Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cincinnati post-game notebook

Some postgame notes:

  • Edsall wouldn't comment on the issue, but Cody Endres said he found out on Tuesday that he would be getting the start today. Not exactly a shock, considering Edsall was meeting with the doctors and trainers on Tuesday afternoon. Cody said all the extra work in practice helped, because "I knew what we were doing and I knew what (Cincinnati) was doing."

  • Whenever UConn wins an opening coin toss, Edsall usually opts to defend. Not today. Edsall said they wanted to get Endres out there right away to end any anxiousness he might have, and so he wouldn't have to take the field possibly playing from behind.

  • Endres attempted 42 passes, completing 18 for 196 yards and no touchdowns. The amount was part of the game plan because UConn feared Cincinnati's run defense more. Endres overthrew his receivers quite a bit, but was poised and in control the whole time. He was rarely under pressure either, credit to the offensive line. "Nobody on this team cares about who's hurt or who's playing," Edsall said.

  • Cody Brown was a monster. His final stat line: three tackles, two sacks, two tackles for losses, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery. He's also about to take over the title of go-to interview guy. "I don't know what it was, I just felt dominant today for some reason," Brown said, before breaking into laughter. "I did some extra bench reps this week with Keith Gray. Maybe that helped out a little bit."

  • Before the year, Cody Brown said Cincinnati was one of the games he had circled on his calendar. Why? The Bearcats dominance over UConn the past few seasons. In 2005 and last season, Cincinnati's defense simply bullied the Huskies, the offense had their way, and weren't shy about letting them know about it in the most obnoxious way possible (hello, Ben Mauk). "We focused a lot on how physical they were," Brown said. "I felt they were more physical other years. This year they weren't as physical. ... But Cincinnati liked to trash talk, their crowds boo us, they played real physical and hurt us. We wanted to show them what playing physical was all about." Mission accomplished.

  • Some of the numbers I circled on my copy of the quickie stats: UConn ran 78 offensive plays, 42 passes and 36 runs (real balance). Cincinnati committed six turnovers (three fumbles, two on special teams, and threw three picks). The Bearcats were 0-for-14 on third-down conversions and 0-for-2 on fourth-down conversions, which is astounding.

  • Donald Brown ran 27 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns, and now holds the single-season record for most rushing yards, passing Tory Taylor's mark of 1,261. After eight games, he's now at 1,324 yards and 14 touchdowns, and has at least 150 in every game but one (when he ran for 107 against Rutgers). Sixty-nine of his yards came on the drive in the fourth quarter that sealed the win. Brown's reaction to being told of the record: "What? That's news to me."

  • Rob Lunn was listed by Edsall as day-to-day with, I kid you not, an "upper extremity injury". Is it a finger? His nose? Scalp? Even the paranoid NHL coaches aren't that vague. Zach Frazer will also be day-to-day this week. He was cleared to be the backup holder today, but he wasn't playing QB.

  • Interesting call by UConn on 3rd-and-9 in the closing seconds of the third quarter. The score was still 17-16 at the time, and UConn was driving into a heavy wind. Instead of running the ball to let the clock run out, either forcing Cincinnati to call a time out or get the wind when they switched ends to start the fourth, UConn passed. Teggart wound up drilling a 47-yarder into the stiff wind that was quite impressive. Edsall said the Huskies' were simply throwing to try and get a first down there, but I'm still not convinced they should have kept the clock moving there despite what Teggart did. "He made me look good, that's for sure," Edsall said.

  • A huge stop that may ultimately overlooked is when UConn held Cincinnati to a field goal after Desi Cullen's punt was blocked after the Huskies went 3-and-out on their opening offensive series. A touchdown there could have easily set a negative tone and a "here we go again" attitude that would have been tough to overcome. "That was huge in the game," Edsall said. "Not that it would have deflated us, but it would have been a downer."

  • UConn's win may have saved its Big East title dreams, for sure. With USF and Pitt losing at the moment, the Huskies will be playing West Virginia for a share of first place next weekend. "If we lose this game, it could have ended up being a long season," Donald Brown said. The Huskies are also bowl eligible for the second successive season.


Anonymous Ian said...

I still think the play calling is a little bit too conservative. Your point about the 3rd & 9 was spot on. What happens if Teggart misses that. Then Edsall looks bad. He should have never had to look bad in the first place. He should have run the dang ball. It's hard to find fault in what they did today but his play calling leaves a lot to be desired.

I do understand he might have been protective of Endres but the kid threw the ball 42 times in his 1st ever start.

We need more Donald Brown. I did like the wildcat call with Brown almost getting into the end zone. He was definitely down short of the goal line but the next carry looked like he was in.

I'd like to see more of Todman and Brown on the field at the same time. It would give the defenses a little more to think about.

October 25, 2008 10:06 PM 
Anonymous Den said...

I think Edsall has done a great job building this program from the foundation up. But....the play calling is just not good. This was one of those games you were wringing your hands throughout. We go from one extreme to the other. It's bad enough that they had a redshirt freshman making his first start heave 42 passes in a 20 mph wind. That's bad enough. But the routes and calls were ridiculous. How many 2 yard outs did we see go incomplete? Why would you call that play that many times? Why wouldn't you simply run the ball? I'm not sure what is going on with Dixon, but between him and Todman, you have enough capable bodies to spell Donald Brown. We threw the ball 10 to 15 more times than we should have, in my opinion. And, Chip, we were saying the same exact thing about the end of the 3rd quarter. How do you not run the ball there and let Teggart kick with the wind? It ended up working out, because on the ensuing kickoff, they recovered a fumble. If Cullen was kicking with the wind, it goes through end zone. Got away with a lot yesterday. That being said, if you gave me 6-2 and 2-1 in the league after 8 games, I would've signed for it on the dotted line.

October 26, 2008 9:33 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given UCONN's baseline, this game plan was as gunslinger as one could have imagined. Still hard not to think "if only last week they would have passed just a morsel more, ..." Nonetheless, often being stubborn, Edsall deserves a lot of credit for reflection and adjustment. Balance, balance, balance! Any word on why Andre Dixon is rarely in a game?

October 26, 2008 10:55 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gameplan was fine...especially given the RU gameplan.

Cincinati has a great defense (probably the best we have or will face) and they keying in on DB all day long...if we hand off to him hes not getting many yards. We had to pass and it was actually that threat of passing that opened up the run for him and allowed him to get his yardage. And once he got a few runs the PA helped our recievers get some separation.

Also remember Endres is a redshirt freshman making his first start. Alot of the plays called were simple plays with easy reads. They had to do that to keep him confident and comfortable. With more experience for either of our young QB's and our young recievers the teams passing offense gets much better.

Ive followed this team for a long time and theres many times I get frustrated with Ambrose's playcalling but this was one of the better games called by him, especially considering the factors involved.

I guess the best way to put it is when my girlfriend who knows little about FB knows what the next play called is its bad. This game plan kept both her and myself guessing. Could it have been better, of course, nobodys perfect. But as far as "Ambrose Ball" goes this was a very well called game.

October 26, 2008 1:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard to buy the party line on Dixon. How does one go from 2nd Team All BigEast as a redshirt sophmore to being essentially banished from the football field as a junior? Given the overall emphasis on the run, and the general need for fresh legs from down to down, its odd that he doesn't even warrant 7-8 carries per game given the spark he showed last year.

October 26, 2008 8:24 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anonymous above me.

I honestly buy the Dixon party line. Brown gets better the more carries he has....I dont know if thats actually Brown or the opposing defense tiring out....but why move from your hot hand.

If your looking for a change/spark...well you have Todman who seems to be getting better week to week. Would Dixon be better in this spot, I honestly dont know but Todman is fast.

I will say though if Dixon should get any carries it should be behind Brown and in place of Todman.

October 26, 2008 11:25 PM 

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