Monday, March 16, 2009

Gearing up for spring

A few notes from today's call with Randy Edsall previewing spring practice:

  • Alex Polito (ankle surgery) is out for spring practice. Zach Hurd (ankle) had minor surgery to clean some things out, and will be limited this week. He should be back as a "full-go" next week. Freshman Casey Chambers (wrist surgery) will be limited. Everyone else set to participate in full.

  • Lindsey Witten's grandmother passed away Saturday. He is with his family this week.

  • Position changes: Moe Petrus moved to center. Alex LaMagdelaine is now at guard. That's it. "On the offensive line, it's trying to find the five best guys and put them into the positions they're best suited for," Edsall said. "We evaluated Alex at center and guard, and he was more productive at guard. Moe was at center last spring. We thought he has the athleticism and intelligence and does things at center we like. And he's all for it. He said he'd rather play center than guard." Dan Ryan and Jimmy Bennett are the top two at left tackle now.

  • All practices will be under the ideal weather conditions indoors at the Shenkman Center.

  • Edsall likes his defensive ends. Witten has a "chance to develop into his own, and become an every-down player. Marcus Campbell got a lot better. He's the fastest we have as a defensive end, faster than Cody (Brown) or Julius (Williams). Mike Cox is getting stronger each day." Young players A.J. Portee, Teddy Jennings, Trevardo Williams, Chambers, and Jesse Joseph are "all athletic, and have some ability. It's a matter of teaching fundamentals and getting them reps."

  • Zach Frazer got a little too enthusiastic speaking about UConn's new offensive scheme with the media earlier in the month. Edsall, of course, had the quotes come across his desk and called his quarterback into his office for a sit-down. "It's great to have confidence," Edsall said. "But there's a right way and a wrong way to handle those situations. Zach's done a great job to get his weight down, and worked to be a leader, and done all the things you want from a quarterback. But you have to temper things. Be enthusiastic, but let the production prove it rather than you speaking before the production. He's just excited about the opportunity he has to get on the field. It's something he's familiar with, that type of offense, because he played it in high school."

  • While Frazer seems to have the inside track on the starting quarterback job, Edsall said it's still an open competition between all four on the roster. "Nobody has the No. 1 position sewn up," Edsall said. If someone does enough to win the job during the spring, Edsall will anoint him. If not, the competition will continue to preseason practice.

  • Here's Edsall's list of what needs to be accomplished over the next month of spring ball. "Offensively, we've got to learn the offense. We need to improve the passing game. We have to get better in the tight red zone and score TDs than field goals down there. We have to do a better job of ball security. Coming out of the spring, the team has to know we can have balance in our offensive attack. Defensively, we need to do a better job creating turnovers. We didn't create enough turnovers last year. We have to get better with fundamentals and technique, we have to get more physical and tougher on defense. We have to get better in the tight red zone on defense, and get off the field on 3rd down. We need to improve the punt protection, solidify the snappers, and returners, and eliminate all the bad judgements in return game." Other than that, everything's peachy.

  • It's an open competition for the wide receivers. "We're excited to get all those guys out there, not just the redshirt guys but the guys who've been around. ... There's more talent, more speed and athleticism than we've had."

  • Look for Robbie Frey and Meme Wylie to push Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon at tailback. Should be tremendous competition there, too. "Jordan showed some things last year, Andre is back, you could see him with his work ethic this winter," Edsall said. "Frey and Meme had productive offseasons. What it does is it gives a lot of options with those guys. I'm satisfied with what all four have done. Now, it's how to incorporate them and who performs best at that position."

That's all. See you all at practice practice. Well, I won't see you there, but you know what I mean.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good to see you blogging away. I've been burning out my mouse clicking away at your site.

We are expecting nothing short of daily reports from you (practice days).

Now the John Silver has an iphone (trust me they suck as I'm on #3 in 14 months) you'll have to try and keep up with his practice posts from the iphone.

You'll be hard pressed to keep up with DC though. He's got it going on.

Always glad to have your insight Chip. I hope all is well.

Toronto Jimmy

March 16, 2009 10:32 PM 

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