Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Huskies get ready for South Florida

Some early notes from the final Tuesday luncheon....

  • A year ago, Edsall mentioned the St. Petersburg Bowl might be a "non-starter" for UConn because of its early date (Dec. 19) conflicts with final exams. With that bowl very much in play as the Huskies head into the final game of the regular season, Edsall has changed his tune. Somewhat. "Any bowl is a good bowl," Edsall said. "There are a couple of issues with exams. That's why (AD) Jeff (Hathaway) gets paid the money he's paid is to deal with that. I'm more concerned with preparing the team for a game. I have no control with those other issues. I just know we're going to (a bowl game)."

  • Sir Mathieu Olivier came into Edsall's office a couple of weeks ago and told him he wasn't planning to return to UConn for his final season of eligibility. Olivier is graduating, and wants to enroll in graduate school at the I-AA or Division II level to play his final season. Since Olivier has been playing -- he's scheduled to start over a hobbled Erik Kuraczea on the offensive line again this week -- he hasn't come back to Edsall to say he's changed his mind. But Edsall said Olivier has family issues, and would like to be closer to his home in Woburn, Mass.

  • Marcus Easley really wants to return to UConn for another year. He's been pressing the coaches to make sure he doesn't have one more year of eligibility left because he didn't play football as a freshman. But he's out of luck. "The clock starts as soon as you enroll," Edsall said. "He wants to come back, but I told Marcus he has a chance to go on and do bigger and better things."

  • Greg Robinson is among the fourth-year juniors who won't return for his final season. Edsall didn't know if Robinson wanted to play his final year at a lower Division football school like Olivier.

  • Donald Brown called the football offices this morning to speak with the coaches, and mentioned the length of the NFL season. It begins to take its toll physically. "He said now they get Mondays and Tuesdays off as opposed to just Tuesdays," Edsall said. Edsall said he gives UConn a break in the late season too, cutting five minutes off practice. Five minutes. But those five minutes are a big deal, Edsall said. He was dead serious.

  • Edsall spoke a while about most of the seniors, but was touched by the turnaround of Andre Dixon. Bad decisions hampered Dixon, who was suspended on two different occasions including for a DUI last December. "I'm thrilled for him because of where he's come from to where he is today," Edsall said. "That's why you coach and help young people. He's going to graduate in December, and will have the opportunity to play at the next level and play in an all-star game. It shows how far he's matured and worked after getting a second chance and a third chance. I couldn't be prouder of how he's handled everything."

  • Dixon may have made some bad choices at UConn, but he came to Storrs with his priorities in order. When he accepted his scholarship, he said his friends in New Brunswick, N.J. only wanted to ask him about one thing. "NFL, NFL, NFL," Dixon said. "I said let me get my degree first, and be the first in my family to get my degree, and anything else will be a bonus. Getting my degree, that's amazing to me and to my family."

  • Edsall also spoke about Mike Hicks and his impact on the program. "Just look at how many games he's started (this week will be his 47th start)," Edsall said. "It was one of those things were we weren't sure if he was a guard or tackle. But he never let any of that bother him. He kept battling. That's what I love about him. He just went out and did his job." Edsall also said Hicks is having the best year of his career.

  • Forecast for Saturday...low 30s, possibly some flurries. "Sounds good to me," Edsall said. It should. South Florida was wilted in the cold weather of Connecticut in late fall before...who could forget the 15-10 win in on Nov. 26, 2005? Temps were in the 20s, with a layer of ice and on the field. The USF players hadn't played in anything colder that upper 50s all season. They looked like they'd been dropped into the Arctic Circle.

  • Joe D'Ambrosio asked many of the players which of the seniors would be the first to cry in anticipation of Senior Day and the final home game. I won't spill the beans on the nominees, but this one had me laughing pretty hard. Joe D mentioned to Zach Frazer that a year ago, Rob Lunn shed the first tears on Tuesday, four full days before the game. "Lunn was a pretty emotional guy," Frazer deadpanned. "Almost womanlike."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL @ the Womanlike Rob Lunn comment.

December 01, 2009 4:52 PM 

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