Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday notes: The puck drops at 7, hosers

I'm pulling the rare football-hockey double today in Storrs. Media lunch at 11, work, and then head over to the ice arena to cover Yale playing at UConn in hockey. There was a lot to cover from the press conference, so let's get to it, eh?
  • As of today (approximately 11:45 a.m.) Edsall expects his quarterback to be either Cody Endres or Zach Frazer. Tyler Lorenzen, as of pre-practice this afternoon, won't factor into the decision. But Edsall didn't rule him out completely, either. Lorenzen is practicing, but isn't quite ready. As of today. At 11:45 a.m.

  • Frazer's concussion wasn't as severe as the one he suffered back in August, and hasn't been nearly as debilitating. He's OK health-wise, Edsall said. He and Endres will compete for the gig. Fewest turnovers in practice will go a long way toward who gets the nod.

  • Lorenzen says he's feeling much better, and has been partially cleared by the medical staff at UConn. "I'm going day-by-day and seeing how my health feels," Lorenzen said. "It's getting better, for sure. But I'm still not 100 percent. I still have a big old screw in my foot." Edsall also said in his career, he's never had a doctor or trainer tell him it was a bad idea to play someone because the surface for the game was turf or grass.

  • Edsall was full of stories today. He turned into Tom Snyder somewhere around the 10-minute mark of his press conference. The coach was spinning yarns like Paul Harvey, which helped him break his personal record for longest press conference by a good 20 minutes. Good stuff.

  • One of his tales began with telling how defensive tackle Twyon Martin is in the process of putting weight back on because he lost too much in the off-season. Martin was around 300, dropped about 60 pounds, before putting some back on to get to his current 265. He needs to get into the 280s. "He did it to try and get a girlfriend," Edsall joked. "He's was in, you know, that mid-life crisis at 19. Like some people probably in here have, he lost all that weight to start dating younger ladies. What he did is he took too much off. Now he thinks he's suave and debonair. He thinks he's a model and a ladies man, and that he looks good there. But we told him he's a football player, when you're done playing football, you can go back to that."

  • Edsall's reasoning on why some players have been losing weight is that they spend meal time gazing at Blackberry's and texting friends. Then the food gets cold, they don't want to eat it, so they throw it all away without eating. So Edsall and the coaches are constantly telling players to stop texting because their food's getting cold. (Not sure if he used my mom's old standby when I wouldn't eat...something about starving children in China). So last night, Edsall was eating with a couple of players in the cafeteria when he happened to get a message on his Blackberry. He began texting back. Greg Robinson told Edsall he better stop texting because his food's getting cold. "At least they're listening."

  • I find it hard to believe these guys aren't eating. It's not like they're rock stars who need to stay thin or people will stop going to their concerts (Your rib cage looks great, Mick Jagger). Sounds to me like they're going incognito and hitting Subway or Dominoes after practice. It's like how Herschel Walker, when he was at Georgia, told everyone he'd never eaten fast food in his life and then one night, a teammate caught him sneaking into his room with a big bag of McDonalds. That story also torpedoed Herschel's story about not lifting weights, too. You don't get that physique doing nothing but pushups and situps. Unless you're Jack LaLanne.

  • Edsall isn't happy about all the bye weeks (three) this season, but declined to go into detail. He also took a pass on questions about potential Big East expansion and Notre Dame possibly stealing a Big East's spot in the Gator Bowl or Sun Bowl.

  • Robert McClain takes Darius Butler's spot as starting cornerback this week. Jordan Todman is now on kickoff returns. Greg Lloyd's role at middle linebacker shouldn't be as diminished this week because Syracuse runs a normal offensive attack.

  • Edsall doesn't get nostalgic at Syracuse anymore. "I have too much work to do," Edsall said. "I have a game to win." He also says he has no inklings at all to return to his alma mater to coach. "Not at all," he said.

  • Speaking of nostalgia, Donald Brown nearly busted his gut telling the story of how the running backs watched old game film of coach Terry Richardson during his playing days at Syracuse in the early 90s. Brown says Richardson scored a touchdown against Louisville, and, as his celebration, went and leaned up against the goal post with his arms crossed, like he was just hanging out on a street corner. Or, perhaps, doing his impersonation of Cool Moe Dee. Or Whodini. (Old school rap. I miss it). "I don't think that would fly today," Brown said of Richardson's celebration.

  • Edsall went on and on about Lorenzen's leadership ability, and said when Tyler is healthy, he'll be back out there because he knows how to win. He compared him to Billy Kilmer and Mark Brunnell in that neither looked pretty out on the field, but still won games with their ability manage a game and get the other 10 guys fired up and ready to play in the huddle. "Jeff George was as good a natural quarterback as there is, but he couldn't win in the NFL," Edsall said. "You can get a lot of people with a lot of talent that can throw the ball and everything else, but when they get to the huddle they don't have that chemistry. And some guys don't have as much talent, but they have the chemistry and the others really rally around that guy."

  • Edsall mentioned he heard a well-respected sports writer in the South said Lorenzen deserved the Heisman Trophy, and pointed to how UConn's struggles began after Lorenzen was injured showed how valuable he was to the Huskies. Joe D'Ambrosio quickly pointed out to me that the phrase "well-respected sports writer" was an oxymoron along the lines of jumbo shrimp and freezer burn. I could only nod my head in agreement.

  • More stories from Edsall regarding Lorenzen. He said he was attending a function with Jim Calhoun, and Calhoun said Edsall is being forced to defend Lorenzen much like Calhoun had to defend point guard Taliek Brown a few years back. "He told me you have to stand up for the kid, and all the kid does is win games," Edsall said. "Just because someone's not the flashiest or prettiest, you're judged on how you win or how you lose. The kid is 14-4 as a starter. There are those outside the program who under appreciate him. Inside this program, we all have respect and admiration toward what he's been able to do for us."

OK. That's it. Need to write my newspaper story and get ready for hockey. So take off, eh?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The week we'll punch our ticket to January in Toronto. Too bad the MAC is the other conference here.

November 11, 2008 7:10 PM 
Anonymous Steve said...

Did you enjoy the hockey game? It was a physical, hard-fought game. Beau Erickson played so well in net all game until the last minute. It was really disappointing to lose on that soft goal.

November 13, 2008 7:26 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

I was impressed with Erickson. Many great saves. I wouldn't call the winner soft, more of a fluke. It hit a defenseman's skate in front, and there wasn't a lot Beau could do.

November 13, 2008 9:56 PM 

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