Scott Lutrus has been cleared, and will play Saturday against Rutgers. He got the OK from trainers on Tuesday, and has practiced since then. Lindsey Witten is probable, Alex Molina and Sio Moore are out.
On Tuesday, in the midst of patting myself on the back for predicting a huge year for Marcus Easley, I linked my post from Aug. 10, the first day of preseason camp. A reader saw another nice little note about Jasper Howard from that day's practice. So I did a back search for Jasper on the blog and came up with a few other nuggets. I'll post them again here:8/23/07
, Depth chart at a glance
CB: 1 Darius Butler (RJr., 5-11, 185) 16 Jasper Howard
(Fr., 5-9, 162)
S: 33 Robert Vaughn (So., 6-0, 189) 27 Aaron Bagsby (Fr., 6-1, 180)
S: 36 Dahna Deleston (RJr., 6-0, 198) 15 Donnell Ford (RSr., 6-1, 202)
CB: 29 Tyvon Branch (Sr., 6-0, 193) 42 Robert McClain (So., 5-9, 198)Chip sez: The starters were obvious. The backups, not so much. Someone asked me what happened to Terry Baltimore. He impressed Edsall during camp, but Howard, one of four true freshman in the two-deep, was a bit more impressive. Howard is small, but electric. He'll be a very solid cover corner who should inherit Larry Taylor's job as top return man next season. McClain has been there all along. UConn is set at corner for a while. Thought Glen Mourning might pull an upset over Bagsby, but the more I think about it, that probably wasn't realistic.9/1/07: Can I have my $4.99 back?
- The official game stats list the following true freshman as having played: Kijuan Dabney, Marcus Campbell, Aaron Bagsby, Anthony Sherman and Greg Lloyd Jr. No mention of Jasper Howard, but I'm positive I saw No. 16 out there today. Someone missed him.
9/4/07: (Chicken) Nuggets from Tuesday Media Lunch
- Jasper Howard did play at Duke. He was listed that way on the game notes. Knew I saw him out there (not that the Duke radio tandem of Grampy and Little Earl were any help. They didn't bother to announce UConn players by name.)
Editor's note: Chip missed the game at Duke to be with his wife, nine months pregnant at the time. He was forced to listen to the Duke announcers on the disastrous webcast of the game that afternoon.
4/1/08: Three pounds makes all the difference
- It also appears Jonathan Jean-Louis has passed Kijuan Dabney at strong safety, as he spent the whole practice with the first team, while Jasper Howard started opposite Darius Butler at cornerback while Robert McClain took snaps with the 2's.
8/12/08: Battle brewing at CB
- Howard is suddenly looking at lots of playing time. Not only is he returning kicks, he's moved ahead of Robert "Reggie" McClain as a starting cornerback. The competition is by no means over, however. The scrimmage on Wednesday will weigh-in heavily."Jazz (Howard) has gotten stronger and quicker," Edsall said. "Reggie's stronger, too. But I think Jazz is a better cover guy right now." Not long ago, Howard weighed 154 pounds. He's a solid 174 now. McClain is 201, and benching 390.
8/16/08: Talkin' bout practice
8/28/08: Sizing up the depth chart
- Jasper Howard has moved into a starting role opposite Darius Butler at cornerback. He says his biggest challenge, aside from perfecting technique, is keeping weight on during hot summer practice sessions. He's gained over 20 pounds since last summer, and reported to camp at 175 -- right where the coaches would like him. But he's down to about 170 after 17 practices. "I'm on my way to eat now," Howard said. "I never miss a meal, so hopefully I can put a few back on right now."
CB: 1 Darius Butler (RSr., 5-10, 187) 20 Terry Baltimore (RJr., 5-9, 174)
S: 33 Robert Vaughn (Jr., 6-0, 197) 7 Glenn Mourning (RJr., 6-0, 212)
S: 36 Dahna Deleston (RSr., 6-0, 211) 28 Emmanuel Omokaro (RFr., 5-10, 195)
CB: 6 Jasper Howard
(So., 5-9, 174) 42 Robert McClain (Jr., 5-9, 201)Chip sez: Howard is the only unproven starter. He's the anti-Tyvon Branch (smaller, not as fast) but may be better as a cover guy. Jonathan Jean-Louis was in a dog fight with Dabney to start at safety in the spring, suddenly, he's off the depth chart. Mourning has been a new man since Edsall challenged his toughness to play through the minor injuries in the spring of 2007. Omokaro is a walk-on who has seemingly come from nowhere to backup Deleston.
KR: 1 Darius Butler (RSr., 5-10, 187) 44 Robbie Frey (RFr., 6-0, 191)
PR: 6 Jasper Howard
(So., 5-9, 174) 42 Robert McClainChip sez: Kickoffs won't miss a beat, even with the loss of Branch to the NFL. Butler and Frey should provide plenty of excitement (and field position). Punt returns? It's the post-Larry Taylor era. In many ways, the biggest single loss since Orlovsky at QB for the Huskies. Could be a drop-off, here. Then again, maybe not. Jazz is not only athletic, but oozes confidence. You have to like him.10/18/08: Rutgers post game
- Special teams has been a major problem. Tony C missed 3 of 4 field goals, Robbie Frey made a mistake fielding the kickoff to start the second half. Jasper Howard should have picked up two punts in the third, and let the punt in the fourth go into the end zone. "Robbie, I think, just panicked,” UConn coach Randy Edsall said. “We would have had the ball at either the 20- or 40-(yard line). He’s a redshirt freshman in a situation he had never been in before."
- Jasper said, "I made some misjudgments with the ball because of the wind. Coach got with me a little bit. The ball was shifting around because of the wind. I feel a little of it was my fault." Howard apparently didn't field one of the kicks because he felt one of his blockers was in his way. Edsall took blame because he personally coaches the return men in practice, but then said, "I tell them all the time, catch every ball you can back there. We don’t want the ball to hit the ground. Fair catch it. I said (Jasper), put your hand up there because they can’t hit you, and your own man should be able to avoid you."
10/20/08: Decision on Frazer won't come until Tuesday
- Edsall also gave a vote of confidence for Jasper Howard on punt returns. "Jazz will be fine. He understands. When something happens one, then twice, you get gun shy. (The punt in the fourth quarter that Howard fielded around the 4 that likely would have went into the end zone) he was probably feeling 'I have to catch this'. He totally lost his composure. But I'm not worried about Jazz. He'll bounce back."
4/11/09: Early edition: Saturday scrimmage notes
- Jasper Howard managed to get himself kicked out of practice for the day after an interception of Zach Frazer and 60 yard return for a touchdown. Getting a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration will do that. Howard pulled an unnecessary leap over the goal line and tumbled into the end zone. Surprise, surprise. It didn't go over well with the head coach. The wide smile on Howard's face further infuriated Edsall. "You're done for the day, No. 6!" Edsall screamed. "Act like you've played the game before! Take your pads off and get out!" Howard, as he was jogging off toward the locker room, muttered, "They still can't touch me."
- About 30 minutes later, Howard and Todman (also booted that day) returned to the field, where Edsall put his arm around each for a fatherly lecture. Both returned to their respective sidelines, but in sweats.
4/11/09: Discipline rules the day
- Lesson learned. Both Jasper Howard and Jordan Todman understood why they were booted today. Howard said he's glad it happened so him so the younger corners like Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson could see that kind of thing isn't tolerated. Todman echoed those sentiments. Randy Edsall's take: treat the scrimmages as a game. Both plays were worth 15-yard penalties, and could have cost a victory (Todman's more than Howard's. Edsall's problem with Howard was that it was an individualistic showboat). It didn't help that several high school coaches and players were watching. "It was a good teaching moment," Edsall said.
8/10/09: No day at the beach
- Gotta love the ‘welcome to college football’ moments. During a one-on-one drill between receivers and defensive backs, 5-foot-7 corner Jasper Howard jammed 6-foot-5 true freshman receiver Malik Generett hard at the line of scrimmage. Generett couldn’t go anywhere, then spun to late to the outside to catch a pass. He missed. “C’mon Malik!” Howard woofed. “You’re 6-5, cuz!”
8/20/09: Open practice updates
- Those who were at practice got to see how exciting a player Dwayne Difton really is; the rest of you will be pleasantly surprised this season. Difton evoked images of Donald Brown by stiff-arming Jasper Howard to the turf on one play. Howard got up and drilled Difton, who was already out of bounds, with Difton laughing at his "big brother". Howard has taken Difton, a fellow south Floridian, under his wing, and the two have become close. "It's the same thing Darius Butler did with me," Howard said. "I want to make him feel at home." Still, the pair like to go at it in practices. Howard has been impressed with Difton's ability. "Whatever he was, 4-star, 5-star, he's living up to the billing," Howard said. "He's doing a tremendous job."
- I, for one, keep forgetting Howard isn't a captain. He's such a natural leader, and has really been working with many of the younger players, not just Difton. He also wants to keep the UConn cornerback tradition of heading to the NFL alive. Bigger and stronger this fall, Howard also seems faster. "I can't slack off," Howard said, speaking about leadership as well as pro aspirations. "Tyvon did it, Darius did it. It's up to me and Reggie."
Still can't believe what happened to him.
Almost forgot about my live chat today. It's at www.nhregister.com/chat.
On to the picks, no-nonsense style for one more week.
Game 1: CONNECTICUT (-7.5) over Rutgers
Game 2: Cincinnati (-15.5) over SYRACUSE
Game 3: AUBURN (+4.5) over Mississippi
Game 4: Michigan (-7.5) over ILLINOIS
Game 5: LOUISVILLE (-3) over Arkansas State - A 2-4 team out of the Sun Belt Conference getting only three points on the road at Louisville? This spread alone is cause for Louisville to issue paper bags at the gate for fans to wear on their heads. Sorry, had to be done.
Game 6: BOSTON COLLEGE (-5.5) over Central Michigan
Game 7: Kansas (+6.5) over TEXAS TECH
Game 8: FLORIDA (-15) over Georgia
Game 9: Ucla (+10) over OREGON STATE
Game 10: South Carolina (+6) over TENNESSEE
Game 11: OREGON (+3) over Souther California
Game 12: Texas (-9) over OKLAHOMA STATE
Last week's results
1. McFred 13-6
3. govphalen 12-7
4. Sean O 11-8
big donny 11-8
6. gary 10-9
rick c 10-9
10. wil 9-10
11. chip 8-11
13. sammy 7-12
1. SeanO 54
2. Wil 53
4. Sammy 51
5. Chip 49
caleb mandrake 49
8. pete 47
Rick C 47
10. Gary 45
11. Vinny 41
12. rich 39
14. JZ 20
15. Mike B 13
16. big donny 11
17. ian 9
19. DanO 8
20. salami 6
Get your picks in by clicking the comments link below.