Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Media Day rundown

The annual media day in Newport, R.I. has come and gone. Sorry for the lateness of a blog. My laptop decided it needed to take roughly two hours to do anything and everything internet-related. So rather than run the risk of my throwing it through a plate glass window at the Hotel Viking, I drove back to New Haven and am posting from my home computer.

Here's a few notes after the fact:

Many of Skip Holtz’s memories of UConn revolve around the facilities – or lack thereof – back in the 1990s.
“The coaches dressed in this tiny room where if you were taking a shower and someone flushed the toilet, you’d get scalded with hot water,” Holtz said. “I had the opportunity to go back two years ago and see the facilities. They’re tremendous. To see how far the program has grown is truly incredible.”
Holtz, who left East Carolina to become head coach at South Florida in the offseason, still takes some pride in the Huskies’ success. It was during Holtz’s tenure there that UConn decided to upgrade the football program to join the Big East and build a new stadium.
“We built the little pea,” Holtz said Tuesday at Big East Media Day. “Randy (Edsall) rolled it down the hill into a big snowball. But we built that pea.”
Holtz’s connection to UConn runs deep on multiple levels. He was born in Willimantic when his father, Lou Holtz, was an assistant coach at UConn in 1964. And at age 29, he left Notre Dame, where he was offensive coordinator under his father, for his first head coaching job at UConn.
There, he guided UConn to national top 25 rankings in four of five seasons as well as its first NCAA Division I-AA playoff berth in 1998. His first season wasn’t quite as promising, at least to Holtz.
“I was 29 years old, and we went 5-6 my first season,” Holtz said. “After the season I met with Lew Perkins, who was the athletic director, and said with as many mistakes as I made this year, if I were you, I’d fire me.”
Despite UConn being on track to enter major college football, Holtz left join his father as an offensive coordinator again, this time at South Carolina .
Holtz spent the past five seasons at East Carolina , drastically improving the program there in winning 26 games over the last three years.
“People wondered why I’d leave Notre Dame for a Division I-AA program,” Holtz said. “I wanted to learn how to be a head coach, and I learned a lot at UConn. Fifteen years later, I’d like to think I’m a better head coach.”
Holtz will coach against UConn for the first time on Dec. 4 when South Florida visits Rentschler Field.


It was one of the more tumultuous off-seasons in college football history with the Big 10 and Pac-10 among the conference’s expanding membership and the Big XII narrowly avoiding extinction.
There are almost certainly more moves to come over the next few years, with the Big East both a target for other conferences and likely looking to expand itself.
But there would be no discussion of the topic at media day. During his opening remarks Tuesday, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said he asked the coaches in attendance not to discuss league expansion or realignment.


The conference will issue official injury reports for the first time this fall. Players needing surgery or suffering season-ending injuries will be announced on the league’s conference call each Monday. Schools will provide additional updates 48 hours before that week’s game, with players listed as probable, questionable, doubtful or out. … Edsall said safety Kijuan Dabney, back at the position after spending time at linebacker, has dropped over 20 pounds and moving much better. … Edsall had no update on injured defensive end Greg Lloyd, who is attempting to return from major knee surgery last November. Edsall has said Lloyd, one of the team’s top linebackers the last two seasons, will be redshirted if it appears he won’t be ready as the season-opener approaches.


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