Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feeling queasy? Have a slice of Tuesday notes.

A rundown of Tuesday's media luncheon.

  • Lindsey Witten and Cody Endres both have a stomach virus, and won't be practicing today. Endres woke up at 4 a.m. vomiting, while Witten and long snapper Glenn Kolebrenner were throwing up in the trainer's room this morning. Brandon Dillon and Kendall Reyes had the same bug prior to the North Carolina game, but both were able to play. It's not swine flu, or anything major. Edsall says he expects both to be fine within 24 hours.

  • If Witten continues at his current pace, he'll have 42 sacks by the end of the regular season. "He's been very good," UConn cornerback Robert McClain said. "He's coming off the ball with strength and speed. It's crazy the things he's doing out there. And that's a big part of us getting interceptions in the defensive backfield. Without pressure on the quarterback, they can't make bad decisions."

  • Scott Lutrus remains questionable with post-stinger syndrome. He says he's not in pain, but the medical staff is more concerned with him being re-injured. "I have full range of motion now, it's just a matter of can I take the hits," Lutrus said. He'll participate in all non-contact drills this week, and it could be another game-time decision. (By the way, I don't know if post-stinger syndrome is an actual medical term, I just made it up...if it isn't, maybe they can name it after Scott. Lutrus Syndrome, anyone?)

  • The heat inside the Shenkman Center will be set on "Texas level" this week. It's expected to be mild in Waco on Saturday, but mild in Waco is still 82 degrees. "The game will be in the heat of the day (4 p.m. Texas time)," Edsall said. "I'm sure that's on purpose."

  • A mild controversy at the press conference with Edsall was eventually cleared up before the afternoon was finished. A reporter told Edsall that Cody Endres, in his postgame interview, "hinted he wasn't prepared to go in there" against North Carolina. It caught Edsall off-guard and really seemed to agitate him that his starting quarterback for this week would say anything like that. At one point, Edsall, slowly stewing over the perceived comment from his QB, seemed ready to bench Endres for freshman Michael Box right there during the press conference. "If Mike Box plays well in practice today, maybe we'll just have to go with Mike Box," Edsall said. "I don't know. We'll see what happens." Apparently, Edsall got Endres in his office a little later to discuss the comment. Edsall eventually brought Endres, still sick, in to see the remaining media members and clear things up. "I don't remember saying anything to this effect at all," Endres said. Chalk it up to misinterpretation.

  • Obviously, Edsall would like to keep Box's redshirt season in tact, but with Frazer out for at least two games, he said Box is next in line should Endres get hurt.

  • Edsall was asked if he ever calls any offensive plays. He said in 11 years, he hasn't called a single play. "That's why you hire coordinators," he said. Edsall said he may change a play if he wants, but he usually waits until a series is over before doing so. It's never vetoed before it gets to the huddle. Plays are called by Joe Moorehead, and Rob Ambrose before him, and Norries Wilson before him. (I'm leaving someone else out, but that's before my time on the beat).

  • The funny thing about the no huddle...if you're not making plays, what's the point? Edsall knows his team needs to execute on offense for the new scheme to be effective, or else it's just rushing the defense back onto the field in a hurry. That was the case against UNC, where the Huskies had four 3-and-outs in the second half. "We have to sustain drives," Edsall said.

  • Freshman receiver Nick Williams will be simulating Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin in practice this week. No word on whether Williams has been fitted for a jet pack. Griffin is an All-American hurdler with a cannon arm. He's not the same as former West Virginia QB Pat White because Baylor likes to throw more with Griffin, Edsall said. But McClain said there's no question Griffin "is a lot faster than Pat White." Anyone who watched White torch the Huskies over the last four seasons knows that's scary speed.

  • Anthony Sherman is a fullback, but turned into one of UConn's top offensive weapons last season with 26 receptions for 270 yards. Through two games, Sherman has no carries and no receptions. I asked Sherman (wearing a cool Worcester State baseball T-shirt) if he's been frustrated with the lack of touches. "I think the plays are coming," Sherman said. "It's not frustrating, especially with Andre and Jordan's success running the ball. ... Right now, the passing game has been mediocre. I think that's a good word. It's something we can improve upon greatly."

  • It sure seems like this is the summer the 1980s died. At least for me. Michael Jackson, John Hughes, now Patrick Swayze? Integral parts of the decade I grew up in. I wasn't a Jackson fan, per se. But from 1984-89, I'd arrive home from school, plop down on the couch and watch MTV for three hours. Mike was everywhere. And even if you didn't purchase his albums, you still watched his music videos. John Hughes' movies defined the decade. Fifty years from now, if my grand kids ever ask what it was like to be in high school in the 1980s, I'll tell them to watch 16 Candles. Or the Breakfast Club. Or Ferris Bueller's Day Off. That was it. Swayze had an amazing run of re-watchable movies from 1983-1991. They ran in a constant loop on cable, continuing to this day...I bet Roadhouse is on right now. Sad. Someone keep an eye on Huey Lewis, please.

  • Monster game for Tyvon Branch last night. The ex-UConn corner, now a strong safety for the Raiders, was everywhere in the opener against San Diego. Quite impressive. I also thought Darius Butler looked good for the Patriots against the Bills. Had to like the postgame, too, when EPSN's microphones picked up Tom Brady telling him, "Good game, Darius" before Brady tried -- unsuccessfully -- to blow off Suzy Kolber. That was quite a scene. He gave her a couple of cold shoulders, then said, "I'm going in," when Suzy asked a question. "No. I'm going in," he said again, now trying to trot away. Suzy, like a pilot fish honed in on a great white shark, wouldn't give up. Brady then pretended he couldn't hear her questions before finally giving in and giving a brief response. He should have just sprinted away, though Brady probably isn't fast enough to shake Suzy Kolber. At least he didn't ask to kiss her.

Don't forget the live chats. Next one is Thursday at 2.

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Blogger Gary said...

If I were Cody Endres I'd be vomiting after that game too.

Anyway, I have a bad feeling about Saturday. Baylor gave UConn a run for their money last season, and that was at home, with Griffin as a freshman. This could get ugly.

I like your point about the no huddle being pointless if you can't sustain drives. If UConn goes 3 and out a few times in the first half, is there any chance they scrap the no huddle to try and give their D a rest against the speedy Griffin?

Also, this is kind of a random thought, but where do you stand on calling the team we? Personally I don't like when people refer to their favorite team as we. (We need to run the ball better as opposed to UConn needs to run the ball better) However, since I'm an alum, does that give me a free pass? Probably not. Obviously Chip, you being a journalist, you can't, but curious what you think.

September 16, 2009 7:53 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

I've never liked the 'we' thing. My feeling is that term should never be used unless you're a part of the team. It should be 'they'. Sorry, Gary, no pass for you.

September 16, 2009 8:47 AM 
Anonymous Vinny from East Haven said...

How about me, Chip? Can I use "we" when referring to UConn? As in, "WE won't get to a bowl this year?"

I might not be part of the team but I DO provide a valuable servie - I'm a human reality check for the delusional fans who have unrealistic expectations.

September 17, 2009 10:53 AM 

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