched as the starter, but folks are itching to see what the future holds. Mop-up time will be analyzed intently by Husky nation.

TB: 34 Donald Brown (RJr., 5-10, 210) 2 Andre Dixon (RJr., 6-1, 208)
FB: 49 Anthony Sherman (So., 5-10, 231) 47 Anthony Davis (RSo, 5-10, 235)
Chip sez: Nothing more needs to be said about the tailbacks and what they can do. No worries if injuries pop-up. Robbie Frey, Screamin' Meme and, if healthy, Jordan Todman make five explosive backs. Odd, off-topic note: Anthony Sherman is a Yankees fan from Massachusetts. Rob Lunn is a Red Sox fan from New York. Always bizarre when that happens.


DE: 45 Julius Williams (RSr., 6-2, 258) 9 Lindsey Witten (Jr., 6-4, 251)
DT: 65 Rob Lunn (RSr., 6-3, 285) 4 Twyon Martin (RFr., 6-1, 265)
DT: 54 Alex Polito (RSo., 6-5, 280) 99 Kendall Reyes (RFr., 6-4, 262)
DE: 50 Cody Brown (Sr., 6-2, 248) 26 Marcus Campbell (So., 6-2, 232)
Chip sez: Expect big things from Polito. Brown and Julius can be two of the most dangerous pass rushers in the league. Witten is a excellent backup. Campbell is a gifted athlete. Anxious to see what he can do.

SLB: 32 Scott Lutrus (RSo., 6-2, 225) 10 Greg Robinson (RSo., 6-1, 228) or 19 Kijuan Dabney (So., 6-0, 206)
MLB: 95 Greg Lloyd (So., 6-1, 234) 31 C.J. Marck (RFr., 6-1, 230)
WLB: 8 Lawrence Wilson (RSo., 6-1, 221) 18 Aaron Bryant (RJr., 6-3, 226)
Chip sez: Lutrus and Wilson have raised the bar after outstanding freshmen seasons. Lloyd could be the breakout young linebacker this year. Bryant has a mean streak. Marck looks like a football player. Robinson's health may be a concern, prompting undersized Dabney's move from safety.

CB: 1 Darius Butler (RSr., 5-10, 187) 20 Terry Baltimore (RJr., 5-9, 174)
S: 33 Robert Vaughn (Jr., 6-0, 197) 7 Glenn Mourning (RJr., 6-0, 212)
S: 36 Dahna Deleston (RSr., 6-0, 211) 28 Emmanuel Omokaro (RFr., 5-10, 195)
CB: 6 Jasper Howard (So., 5-9, 174) 42 Robert McClain (Jr., 5-9, 201)
Chip sez: Howard is the only unproven starter. He's the anti-Tyvon Branch (smaller, not as fast) but may be better as a cover guy. Jonathan Jean-Louis was in a dog fight with Dabney to start at safety in the spring, suddenly, he's off the depth chart. Mourning has been a new man since Edsall challenged his toughness to play through the minor injuries in the spring of 2007. Omokaro is a walk-on who has seemingly come from nowhere to backup Deleston.

FG: 97 Tony Ciaravino (RSr., 6-2, 225) 38 David Teggart (RFr., 6-0, 214)
KO: 13 Desi Cullen (Jr., 6-0, 201) 38 David Teggart (RFr., 6-0, 214)
P: 13 Desi Cullen (Jr., 6-1, 201) 97 Tony Ciaravino (RSr., 6-2, 225)
H: 13 Desi Cullen (Jr., 6-1, 201) 10 Zach Frazer (So., 6-4, 231)
SN: 91 Martin Bedard (Sr., 6-3, 239) 65 Rob Lunn (RSr., 6-3, 285)
Chip sez: Only thing to worry about here is potential new hairstyles of the "Kick Squad"...which should be officially changed to "Kick Force". Just sounds tougher. Kicking game is solid, solid, solid.

KR: 1 Darius Butler (RSr., 5-10, 187) 44 Robbie Frey (RFr., 6-0, 191)
PR: 6 Jasper Howard (So., 5-9, 174) 42 Robert McClain
Chip sez: Kickoffs won't miss a beat, even with the loss of Branch to the NFL. Butler and Frey should provide plenty of excitement (and field position). Punt returns? It's the post-Larry Taylor era. In many ways, the biggest single loss since Orlovsky at QB for the Huskies. Could be a drop-off, here. Then again, maybe not. Jazz is not only athletic, but oozes confidence. You have to like him.

One final note...there was lots of interest from readers wanting to tune in to the live stream. But I haven't received any feedback as to the actual live feed. If you watched it, please let us know how it turned out. Any and all opinions are welcome. Click the comments link below.


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