Saturday, December 06, 2008

Postgame: sorting through a loss and bowls

The postgame recap:

  • It's almost useless to speculate about bowl destinations right now. But that won't stop me. It's quite possible the Huskies played themselves out of Toronto/Detroit and into Birmingham today. The final call could hinge on whether the Big East can talk Ken Hoffman out of taking a Big East team for Toronto and flipping them with Detroit so they can play Ball State. If Hoffman swaps, he'll go with Rutgers for Detroit and UConn heads to Birmingham. If not, UConn will play Buffalo in Toronto.

  • Detroit won't have an opening if Ohio State is denied a BCS spot. That's what's really throwing the monkey wrench into everyone knowing exactly what will happen. It's just not a gimme for the Buckeyes.

  • I woke up this morning convinced UConn would be heading for Toronto, changed my mind and felt it would be Detroit at halftime, and am now anticipating a trip to Alabama. The good news is it will all be over tomorrow night.

  • Keep an eye on the Troy-Arkansas State game. If Troy wins, Birmingham has an opening for an at-large team. That could well be N.C. State. That is huge.

  • Tyler Lorenzen had a brutal day. With the Huskies down 17, Edsall felt the team needed to throw the ball in order to score. So he brought in Zach Frazer who proceeded to throw four passes. Three were intercepted. "It didn't work out," Edsall said. So, Lorenzen came back.

  • Edsall usually doesn't rave about individual performances, especially after a loss. But he had this to say about Donald Brown (34 carries, 189 yards), who finished the regular season as the nation's leading rusher with 1,822 yards. "Donald Brown is just amazing," Edsall said. "I think it's necessary to talk about his individual performance this year. It has been phenomenal. The leading rusher in the country to be at UConn and no one ever thought that would happen so it says a lot for him." And, with 178 yards in a bowl game, he'll crack 2,000 for the season.

  • Edsall said he'll reevaluate the passing game heading into the postseason, but pointed out it's not one person or one area that was the problem. "There wasn't the consistency that people were looking for," Edsall said.

  • Punt protection continues to be a problem. Edsall, frustrated with a season of working on this area only to see mistake after mistake, said it's time players became accountable for the errors. "It's amazing, it really is," Edsall said. "Honestly, I can sit here and take the blame or Lyndon can take the blame, but sooner or later it goes on the people who were on the field. If something happens on the field and we as coaches don't cover it or prepare, then it's on us as coaches. But if you drill for the situation...There ends up being accountability on the punt. Steve Brouse made the call. We had a player say 'tell somebody to come down' to remind him. We had a player that didn't block his responsibility. That's basically what it's been in those situations this year. We had a young man who didn't block what he was supposed to block. We went over it in practice, watched it on film, and the young man made a mistake."

  • Edsall directed a comment toward the fans who are disappointed with the team and what they accomplished this season. After pointing out he saw that Kansas was heading to a second straight bowl game for the first time ever in over 100 years of football at the school, he said, "I'm disappointed in the loss today. But I'm darn proud of what these kids accomplished. We're going to a bowl for a second year in a row, three in five years, bowl eligible for the fourth time in six years. Sometimes, I think we spoil people. It's great everybody wants us to win every game, but it isn't going to happen. We're still in a building process with this program. ... You all need to understand that. This program has accomplished a lot more than a lot of people ever thought it could. And we set the bar so darn high that now if we don't win every game or if we don't win the championship every year, people take issue with that. That's great. They're fans. We need more fans like that. But I'll tell you this, I'll take these kids any day of the week. When they came here, nobody ever thought they could accomplish what they've accomplished in a short period of time. Yeah, we're more disappointed in ourselves than anybody else could be in us. We set the standards for ourselves high. We dont want to play that way. When you think sometimes things are bad, look at Kansas. We've done that in the six years in the time we've been a I-A school. Let's not forget where we were, where we're at, and we're going to continue to work even farther along the lines."

Check back for the official word on a bowl game.


Anonymous Jim said...

Chip, I am season ticket holder at the Rent and walked out of the game yesterday when it was 20-10...I am sick and tired of this team, they are NOT good and it is time to get rid of Randy. He says all the right things to the media but at the end of the day, his offensive playcalling is horrific. How many times can you "run the ball up the middle"? I don't see this team improving until Randy moves on. I think I am going to start an online petition to the UConn AD asking for his removal and to bring in Steve Addazio from Florida. "the Daz" will do wonders for this program.

December 07, 2008 8:47 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...


I understand what you're saying. Just keep in mind Edsall's buyout clause is pretty hefty. It will cost UConn $1.5 million to fire him this month, and $1.25 million anytime in 2009. Addazio will command a salary in the neighborhood of $2 million. You might want to ask for donations along with signatures on the petition. All kidding aside, UConn won't be firing Edsall anytime soon.

December 07, 2008 9:23 AM 
Anonymous Den said...

Jim, with all due respect, I too am a season ticket holder. And yes, yesterday's game was ugly. And yes, the play calling is way too predictable. Yes, the team has shown a pattern of completely falling apart in the 2nd halves of tight games. I understand what you're saying. However, to call for Edsall's head is just ridiculous. I agree with most of what Edsall said in regards to the fans. This is not basketball. In hoops, we came to prominence because of 1 or 2 recruits. It's not like that in football. It takes a lot of time. 3 bowl games in 4 years is a lot better than I anticipated. We've been spoiled by the basketball program. This is going to take time. What Edsall has done with this team in the timeframe he did it is pretty remarkable. There is a reason he's been mentioned about coaching vacancies the last couple of years. I know that the games can frustrating to watch at times (especially when they're forced to throw the ball), but please be more patient. I'm sure the #1 thing on the off-season to do list is go out and improve the passing game. If you want to criticize the way he's recruited at the QB/Wideout position, that's fair. But you also have to take into account the geography when recruiting. He is not going to get a lot of blue chip, can't miss skill position players from Florida, Texas, or California. I understand your frustrations, but take it easy with the "Randy Must Go" petitions.

December 07, 2008 9:50 AM 
Anonymous Sean O said...

I in no way shape or form think Randy needs to move on. If you leave the game when its's probably time for you to move on as a fan.

However...the passing game is an embarassment. I don't know where Randy's loyalty to Tyler came from but it was misguided at best. The last two games, both on ESPN, set the program back. A bowl win, against anybody, is crucial. Tyler was not a good Qb unless you're running the option. UConn wasn't. Get Frazer and Cody their reps this December and move forward.

The notion that Tyler was a great leader or whatever is hogwash. UConn was 9-3 last year and 7-5 this year due to an outstanding running game and a fantastic defense.

Randy needs to stay...he proved with Dan O he can win by throwing the ball. But he needs a QB that can make good passes and, more important, WRs that can get open. I think it's obvious with the running game and the defense...this team can be GREAT with a passing game.

December 07, 2008 12:50 PM 

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