Tuesday, March 17, 2009

O'Spring O'Practice on St. Paddy's Day

Spring practice got underway late this afternoon. Not terribly exciting stuff. The new offense is in the process of being implemented, and there are still bugs to be worked out. The pace is much quicker. For those still sober enough to read on this St. Patrick's Day, some notes and observations.
  • Randy Edsall says the quarterback position is open, and it's only the first day. But a sleeker Zach Frazer worked with the first team. Have to think he's got the edge to start. Frazer lost between 13-15 pounds in the offseason, and weighed in this morning at 223 (lots of salads, smaller portions, he says), and appeared to be moving better in practice. A mirage, Frazer says with a smile. "I feel fast, but I know I'm not." He also said the quarterback needs to be well-conditioned to run the up-tempo style being installed.

  • New offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead was a little nervous before the first practice with the new offense. "He told me 'now, it's not going to be perfect today'," Edsall said. "I knew it wasn't going to be perfect, but it probably was a little bit better than I anticipated to tell you the truth. A lot of that credit goes to the players because they're working hard to understand a lot of the playbook before we even got out here."

  • How much more offense will UConn fans see this season? Edsall said the team was able to run 39 plays during a 15-minute period Tuesday. The normal total is around 27. "Toward the end, it wasn't as good," Edsall said. "But they'll get the conditioning as they go."

  • Frazer is certainly much more relaxed with the media than he was at this time a year ago. He caught some flak from Edsall for being overly enthusiastic in his quotes about the new offense, saying UConn would score 40 points per game this season. Asked again how many points he thought the Huskies could score, he glanced at Edsall, who was within earshot, and nodded. "How many points will we score? Enough."

  • Moe Petrus got word of his position switch to center yesterday morning at 6:45. He said he figured he'd eventually wind up there, but didn't know when. "A lot of it (today) was just trying to get the snaps down, because I've never snapped before. I'll be working a lot with Zach to get it perfect." The two spent about 10 extra minutes after practice working on snaps, as did Cody Endres and Gary Bardzak. "I like to be around my center as much as possible, so I'll try and spend as much time with him as I can," Frazer said. "Whether he likes it or not." Frazer said the two have already driven to Jersey Mike's in Rhode Island. Jersey Mike's, by the way, makes a hell of a good sub.

  • Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman split carries with the first team, as did Meme Wylie and Robbie Frey with the second team. How did they look? Fast. Then again, it was shorts and no pads or contact. Everyone has a little extra burst. So, take that for what it's worth. Anthony Sherman is also faster and quicker, and could see an increased role in the offense as well (though he played a pretty large role last year).

  • Looking at the spring media guide, I always get taken aback by the years. For instance, Desi Cullen and Brad Kanuch are already listed as seniors. Scott Lutrus is a redshirt junior. And I am just ripping through my 30s at breakneck pace. Time stops for no one.

  • I, for one, usually enjoy open practices. It's great get an actual look at what players are doing and how they look as opposed to the season, when we get a 5 minute and 35 second open practice window to basically watch the guys stretch. That said, the first day of spring is pretty dull since most of it is spent getting the little things straight. So how do reporters spend the down time? Joe Perez of the Norwich Bulletin and I deciphered the signals coming in to the offense from the sidelines during the tight red zone drill (well, Joe mostly figured them out. I just made dumb jokes about the signing). Only took about a half hour, too. Next time, we'll work on the audibles.

  • The drive from New Haven to Storrs is still long. Sirius radio makes it bearable. A few observations from my hour and 15 minutes of channel surfing: Ireland's best contribution to rock? No, it's not U2. Van Morrison. Great singer, even better songwriter.
  • Winger is underrated. They got a bad rap because the nerd from Beavis and Butthead used to wear a Winger t-shirt. But Kip Winger has a great rock voice, and a decent bass player. Also, Reb Beach is a phenomenal guitarist. Proof? Check out this clip. By the way, this is also how I spent New Year's Eve in 1988. Home, watching New Year's Rockin' Eve on MTV. Hey, I was only 16. And grounded.
  • The Springsteen channel on Sirius bugs me because they play a lot of live concerts from the 70s, and the sound quality is awful -- like it was taped by some hippy through six layers of clothing on 8-track. Remember the episode of "What's Happening?", where Re-Run gets caught illegally bootlegging a Doobie Brothers concert? He starts doing the Re-Run dance, and his tape recorder falls out of his overcoat, bringing the concert to a screeching halt? Powerful stuff. I miss that show. And the Re-Run dance.

That's it. Stay safe tonight.


Anonymous Gary said...

If players are driving to Rhode Island for food, they should be going to Spike's Junkyard Dogs. Best hot dog in the world.

If they are really hungry (and I'm guessing an O-Lineman is) they can do the Rhode Island 3-step as I like to call it.
Step 1) Spike's Junkyard Dogs...I suggest the Texas Ranger or Samurai Dog.
Step 2) NY System Hot Weiner's. If you haven't had them, you are in for the bite of your life. Wash that down with a large Coffee Milk.
Finally, Step 3) Dels Frozen Lemonade...don't use a straw to drink it. That's how us Rhode Islanders know you are from out of town.

When I was at UConn we had convoys of cars driving to RI for that 3-step at times. It was definitely worth the hour drive each way.

March 18, 2009 12:44 PM 

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