Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday notes: Preparing for West Virginia

The Tuesday round-up.

  • 66-21 is still fresh in the minds of the UConn players. It's not like they have much choice. A photograph of the scoreboard from Mountaineer Stadium hangs in the locker room. It's sort of a take on what boxer's do while training for their next fight. Well, I think that's what boxers do. Most of what I know about the sport comes from the Rocky movies, and that fine line between fiction and reality vanished sometime after Ivan Drago registered 2250 pounds of pressure per square inch with one punch during his steroid-induced training sequence in Rocky IV. "Whatever he hits, he destroys!"

  • The quarterbacks are a "game-time decision" once again. Don't believe it. Whoever it is will find out about 30 minutes from now. My money's on Cody Endres.

  • Endres was asked by quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Rob Ambrose to grade his performance against Cincinnati. Endres gave himself a 'C', and said Ambrose nodded in agreement. "That's pretty honest," Ambrose said, accoring to Endres. The young quarterback said he was happy with some of the things he did Saturday, but was bothered by his many misfires, especially on the touch passes and short routes. He said he took extra time to work on many of those throws he botched over the last couple of days.

  • A few folks were surprised at Randy Edsall's Sunday comments in regard to Cody Brown's performance. Brown had a huge game, but Edsall was nonchalant about it. Edsall said that's par for the course, as he always looks to get more from his players. "I expect more out of everyone. I expect more out of Donald Brown," Edsall said. "No one's perfect. I think it's the level of the expectations that I have not only for myself but for all of these guys to try and hit. Whether they can get there, I don't know. Maybe that's why it doesn't look like I'm having fun out there because I'm trying to push the envelope a bit to push guys to a certain standard. I'm just trying to help them to be the best they can be in all phases of their life." Cody said he understands where Edsall is coming from. "You can play the best game of your life, but there's always things you can do better."

  • Rob Lunn's shoulder (sorry, upper extremity) is still pretty sore, but he's practicing and aiming to be on the field for Saturday. Fortunately, it hasn't affected his blogging.

  • Early indications are that Tyler Lorenzen will be ready to return before the end of the regular season, Edsall said. "He's doing some land-based training now, and hasn't had any ill-effects from that. Right now, he's week-to-week." For the record, Sunday was four weeks since Lorenzen's surgery. He'll be at six weeks Nov. 9, the week before Syracuse. Think it's a circus now with the QB situation? Wait until he's healthy enough to be back in the mix.

  • Isiah Moore is playing the part of Pat White in practice this week. D.J. Hernandez is scheduled to make a cameo in that role for a few minutes in practice today. Personally, I would have paid the expenses to get Usain Bolt. Or, just borrowed a page from Mickey's training regiment in Rocky II and set a chicken loose on the practice field. After all, if you can catch a chicken, you can catch greased lightning.


  • I have now hit the acceptable number of Rocky references in one blog post. I promise, I will do my best to stop.

  • Edsall joked that he's disappointed White didn't follow the advice he gave him during the handshakes on the field after last season's game and left school early for the NFL Draft. Edsall did say he's happy to be done with White for good after Saturday.

  • Jordan Todman won't factor into punt returns or kickoff returns any time soon. "I have a hard time taking Jazz (Jasper Howard) out. I think he's leading the Big East in punt returns," Edsall said. "On kickoffs, Darius and Robbie are doing a good job too. We think Jordan can still help on special teams, but in other ways."

  • After meeting Bill Stewart at Big East media day, and listening to him every week on the league's conference call, I have come to the conclusion that he is the nicest man on the planet. No one comes close. He's part Mister Rogers, part Ned Flanders, part Jim Nabors rolled into one. Usually, opposing coaches who agree to speak with state media on Tuesday's don't say much, and are in a hurry to get on with whatever else they need to do. We thanked Stewart when we were done with our questions, but he wasn't ready to hang up just yet. He asked us about the weather up here, talked about his relationship with some of the Huskies' assistant coaches, told us to give them his best, then thanked us profusely for taking the time to speak with him. Usually, we're satisfied when a coach simply says 'goodbye". With Stewart today, it was like being in an alternate universe.

  • West Virginia is 4-0 all-time against UConn, with an average margin of victory of 28 points. That's domination.

  • Outstanding barbecued ribs today. Outstanding.
Plenty more to come this week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Can you go further on the article (someone else wrote) in the Register about Darius Butler only playing offense this week.

Seems like a ploy to get WVU to study more than they need to. Darius would be shot if RE knew he leaked that out IF it was supposed to be a secret.

Your thoughts?

October 29, 2008 9:28 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

The article was written by Kevin Duffy. He covers the team for the Daily Campus, and has an interned for our paper. Kevin does a good job, and got himself a nice scoop in a 1-on-1 interview with Darius.

I doubt this was a ploy for several reasons. Darius is pretty straight forward, and likely just provided answers to whatever questions Kevin asked. I'm sure Edsall isn't happy Darius said what he did, only because Edsall never answers specific questions from the media regarding the game plan, especially in the days before the game (heck, he won't even let on who's playing QB).

October 29, 2008 1:11 PM 
Anonymous Sean O said...

Chip - The quotes I saw in the article had Darius just saying that he'd be playing more on offense, not less on defense. Did the reporter jump to conclusions that Darius didn't say? Or did Darius say specifically he wasn't playing on defense and the reporter chose not to put that in the story? Doesn't seem to make a lick of sense for Edsall to take out his best defensive player.

October 29, 2008 3:06 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...


Those are questions I can't answer right now. I don't know. You'd have to ask Kevin.

We speak with Edsall tomorrow.

October 29, 2008 3:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

---We speak with Edsall tomorrow.--

But will he speak to you? (grin) Should be interesting.

October 29, 2008 4:24 PM 
Anonymous jp36 said...

big fan of the rocky mentions, keep them up...I was thinking you'd some how incorporate Patch from Dodgeball, "if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" or something..nice work either way..

October 29, 2008 8:48 PM 
Anonymous jp36 said...

Hey Chip - you have any insight as to why all Uconn's Saturday home games start at noon? I mean, really noon?

October 31, 2008 9:29 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

ESPN calls the shots. Their time slots for college football on the East Coast are noon, 3:30 and 7.

Since the Huskies lost to UNC, they've been hit with a rash of noon games.

To be fair, UConn didn't play a home noon game until last week. Hofstra, Virginia and Baylor were all night games. For that matter, so were the Louisville and UNC road games.

October 31, 2008 9:48 AM 
Anonymous jp36 said...

Thanks for the info, Chip. You would think ESPN would throw more love to Uconn being that they are both in the same state. What's worse? When ESPN puts Uconn on ESPNU, those of us lucky enough to have Cablevision cannot even watch them. Oh well, life goes on. Thanks for this blog, I enjoy reading it....

October 31, 2008 4:07 PM 

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