Thursday, April 29, 2010

Easley on ESPN's "First Take"

In case you missed it Thursday morning, here's the link

Monday, April 26, 2010

Post-draft signings aplenty

Here's a rundown of UConn signings and a few other Connecticut natives from the past two days.

Andre Dixon was offered a tryout with the New York Giants, and will report to their mini-camp Friday-Sunday. Joining him, also on a tryout basis, is New Haven resident D.J. McAulay, one of the top wide receivers in the Colonial Athletic Association for William & Mary this fall.

McAulay, a first cousin of former Wisconsin and UConn defensive back Jamison Davis, had 57 catches for 620 yards in helping William & Mary to the semifinals of the Division I-AA tournament, where they lost to Villanova. He played his high school ball at Hillhouse, and later the Westminster School.

Seymour's Mike Hicks had a few offers, accoring to his agent, but settled for a tryout with the Detroit Lions at their camp, which runs Friday-Sunday. Norwich's Dan Ryan will tryout with the Miami Dolphins, while Lindsey Witten will head to camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Punter Desi Cullen took the Chicago Bears up on a tryout in hopes of beating out Brad Maynard. One of the players Cullen will be competing against directly is former Yale punter Ed Mante.
"They are looking for a combination punter/kickoff guy and that is what I am," Mante told Register colleague Jim Fuller. "I am excited to have this opportunity."

Another New Haven resident, Garrett Brown, signed a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs shortly after the draft. Brown, a defensive tackle at the University of Minnesota, picked the Chiefs because of their dire need at defensive tackle.

Post-spring depth chart

2010 University of Connecticut Post-Spring Practice Depth Chart


Adam Masters (RSo., 6-4, 270)
Jimmy Bennett (RSo., 6-8, 301)
Greg McKee (Fr., 6-5, 299)

Mathieu Olivier (RSr., 6-6, 276)
Erik Kuraczea (RSo., 6-2, 315)
Steve Greene (RFr., 6-4, 324)

Moe Petrus (RJr., 6-2, 292)
Gary Bardzak (RJr., 6-3, 297)
Ben Chapman (RSo., 6-2, 276)

Zach Hurd (RSr., 6-7, 323)
Tyler Bullock (RFr., 6-4, 291)

Mike Ryan (RJr., 6-5, 332)
Kevin Friend (RFr., 6-5, 287)
Stephen Brown (RFr., 6-4, 289)

Ryan Griffin (RSo., 6-6, 240)
John Delahunt (RSo., 6-3, 243)
Corey Manning (RSo., 5-4, 255)
Alex Kaiser (Sr., 6-5, 238)

Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 190)
Robbie Frey (RFr., 6-0, 199) OR
Kelmetrius Wylie (RJr., 5-10, 223)
Jonathan Jean-Louis (Sr., 6-0, 200)
Martin Hyppolite (RFr., 6-0, 210)

Anthony Sherman (Sr., 5-11, 242)
Bret Manning (Sr., 5-11, 255)

Zach Frazer (RSr., 6-4, 236)
Cody Endres (RJr., 6-4, 223)
Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 194) OR
Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 179) OR
Johnny McEntee (RSo., 6-3, 216)

Michael Smith (Jr., 6-0, 200)
Malik Generett (RFr., 6-4, 210)
Joshua Massey (Sr., 5-8, 186)

Kashif Moore (RJr., 5-9, 177)
Nick Williams (So., 5-9, 182)
Dwayne Difton (So., 5-11, 171)
Eric Sawicki (RFr., 6-0, 189)

Isiah Moore (RJr., 6-1, 183)
Gerrard Sheppard (RSo., 6-2, 205) OR
Marcus Aiken (RFr., 5-11, 191)


Jesse Joseph (So., 6-3, 231)
Trevardo Williams (So., 6-1, 224) OR
A.J. Portee (RSo., 6-4, 236)
Jonathan Louis (Fr., 6-5, 241)

Kendall Reyes (RJr., 6-4, 287)
Alex Polito (RSr., 6-6, 284) OR
Shamar Stephen (RFr., 6-5, 291)

Ryan Wirth (RSo., 6-2, 275) OR
Twyon Martin (RJr., 6-2, 270)
Tim Willman (RFr., 6-3, 271)

Marcus Campbell (Jr., 6-2, 227)
Greg Lloyd (Sr., 6-2, 234) OR
Ted Jennings (RS., 6-5, 238)

“Husky” LB
Jory Johnson (RSo., 6-1, 219)
Andrew Opoku (Fr., 6-4, 217)
Matt Edwards (RSo., 6-0, 189)
Emmanuel Omokaro (RJr., 5-10, 207)

Scott Lutrus (RSr., 6-3, 240)
Jerome Williams (RSo., 6-11, 248)
Michael Osiecki (Fr., 6-2, 225)

Lawrence Wilson (RSr., 6-1, 217)
Sio Moore (RSo., 6-1, 231)
Mark Hinkley (RSo., 5-11, 228)

Blidi Wreh-Wilson (RSo., 6-0, 184)
Tevrin Brandon (RFr., 5-10, 172)

Jerome Junior (RSo., 6-1, 208)
David Kenney (RFr., 6-0, 186)
Harris Agbor (RJr., 5-10, 192)
John Yurek (RJr., 6-0, 200)

Kijuan Dabney (Sr., 6-0, 214)
Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 186) OR
Chris Lopes (RFr., 5-10, 183)

Dwayne Gratz (RSo., 6-0, 190)
Gary Wilburn (RJr., 5-11, 196) OR
Gilbert St. Louis (Fr., 5-11, 176)

Special Teams

Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 200) OR
Cole Wagner (RFr., 6-2, 197)

Dave Teggart (RJr., 6-0, 209)
Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 200)

Derek Chard (Sr., 6-3, 234)
Stephen Brown (RFr., 6-4, 279) OR
Mark Hinkley (RSo., 5-11, 228)

Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 200)
Zach Frazer (RSr., 6-4, 236)

Gary Wilburn (RJr., 5-11, 196) OR
Nick Williams (So., 5-9, 182) OR
Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 179)

Robbie Frey (RFr., 6-0, 199)
Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 190)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Easley shuffles off to Buffalo

Stratford's Marcus Easley went to the Buffalo Bills in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, No. 107 overall. If the Bills find a quarterback, it could be a great fit. Here's a little of what Easley had to say on Saturday afternoon during his call with the Connecticut media:

Easley said he had an informal interview with the Bills at the NFL Combine in February, and was told the team was interested. "That was pretty much all I heard from them," Easley said. "I know they were really trying to go after wide receivers. It's a wonderful opportunity for me, and I can't wait to get started."

His story is well know by now, but Easley, a former walk-on, was barely on UConn's radar as a viable option at receiver as late as last October. He broke out against Pitt, and the rest is history. "I was always taught, no matter what the situation, you should always believe," Easley said. "Football is an everyday grind type of thing, and it goes to show you what hard work can bring you. Everything didn't always go my way, this past year, and pretty much my whole career. The fact that I was put in this position and everything worked out is a blessing."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Game is in the books...some notes

Pretty lousy day for football. Not just wet and overcast, but windy and cold. It definitely affected the crowd, which fell quite a bit short of Randy Edsall's goal of 20,000, which he said he wanted to see here earlier in the week. Attendance was announced at 2,500.

Some news and observations from the day.
  • There was a nice opportunity for the media to catch up with the honorary coaches for today. A few interesting nuggets: Dan Orlovsky has already told Randy Edsall he wants to return to UConn as a coach when his NFL days are finished. "I’ve already expressed to my wife that I want to live up in this area just so I can coach at UConn," Orlovsky said. "That’s definitely in my thoughts and plans, to come back and coach. It would be a dream come true.” Donald Brown and Tyler Lorenzen haven't been back on campus since last year's Pro Day. Lorenzen was resigned by the Saints, and reports to mini-camp Monday. He was also fitted for his Super Bowl ring. Brown had to settle for an AFC championship ring. Neither really knows what to do with the rings once the receive them.

  • Fincher, Krug and Orlovsky certainly took their duty as an honorary coaches seriously. On several occasions, Fincher was on the field barking at players. All thought the Huskies weren't playing with enough toughness, and that message was relayed to the current team afterward. All of the former players had the opportunity to say something to the team after the game, and Fincher's remarks were among the sharpest. "He told them he needs to see, and this was his observation, he needs to see more leadership," Edsall said. "He needs to see guys that want to separate themselves and want to work."

  • Were the current players listening? This quote from Kijuan Dabney says the message was heard loud and clear. "That message was pretty solid," Dabney said. "Those guys coming where they come from, and the talent level we have now, they know we can do some special things. We just appreciate being able to nick and pick with them when they're around the team. Those guys are champions. There's a reason they went to the NFL or have good careers. It's because of their character. If anyone knows coach Edsall, he only recruits players with good character. If you have bad character, you can't play football at UConn. To hear those guys say we have to fire to give more enthusiasm, it's something else to learn from. They've been around football for a long time, you have to take in what they tell you."

  • It was a rough day for the secondary, and it didn't take long to see. Jerome Junior bit on a play fake from Zach Frazer on the first play from scrimmage, allowing Kashif Moore to separate and catch a 70-yard touchdown bomb. Both Edsall and Frazer mentioned the defense was limited today -- blitzing wasn't allowed, Blidi Wreh-Wilson's injury didn't help -- but both conceded there's work to be done. Edsall said it was a matter of "eyes being in the wrong place" with the secondary, and that was easily correctable. Edsall also mentioned new defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins did a good job this spring.

  • Safety Kijuan Dabney said the wide receivers deserve credit for their performance today. "Don't get me wrong, it's not like we're going against a bad offense," Dabney said. "All our receivers run a 4.3 or 4.4, so with the smallest mistake they're running by you. It's not like they only run the ball, they have multiple dimensions. Just with JT, Meme and a quarterback like Zach and Kashif and Smitty on the outside. You read your keys, and if you make a mistake you're going to be in trouble. I won't make any (excuses), we took the field with our 11, we should have played tighter. It's a good tool to learn from. We have to get to the ball faster, get to the quarterback faster and hold our own responsibility."

  • Could Michael Smith take over for Marcus Easley as the new long threat? Five catches for 207 yards, including touchdowns of 69, 75 and 57 certainly make a solid case. "I asked him if he went to K-Mart last night for a blue-light special on some speed. Not the drug kind," Edsall said, noting he has to be careful with words. "Not K-Mart, I went to Wal-Mart," joked Smith later while wearing a pair of old school low-cut blue Chuck Taylors. Frazer has been more accurate, especially with the long ball this spring. But Edsall said those types of plays are what happen when you have a running game. Defensive backs know they need to come up to stop the run, and that moment of hesitation can open things up deep.

  • Smith specifically mentioned Easley and his performance at last year's spring game (10 receptions, over 100 yards). "I got to watch Marcus do it," Smith said. "He excelled at catching the deep ball. I believe I can do it."

  • Among the young players Edsall was pleased with this spring were Jonathan Jean-Louis, Tervin Brandon, Adam Masters and Sio Moore.

  • Leon Kinnard said he's still a quarterback, but that the coaches could move him around to see where his best fit is. That could mean more packages like the game's second play, where Kinnard threw a halfback option pass to Dwayne Difton for 48 yards. Or, perhaps he will switch positions. Kinnard is an obvious weapon, and Edsall will find a way to get him on the field.

  • Kinnard is thrilled to simply be back playing football after missing 18 months to surgeries for a dislocated ankle, fractured fibula and torn hip labrum. "It's great to be on the field again," Kinnard said. "I spent three months on crutches, couldn't really rehab until the fourth month. I lost a lot of leg muscle during my recovery. This is my ultimate goal to get here and succeed. Now that I'm here, I just want to work hard. From these last four weeks, I feel good. Obviously, I'm not where I want to be yet. But I feel I will eventually get there."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Captains to be named, other tidbits from Tuesday

The final installation of my Tuesday practice trilogy...

  • Zach Frazer says he's been very impressed with Leon Kinnard. "He's young. But he really picks things up quickly," Frazer said.

  • Safety Marcus Aiken may see some time on both sides of the ball. He got some work on offense today. "I was watching the film...and said is there anyway we can make ourselves better," Edsall said. "If we can have guys help us both ways...if I see someone on the other side who can help us on the opposite side, that's what we got to do. We don't play til Sept. 4, and there's time to get guys ready."

  • Edsall said some of the offensive coaches wanted to switch Zach Hurd to tackle in the wake of the injuries at the position. He said no chance. "Mike Ryan has played a lot of football for us. We know what we can do," Edsall said. "Mike will be a starter for us, unless something unforeseen happens." Edsall instead decided, at first, to put Adam Masters at right tackle and Kevin Friend at left tackle. After seeing them work, Edsall switched the two, and he's been quite pleased with both of them. "I just know I'm glad I made the decision I made. I said we're going to play these two guys at tackle because I thought they had the ability to do it." Now, there's Masters, Jimmy Bennett and Greg McKee at left tackle with Ryan, Friend and Steve Brown on the right side.

  • Rough day for the secondary. Receivers made lots of plays, Shepperd ad Generett looked very good. But the secondary has some work to do, more specifically the backups. Lots of big plays that shouldn't have been big plays.

  • Captains will be announced Saturday. Sounds like there will be four. Sherman, Lutrus, and Frazer are locks. Jasper Howard would have been the fourth, another lock. The fourth will be Hurd, though it might be another defensive player to even it out. Dabney? Reyes? What do you think?

  • No format has been determined for Saturday yet, as far as scoring or teams. The defensive line being thinned out today could play a part, as can the weather forecast.

See you Saturday.

Edsall wants YOU at the game

And we're baaaaack. Part two of today's notes.

  • Edsall made his plea to fans to get out to Rentschler for the Spring Game on Saturday, putting 10-20K as his target. His goal is to expand the stadium capacity, and that won't happen without sellouts, and lots of them. "I have to do what I feel is necessary to help our program," Edsall said. "We've been to three straight bowl games, we've had guys go into the NFL, we've got guys coming back who really made this program and guys who've helped put this program on the map, you would like to see that people really appreciate football and want to be there and be part of it. If I have to be the spokesperson for the program that's what we'll have to do."

  • Edsall took it a little farther. "My whole thing is, I want to make this as big and good as we can possibly be. I'll be disappointed if the stadium isn't sold out before the season starts. I don't know what else these young people have to do. That's what you have to do. It's just how (I) feel. I think we've created a buzz and an excitement. These kids are working their tails off. I think they deserve to have a lot of people there. With the schedule we have, 16 starters coming back, I'll be disappointed if the stadium isn't sold out before we kick it off for our home opener."

Part three, coming up...

Chicken pox for Trevardo; surgery for Polito

Last practice (for the media) before the spring game on Saturday. Time for the fastest 15 minutes in sports blogging...well, 15 for me to type. About a minute-five for you to read.
  • Defensive tackle Alex Polito got hurt Saturday, and the news isn't good. He had his arm in a sling today on the sidelines, and has a torn labrum. Surgery is Friday and, if all goes well, about 16 weeks recovery time. It could be 20. That puts Polito on the borderline to be back for preseason camp.

  • Trevardo Williams is in the UConn infirmiry with a case of the chicken pox. Williams, born in Jamaica, has had a vaccination. He's just unlucky. Edsall suggested to the team trainers that an inventory be taken to see who has and hasn't had chicken pox, and will hope there isn't a breakout in the next few says.

More to come...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday practice update: why coaches go gray...

News and notes from Saturday's practice session:
  • Mike Osiecki won't be practicing for the remainder of the spring following his arrest for allegedly shoplifting a PowerBar Monday. Randy Edsall said Osiecki isn't off the team, and that the program still supports him, but the situation called for a punishment. Exactly what Osiecki will be doing is "between Mike and myself," Edsall said. "He'll be taking care of some things I want him to take care of, and we'll let the legal process run its course. He and I have talked, and will continue to talk. But he does not deserve to be out here at this point and time."

  • Osiecki practiced Tuesday, a day after his arrest. News of the arrest was made public Wednesday. Osiecki wasn't allowed to practice starting Thursday. When asked when he learned of the arrest, Edsall declined to comment any further. "I think that's all that needs to be said," Edsall said.

  • Erik Kuraczea arrived late for Saturday's practice, and was sent home by Edsall. "When you don't get up on time, and it's not that important to you to be here on time, then as the head coach it's not that important to have you out here practicing," Edsall said. "I told him to go back and catch up on his sleep. He needed more, so he went back home and got sleep."

  • Over the last week, Edsall has sent a top defensive player (Lawrence Wilson) and a top offensive player (Jordan Todman) back to study hall for academic reasons. There was the Osiecki incident, and today Kuraczea. None were major incidents, and Edsall isn't concerned there might be a discipline problem. "You have a level of expectation for young people," Edsall said. "The thing you have to understand is in our society, a lot of these young people have never been held accountable to the standards they're held accountable to here. We're taking 18 years of habits and we're trying to change them. Some of the young men do it the right way, some of them don't. We're not going to compromise what we believe in or the values we have, If they don't follow them, there's going to be consequences."

  • The wide receivers continue to do good things -- at least when I'm watching. Today during the live scrimmage, Malik Generett made a pretty grab along the sidelines, chopping his feet to stay in bounds. On the next play, Generett made a down field block on Gilbert Stlouis that got tailback Martin Hyppolite into the end zone. A little later, Michael Smith made a catch across the middle, and at the end of a big gainer laid a shoulder into Jerome Junior that knocked the safety onto his keyster, where he stayed for a moment before getting up.

  • Twyon Martin has slipped to second team on the depth chart at defensive lineman, and Edsall feels he's close to being moved to the third team if he doesn't pick things up. Ryan Wirth and Shamar Stephen have both passed Martin, Edsall said. "He's got to stop being so lazy," Edsall said. "It's the truth. He has to stop being lazy. He has to learn to push himself a bit more if wants to get the ability he has and maximize it. ... It's up to Twyon. If he wants to be third team, then he can keep going the way he is. If he wants to get back to where he was, then he needs to work a lot harder."

  • Expect a lot of 'OR's when the final spring depth chart is released (not that it will be released...we may or may not get a depth chart at the start of preseason camp in August).

  • Edsall is happy with the offensive line, particularly the development of Kevin Friend and Adam Masters. "I don't think Zach got sacked one time today," Edsall said. "I think he got hit once after the ball was done." Edsall thinks making the quarterbacks fair game to be hit in practice has made a huge difference both with the QBs and the line this spring.

  • Jordan Todman was back in practice today, and said he learned a lesson. Kicked out of practice for missing classes before, Todman said he didn't miss classes this time. "I went to class. Got to class on time, did the wrong thing in it," Todman said. "It was nothing crazy. No skipping class, no cheating, nothing like that. I was using technology in class, and it was unacceptable. I agree with (coach Edsall). There are no stars on this team, we're all equal, all held to the same standards."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Todman banished to study hall, Edsall annoyed

While his UConn football teammates were busy with Tuesday’s spring practice session at the Shenkman Center, Jordan Todman was in street clothes behind the closed door of the academic support room.

Todman had been banished there by coach Randy Edsall for the day, and he’ll be back for the next football practice on Thursday, too, until he catches up on his schoolwork.

Edsall, speaking with the media during a brief practice break, discussed Todman’s academic slip with an intonation that became increasingly peevish with each word he spoke.

It wasn’t necessarily that his starting tailback and one of the Huskies’ top offensive players wasn’t living up to his end of the bargain that bothered Edsall – though it certainly didn’t help. It was more the fact that linebacker Lawrence Wilson, one of the team’s top defensive players, had suffered the same fate a week earlier.

“We had an example of Wilson not doing it, and now this week we had somebody who didn’t do what they were supposed to,” Edsall said. “That’s what bothers me. It doesn’t matter that it was Jordan Todman or whoever. When you have examples of someone not doing what they are supposed to do, you see what happens to them, and then you’re going to let it happen to you? That’s what’s disappointing.”

Wilson sat out last Tuesday and Thursday to catch up on his classwork, and returned to practice Saturday. But it wasn’t until Edsall got an academic progress report on Monday that Wilson was given the OK to return to the field Tuesday. Todman, who has missed practice time due to lax academic work in the past, will go through the same drill.

“I’m doing what I have to do, hopefully he’ll understand what he has to do,” Edsall said. “There are no stars around here. You don’t do what you’re supposed to do, you suffer the consequences. We tell them all the time, you’re going to have responsibility for which you’ll be held accountable. Sometimes, that’s the only way they wake up and understand what they need to do and what’s important.”

Todman is slated to become the Huskies’ every down back this spring after splitting time with graduated Andre Dixon last fall. As a freshman in 2008, Todman was the main backup to Donald Brown.

While Todman ran for a team-high 1,188 yards and 14 touchdowns to earn second-team All-Big East conference last season, Edsall was annoyed enough Tuesday to threaten his starting position.

Junior Kelmetrius “Meme” Wylie worked with the first team offense, and has been waiting for an opportunity to join the mix at tailback. Converted safety Jonathan Jean-Louis and redshirt freshman Martin Hyppolite are in the same boat. Junior Robbie Frey, recovering from injury, will likely be one of Todman’s main backups come fall.

“He’s up in that room, and if he thinks he has that position sewed up and can take it easy, then there’s guys out here that will go right by him and he’ll be third team if he’s not careful,” Edsall said. “If he’s not out here practicing, he won’t fit. There are guys out here that can do things.”

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Pre-Easter practice report

Here's what we got out of the UConn practice Saturday, most of which was spent scrimmaging.
  • Edsall decided to limit the plays for many starters, including the top two quarterbacks. That meant a lot of reps for Mike Box, Leon Kinnard and Johnny McEntee. Kinnard is listed at 5-foot-9, but seems smaller standing behind the much bigger o-linemen. He's done little to dissuade Edsall's decision to let him be a quarterback. His arm is strong, he is a real threat anytime he takes off running and his decision-making, for someone who enrolled in January, is pretty good. He's also fearless, taking several big hits (at that size, they all seem to be big hits) and bouncing back up. But there's something else that's really impressed Edsall. "The thing that stands out is his presence on the field, and his composure and his poise," Edsall said. "He doesn't seem to get rattled. For a guy that just came in, you look at that, and he has good command in the huddle." xx

  • Edsall made the decision to allow quarterbacks to be hit this spring. It's paid off simply because it keeps the offensive linemen and quarterbacks on their toes. "I think the timing of things helps, because they know they have to get the ball out of their hands," Edsall said. "It makes it advantageous for everybody."

  • Michael Smith, Isiah Moore and Kashif Moore have risen as the top three receivers, but a few others are making significant strides this spring. Malik Generett could be on the verge of becoming a real threat. His size and ability to go up and get the high ball will make him a red zone problem for the opposition. Dwayne Difton has also gotten better. He says he understands the playbook much better, and it's allowed him to run routes at full speed. "That's been the biggest difference for me," Difton said. "I couldn't play fast (last fall). But I'm just having fun competing. I'm not worried about the depth chart or anything. As long as I'm making plays, and getting better every down, that's the important thing."

  • Among the true freshmen receivers, Difton and Mike Lang saw the field last fall. Generett was redshirted because the coaches didn't feel he was ready to contribute. The extra year would be more beneficial to Generett, the coaches felt, because he's a different kind of receiver -- namely one who is 6-foot-4 with serious potential.

  • Lawrence Wilson was back practicing Saturday after missing last week to concentrate on his schoolwork. Edsall said he'll get the progress report Monday to see if he'll be on the field Tuesday and Thursday or back in study hall.

  • If the season began today, the starting left tackle would be none other than Adam Masters. With Jimmy Bennett and Mike Ryan sitting out the spring to recover from injuries, Masters has taken full advantage of the opportunity, Edsall says. "He's been a pleasant surprise, and has improved dramatically," Edsall said. "It's not a surprise because of how hard he's worked and how much he's put into it since the end of the season." Masters doesn't get complacent. Edsall said Masters watched film of a practice last week, and left saying "Man, I've got to get a lot better." Masters, a guard last season, will remain at tackle for the time being. "I have complete confidence he can do the job," Edsall said.

  • Mathieu Oliver missed practice after getting "dinged in the head" last week. Edsall said he should be fine.

  • Martin Hyppolite has been out with mono, but could be cleared to return by Tuesday.

Happy Easter to all.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Donald Brown, Orlovksy among honorary Blue-White coaches

STORRS, Conn. (April 1, 2010) -- Five former University of Connecticut football stars of the recent past will serve as honorary coaches for the 2010 UConn Blue-White Spring Football Game on Saturday, April 17, 2010, at Rentschler Field.

All-American running back Donald Brown, who recently finished his rookie year with the Indianapolis Colts and played in Super Bowl XLIV in January, will coach one team along with former Husky quarterback Tyler Lorenzen, who finished the 2009 NFL season on the practice squad of the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

The honorary coaches for the other team will be the tri-captains of the 2004 Huskies, who earned UConn’s first-ever bowl bid – a win in the Motor City Bowl. They are: quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who just completed his fifth NFL season and is currently a member of the Houston Texans; linebacker Alfred Fincher, who played for the New Orleans Saints from 2005-07; and offensive guard Ryan Krug, who made the New England Patriots practice squad in 2005.

Brown was UConn’s first-ever First Team All-American in its Football Bowl Subdivision history. He led the country in rushing in 2008 at 160.23 yards per game and was named the BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He is UConn’s all-time leading rusher with 3,800 yards.

In the spring of 2009, he became the first Husky to be selected in the First Round of the NFL Draft as the Colts picked him 27th overall. In his rookie season, he rushed for 281 yards with three touchdowns as he helped lead the Colts to the AFC Championship.

Lorenzen was a two-year starter at quarterback for the Huskies in 2007 and ’08 and led the team to bowl appearances in both seasons. He threw for 3,236 yards during his UConn career. Following his senior season, he signed a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars and later was signed to the practice squad of the Saints as a tight end.

Orlovsky led UConn in passing from 2001-04 as he played right away as a true freshman. The Shelton, Conn., native helped lead UConn during its initial days as a Division I-A program, which cumulated in his senior season of 2004, when the Huskies played their first season as a BIG EAST Conference member and defeated Toledo in the Motor City Bowl.

Orlovsky is UConn’s all-time leading career passer with 10,706 yards and 84 touchdowns. He was selected in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions and played for that club from 2005-08 before moving on to the Texans.

Fincher made 357 tackles from 2001-04 – good for sixth on the Husky career list and also had 35.5 tackles for a loss during his career. He led the team with 140 tackles in his senior year and earned All-BIG EAST Conference honors. Fincher was selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Saints and played for them for three seasons. He played the 2008 season for the Washington Redskins and also spent time with the Detroit Lions.

Krug earned All-BIG EAST honors for the Huskies in 2004 and was a mainstay on the offensive line. He signed a free agent contract with the Patriots following his senior year and made that team’s practice squad in 2005.

The 2010 UConn Blue-White Spring Football Game kicks off at 12:00 p.m. and admission and parking are free. The parking lots will open at 9:00 a.m.