Thursday, August 19, 2010

Edsall unhappy with Endres, Kuraczea

Good morning from UConn, where the 8 a.m. start time kept today's open practice a rather intimate affair. Have to love the morning practices. I can't say all members of the media are morning people, though...

On to the news of the day.
  • Indefinite suspensions were handed out to backup quarterback Cody Endres and backup offensive guard Erik Kuraczea last night. Randy Edsall won't disclose the nature of the team rules violation or how long the suspensions will last, but if history is any indicator expect it to be a game or two into the season.

  • Edsall was, as expected, annoyed with Endres and Kuraczea. He cut off a question regarding the suspensions to say, "I don't even want to talk about guys that aren't here. The only guys who mean anything to me are the guys who are out here practicing. ... The guys who aren't here, I don't even want to talk about them because I'm just wasting my breath. Obviously, they didn't feel it was in the best interest of our team to do what was right to be out here. That's all I'll say."

  • Endres was clearly behind Zach Frazer, but was still the top understudy. No one has moved into Endres' No. 2 QB spot as of now. Mike Box, Johnny McEntee and Leon Kinnard would all be considered to move up to the No. 2 spot, and the three played in a rotation at practice today (Frazer rested as did most of the starters, a routine move during two-a-days). You have to give the edge to Box at this point, with McEntee and Kinnard close behind. Kuraczea was fighting to win the job at guard from Mathieu Olivier, but this has to be considered a giant leap backward. He's been in Edsall's doghouse before. Steve Greene, Tyler Bullock and Gus Cruz are all in the mix to backup Olivier, and Edsall said center Gary Bardzak could also slide over and be considered.

  • Kijuan Dabney and Jerome Junior were on the field today, but didn't participate in contact drills. Both wore red jerseys. Jimmy Bennett appeared to hurt himself and spent time getting treatment, but Edsall wasn't concerned. Ryan Griffin has a sore leg, and Jonathan Jean-Louis hobbled off at the end of practice.

  • How much time Robbie Frey gets at tailback is still a question with all the depth UConn has at the position. But Frey has looked very good, and seems to be making his case to get on the field. He underwent two surgeries on his shoulder after he was injured last fall on a kickoff return. Frey caught a helmet to the shoulder, cracking his acromion and scapula. He had surgery to repair the bones, and another to clear up the torn labrum he had been playing with since the 2008 season. He sat out spring practice, but got into heavy lifting over the summer. Once the first tackle was in the books, he said his confidence was 100 percent. "Right now, I honestly think it's better than it was before," Frey said. "I'm excited to be back there." Frey is in line to return kicks once again.

  • Edsall wasn't very happy with the morning practice. His voice was bordering on raspy in his post-practice interview. "Too inconsistent," he said. "We need to be able to get through a whole practice without the ups and downs. we did some good things, and we leveled off during the 7-on-7s, which wasn't too good. We got a long way to go. They have to start buckling down, paying attention to detail and battling though the mental fatigue and physical fatigue you have at this time of camp (when two-a-days are more frequent). That's where you build your mental toughness and strength to get through games and be able to play in the fourth quarter."

  • A Big East officiating crew has been in town the last two days, and met with the coaches and players to go over rules and questions. Edsall said the program helps players understand that officials aren't the enemy, and that they are willing to work with them to get a true grasp of the rules and what can and can't be done on the field. A couple of the officials were the ones who worked the Notre Dame game -- infamous for the phantom holding calls against UConn that could have cost it victory. Edsall joked that some video clips were shown, and jokes flew, but it was all in good fun.

  • Had to chuckle watching a TV news reporter from Fox 61 attempt to loudly (and wrongly) berate a member of UConn's PR staff for not getting the answers he wanted with regard to the player suspensions. This news reporter (NOT one of the station's sports personalities) obviously showed up to this assignment unprepared, and left after only a few minutes. His reply when asked if he had read the press release from a day earlier? "Not the whole thing". Mind you, the press release was all of two sentences. Helpful tip: need a comment on a news story? Stick around to ask the coach.


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