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.


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