Thursday, September 30, 2010

Todman, Lutrus in; Masters out

Jordan Todman and Scott Lutrus aren't on the injury report this week.

Adam Masters is out, which means Jimmy Bennett should get his first start at left tackle.

Jerome Williams Upper Extremity

Jonathon Jean-Louis Upper Extremity
Adam Masters Arm

Quick Thursday update and the picks

Injury report due out around 6 p.m. I don't expect Todman to play; Lutrus could be back. But who knows. Edsall says demoted players have practiced well this week, particularly Agbor and Dabney. He also says Zach Frazer is handling his situation just fine. He knows that, "if you're going to be a malcontent and create disruptions, it's not going to help you in the long run," Edsall said. He added he and his staff are always up front and honest when discussing these things with players, which helps with their attitudes. Scout team players of the week were Tyler Bullock (offense), Mike Osiecki (defense) and Ty-meer Brown (special teams).

Couple things about, well, nothing important...
  • The baseball champagne celebrations for clinching a playoff spot drive me insane. Especially when teams like the Yankees do it. And they'll do it again for winning the division series, the ALCS, then the World Series. Act like you've been there before. Celebrate with a few hugs, a few extra beers, maybe a nice ice cream cake from Carvel's. Then again, maybe the Yanks know they aren't getting past the ALDS, any way. Enjoy that wild card bubbly, fellas.

  • Watched four hours of "The 10th Inning" on PBS the last two days. I enjoyed the Baseball documentary, but the pseudo-intellectual commentary gets a little redundant. Ken Burns could make a Vegas bachelor party boring.

  • Prior to today, I knew exactly two things about Tony Curtis, who died Wednesday at 85 -- he was the father of Jamie Lee Curtis and b) he starred in "The Bad News Bears go to Japan", a movie so awful it rivals only "Caddyshack 2" as the most unwatchable sequel to a hilarious sports film in the history of Hollywood. I can only assume the rest of his acting resume stacked up a little better than his role as coach Marvin Lazar.

On to the picks...

Game 1: OKLAHOMA (-3.5) over Texas

Game 2: Vanderbilt (+7.5) over CONNECTICUT - Not sure if Vanderbilt should have settled on Commodores as their nickname. Their body of work is OK, but I would have gone with Temptations or Supremes.

Game 3: Wisconsin (-2) over MICHIGAN STATE -

Game 4: NORTH CAROLINA STATE (+4) over Virginia Tech - NC State soon to become known as the Raleigh Whale.

Game 5: Tulane (+17) over RUTGERS - Tom Savage spending a little too much time lying face down and motionless on the turf this season. Scarlet Knights offensive line might want to look into correcting that.

Game 6: Notre Dame (-3) over BOSTON COLLEGE - South Bend radio host apologizes for saying God punished Mark Dantonio with a heart attack for beating Notre Dame with a fake field goal in overtime. Now, he's simply wishing severe indigestion on coaches with the gall to use a trick play.

Game 7: Florida (+7.5) over ALABAMA

Game 8: IOWA (-7) over Penn State - Watched a Disney movie with my 3-year old last night called "Up". Joe Paterno actually did a nice job in his first starring role.

Game 9: Stanford (+7) over OREGON

Game 10: Florida International (+19) over PITTSBURGH - Florida residents still think FIU football is more interesting than the Rays' pennant push.

Game 11: Louisville (-4.5) over ARKANSAS STATE - Only a 4.5-point spread? I suppose. I mean, Arkansas State is no Eastern Kentucky.

Game 12: SOUTH FLORIDA (-21) over Florida Atlantic - FAU without four players, who were suspended for these flyers advertising a post-game party they were hosting at a local Country Club. The players had them distributed to tailgaters and put on car windshields in the FAU parking lot. I assume it's partly because they were only letting the ladies in free til 11:30. Amateurs. Suspensions hurt. Heard the party was off the hook, though.

Last week's results

1. B-Stew 7-8-1

2. Gary 6-9-1

Pete 6-9-1

4. Chip 5-10-1

Vinny 5-10-1

Caleb 5-10-1

7. sammy 4-11-1

ian 4-11-1

9. Govphalen 3-12-1

10. Gabe 2-13-1


1. Gary 26-21-3

2. Ian 25-22-3

Chip 25-22-3

Pete 25-22-3

5. B-Stew 24-23-3

6. Gabe 21-26-3

sammy 21-26-3

Vinny from East Haven 21-26-3

Caleb Mandrake 21-26-3

10. GovernorPhalen 18-29-3

11. Uconnbob 12-9-1

12. Walt 7-4-1

13. Rollo V. 5-6-1

14. seanO 4-6-1

15. BostonDan 3-7-1

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UConn Football Report Week 4

Don Boyle - - and I sat down and discussed the upcoming UConn football game with Vanderbilt on Saturday at Rentschler Field. On our list of topics: the change at quarterback, the in-fighting between teammates and much more. We hope you enjoy!

Also, I'm now on Twitter. Follow me at

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Here's what the arrest report says

Just got back from the UConn police department. According to the arrest report, at 12:21 a.m. this morning (Tuesday) police were dispatched to the Hilltop Apartment Complex near the area of the French Building for a reported fight in progress. After a brief investigation, it was determined that Jerome Williams and Dave Teggart were involved in the fight. Both were arrested and, charged with second degree breach of peace. Each was released on a $500 bond, and will appear in court on Oct. 12.

Edsall wasn't overly concerned, "it's the stuff kids will do", in fact sounding frustrated that the police had to be involved at all. He said he would handle it internally (from the football end). "I hope they take that aggression on the field rather that with each other," Edsall said. "They got into a spat with each other, and nowadays as we all know, whenever there's a spat, they don't just tell you to go home. You get arrested."

"When something like that happens, between themselves, and no one else was involved, they're at play. And I'll handle it. It'll be handled quite well. ... It was something very silly and very, very childish. Just say that. My brother and I used to get in fights, and you know what we did? We put the boxing gloves on, and slugged it out. You can't do that stuff nowadays. Guess what? You're going to have arguments when guys are on a team. A guy pushing, a guy doing this, whatever. Just crazy stuff that kids will do. You talk to them all the time, but they're kids. I don't like what happened, but at least there was no one else involved. No one got hurt, no black eyes. Just a cat fight."

Two players arrested

UPDATE: It was Dave Teggart and Jerome Williams.

Edsall said it would be handled internally. Handled internally.

Breach of peace. They were fighting each other. It happened at night. No one was hurt. "A cat fight," Edsall said.

We'll have to go over to get the arrest report for all the details.

Edsall on demotion's of Frazer, Lloyd

Early Tuesday notes from Edsall...

  • Mike Box is the No. 2 quarterback, Zach Frazer is third, and that's the direction UConn will go from here on out. It's not a matter of just trying to get Box more practice reps. It's a matter of productivity, and Frazer hasn't been very productive with his time. "If something happens to Cody, Mike Box is going in the game," Edsall said. He also said barring an injury, there's little chance Frazer can work his way back up to second team this week. "We don't look at who's a senior, who's a junior. It comes down to who's the best guy. The best guys will play. If we looked at it a different way, I wouldn't be fair to the team. ... We feel good with where we're at with the depth chart."

  • Edsall met with all three quarterbacks on Sunday to let them know where they stood on the depth chart. Frazer, not surprisingly, didn't agree with the change. "But he understands," Edsall said. "We told him he has to be ready to go because you never know when his number might get called again."

  • Edsall has said it before, but the decision to upgrade Sio Moore and send Greg Lloyd to the second team. The best guys are going to play, and Lloyd hasn't been productive. "It didn't look like Greg is moving real well, and he's not making the plays we thought he could make," Edsall said. "We saw him make those plays in practice, but it's a while different dynamic when you get on Broadway."

  • Edsall on Sio Moore's performance against Buffalo, "He did OK, but let's not crown him Dick Butkus yet," Edsall said. "He has some things to work on. I think Sio would tell you the same thing. He was productive, but he wasn't as efficient and exact as he needed to be."

  • Edsall says he is "pretty confident" Lutrus will play at some point this season.

  • To help with the tailback depth, Martin Hyppolite was moved back there from his linebacker experiement. He's played there before, Edsall said, unlike first-year TB J-J Louis. Anthony Sherman will also be used there if more injuries happen. Edsall wants to save Lyle McCombs redshirt, but won't hesitate to move.

.....more to come

Monday, September 27, 2010

Depth chart for Vanderbilt

Among the changes...Zach Frazer fallen off the depth chart, Mike Box now backing up Cody Endres. Erik Kuraczea returns to starting left guard, Mathiew Olivier backs him up. Lawrence Wilson starting at middle linebacker, Sio Moore at weakside. Gary Wilburn backing up Dwayne Gratz at cornerback, Gilbert Stlouis off the chart.

WR: 80 Michael Smith (Jr., 6-0, 202)
88 Gerrard Sheppard (RSo., 6-2, 209)

WR: 82 Kashif Moore (RJr., 5-9, 180)
14 Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 182)

WR: 1 Dwayne Difton (So., 5-11, 173)
83 Isiah Moore (RJr., 6-1, 190)

LT: 63 Adam Masters (RSo., 6-4, 283)
72 Jimmy Bennett (RSo., 6-8, 290)

LG: 60 Erik Kuraczea (RSo., 6-2, 324)
66 Mathieu Olivier (RSr., 6-6, 294)

C: 57 Moe Petrus (RJr., 6-2, 292)
70 Gary Bardzak (RJr., 6-3, 292)

RG: 78 Zach Hurd (RSr., 6-7, 325)
69 Steve Greene (RFr., 6-4, 309)

RT: 71 Mike Ryan (RJr., 6-5, 333)
77 Kevin Friend (RFr., 6-5, 289)

TE: 94 Ryan Griffin (RSo., 6-6, 243)
89 John Delahunt (RSo., 6-3, 244)

QB: 12 Cody Endres (RJr., 6-4, 232)
4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209)

TB: 23 Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 193)
44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203)

FB: 49 Anthony Sherman (Sr., 5-11, 240)
39 Bret Manning (Sr., 5-11, 260)


DE: 99 Kendall Reyes (RJr., 6-4, 298)
48 Trevardo Williams (So., 6-1, 225)

DT: 59 Shamar Stephen (RFr., 6-5, 300)
53 Ryan Wirth (RSo., 6-2, 272)

DT: 4 Twyon Martin (RJr., 6-2, 292)
54 Alex Polito (RSr., 6-6, 280)

DE: 91 Jesse Joseph (So., 6-3, 255)
98 Ted Jennings (RSo., 6-5, 247)

SLB:* 32 Scott Lutrus (RSr., 6-3, 245)
28 Jory Johnson (RSo., 6-1, 227)

MLB: 8 Lawrence Wilson (RSr., 6-1, 226)
95 Greg Lloyd (Sr., 6-2, 259)

WLB: 46 Sio Moore (RSo., 6-1, 230)
55 Jerome Williams (RSo., 5-11, 233)

CB: 5 Blidi Wreh-Wilson (RSo., 6-0, 191)
29 Taylor Mack (Fr., 5-9, 170)

S: 15 Jerome Junior (RSo., 6-1, 215)
25 Harris Agbor (RJr., 5-11, 183)

S: 7 Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 181)
19 Kijuan Dabney (Jr., 6-1, 192)

CB: 24 Dwayne Gratz (RSo., 6-0, 187)
21 Gary Wilburn (RJr., 5-11, 195)
* Commonly referred to as the “Husky” linebacker

P: 86 Cole Wagner (RFr., 6-2, 198)
13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

K: 38 Dave Teggart (RJr., 6-0, 207) OR
13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

LS: 93 Derek Chard (Sr., 6-3, 237)
67 Adam Mueller (Fr., 6-1, 208)

H: 13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)
4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209)

KR: 7 Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 181)
44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203)

PR: 29 Taylor Mack (Fr., 5-9, 170)
14 Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 18

Sio Moore honored

Sio Moore, making his first start Saturday, was named Big East defensive player of the week for his 16 tackles and an interception against Buffalo.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Moving on from Buffalo

A few notes from the teleconference with Edsall Sunday.
  • Game balls to Robbie Frey (offense), Jerome Junior (defense) and Anthony Sherman (special teams).
  • Edsall would have liked to see the offensive line play a little more physically at times.
  • Sio Moore has been backing up Lawrence Wilson at the 'will' linebacker, but played his way into a starting role. But, Edsall said, those were the teams two best linebackers, and the decision was made to move Sio to the middle in place of Greg Lloyd. "It was no more than that," Edsall said. "You get into those nickel situations, and you had Lawrence play the 'mike' before, and Sio in there. And we looked at it, we said we would be better off playing our base defense before. That's the way we decided to go. We have our best 11 on the field that way."
  • Edsall sidestepped a question about Lloyd and whether he may have lost a step after his knee surgery. "Right now, he's a backup middle linebacker," Edsall said. "We have the two best guys we have to play the inside linebacker spots are Lawrence Wilson and Sio Moore."
  • The Jonathan-Jean Louis position merry-go-around continues. He has been moved from tailback to outside linebacker. There are some other personnel changes Edsall said he wants to discuss on Tuesday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Post-Buffalo notes

Your postgame notes:
  • Edsall said the decision to remove Frazer with Endres was a "gut feeling". He could see what was (or wasn't) happening with the offense and noticed "how people are responding to certain things," Edsall said. "You also look at the field position we had and weren't doing anything with it. A lot of times it's a gut feeling, and I think I've been doing this a long time and have a pretty good gut; and understand the ebb and flow of a game. I just felt it was time and necessary."

  • Endres will be the starting quarterback from here on out, Edsall confirmed. "I have a lot of faith in myself and in my game," Endres said. "I didn't feel rusty all week. I'm pretty confident in myself."

  • Said Edsall of Endres, "I think the ball was coming out a little bit quicker. I don't know if the guys were working harder, or there was more energy. But I think the reads were more decisive and the balls were coming out quicker. He's got to keep improving, and don't hold the ball. That's the big thing with him. If it's not there, throw it away."

  • Frazer was requested for the post-game interviews, but Edsall vetoed that. "It's my decision," Edsall said. "Blame me. He's not going to come in here and speak."

  • Edsall blistered the Huskies in the locker room after a brutal first half. Apparently, it was a Hall of Fame-worthy tirade. "I can't tell you what I said," Edsall said, in complete seriousness. "Really. If I have to do what I did at halftime today any more, I'm not going to be living much longer. I told them afterward men, if I have to do that again, it's a shame. It really is."

  • Said Sio Moore of Edsall's rant, "You could see the passion in his eyes. He needed to bring some 'E' out of us. When you see coach that fired up, you can't help but get fired up yourself."

  • It's more than better accuracy with Endres. The players respond to him better they do with Frazer. Edsall said it, the players said it. "Cody is one of those guys, some guys have the ability to rally guys and create an influence on people." Said receiver Michael Smith, "When Cody is in the zone, his ball has more zip and is very catchable....Cody always has fun when he's out there. That brings out the best in guys. He's always calm."

  • Endres was third on the depth chart, taking one rep compared to two for Mike Box and four for Frazer right up until Wednesday. Midway through practice, Box took a sack in a 2-minute drill and Edsall went to Endres, who promptly marched the team upfield. The choice was made to make him the No. 2 quarterback on the spot. It also solidified, in Edsall's mind, that Endres was game-ready. "I knew in my mind if things weren't going good," Edsall said. "As a coach you have to make the tough decisions. I made it, thank goodness it worked out. Thank goodness Cody came in and did what he did. I'm not sure we could have gotten done what we got done if I didn't make that switch."

  • Among the other moves made Saturday: Robbie Frey will handle the bulk of tailback carries as long as Todman as out. He was banged up in practice, but had full clearance to play, Edsall said, which is why he originally was slated only for special teams duty. When Shoemate stalled, Edsall went to Frey, who got the job done with 112 yards on 13 carries.

  • Sio Moore was elevated to starting middle linebacker ahead of Greg Lloyd mid-week, and he came through with 16 tackles and an interception. Mike Lang and Jerome Junior are now the starting safeties. "What you saw out there defensively is the way we're going to go," Edsall said.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Todman, Lutrus are out

Jordan Todman (arm) and Scott Lutrus (upper extremity) are out for Saturday's game against Buffalo.

Also, Zach Hurd is probable with a leg injury.

Todman, according to multiple sources, had his left arm in a long metal brace Thursday.

Todman's health and the weekly picks

No real updates out of the Thursday call with Edsall. We know Jordan Todman injured his elbow Saturday, but we don't know his status. Edsall wouldn't even say whether he (or Lutrus, for that matter) has practiced this week. I suspect there's a good chance Todman doesn't play Saturday. We'll know more at 6 p.m. tonight.

Of course, listening to Edsall, you could interpret it as if Todman wasn't even injured last week at Temple. "We'll do what we have to do to win the game," Edsall said. "It was more of a physical game for him, he took some shots we haven't seen him take. Credit Temple. They were running to the ball extremely well. But we'll do what we have to do. If we need to spell him, we'll spell him. But I think he came out of the game body-wise in pretty good shape. He took some shots to the body, and he's not any more worse for wear." Edsall also said UConn has a plan to address the "what if's", when specifically asked what happens at running back if Todman is unable to go.

Edsall also hinted he's made up his mind on the depth chart, specifically with regard to the return of Cody Endres and Erik Kuraczea this week. "I've made a decision, we still have to see what happens today (at practice)," said Edsall, who also mentions he thinks the two suspended players shook off the rust of 30 days with no practice well. We'll know.....Saturday, of course.

On to the picks...short and sweet this week. I'm writing Dave Solomon's Sunday column this week, so I'm pressed for time; and also trying to save some snarky material for the print edition. But I've thrown in some extra games as a bonus.

Game 1: BOSTON COLLEGE (+4) over Virginia Tech - They still playing football at BC? Thought it was just hockey only there.

Game 2: PENN STATE (-14) over Temple - Al Golden and Joe Paterno share game day coaching wardrobe secrets. Look for Al to break out the black cleats this week. Those white sneakers with that a shirt and tie are a big fashion faux pa (at least according to the always fashionable Mrs. Chip)

Game 3: North Carolina State (+8) over GEORGIA TECH
Game 4: Buffalo (+20) over CONNECTICUT
Game 5: Oklahoma (-14) over CINCINNATI
Game 6: ARKANSAS (+7.5) over Alabama
Game 7: BOISE STATE (-17) over Oregon State - The best way to beat Boise State (according to the warped brain trust at Oregon State)? Spend $8,000 to paint your own practice field blue! There's money wisely spent.
Game 8: Stanford (-5) over NOTRE DAME
Game 9: ARIZONA (-7) over California
Game 10: TEXAS (-16) over California-Los Angeles (also known as UCLA)
Game 11: AUBURN (-3) over South Carolina
Game 12: LSU (-9.5) over West Virginia
Game 13: North Carolina (-2) over RUTGERS
Game 14: Oregon (-12) over ARIZONA STATE
Game 15: SOUTH FLORIDA (-27) over Western Kentucky
Game 16: SYRACUSE (-35) over Colgate: Syracuse played Maine last week, and follows up with Colgate on Saturday. Can't wait for next week's game against the Broome County Truck Driving and Tractor Combine Training Academy.
Last week's contest results
1. Ian 9-2-1
Gary 9-2-1
3. B-Stew 8-3-1
4. Walt 7-4-1
5. Chip 6-5-1
Pete 6-5-1
Vinny 6-5-1
Caleb 6-5-1
9. Gabe 5-6-1
Rollo 5-6-1
11. Sammy 4-7-1
12. GovPhalen 3-8-1
1. Ian 21-11-2
2. Chip 20-12-2
Gary 20-12-2
4. Gabe 19-13-2
Pete 19-13-2
6. sammy 17-15-2
B-Stew 17-15-2
8. Vinny from East Haven 16-16-2
Caleb Mandrake 16-16-2
10. GovernorPhalen 15-17-2
11. Uconnbob 12-9-1
12. Walt 7-4-1
13. Rollo V. 5-6-1
14. seanO 4-6-1
15. BostonDan 3-7-1

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Podcast: Huskies pick up pieces, prep for Buffalo

This week, Don Boyle of and I discuss the Temple loss, the UConn quarterback situation and the return of Cody Endres and Erik Kuraczea. We hear from Zach Frazer, Endres and Kuraczea.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kuraczea: "I'm pissed. I just want my spot back".

Had a chance to speak with Erik Kuraczea. He says he lost 12 pounds during his suspension, and is down to 312. That's a good thing. Edsall had been looking for him to drop a few more pounds. He also says he's going to be playing with some added intensity.

"I'm playing with a fire under my belt," Kuraczea said. "I'm pissed. I just want to get my spot back. I didn't really get a chance to in camp. I was playing with the 2's the whole way. I'm just going to come out and work hard."

Kuraczea said he is upset with himself and "the stupid decisions I've been making". He said "it's definitely a wake-up call. I can't screw up any more. I'm already in the dog house, well, now I'm out. But if I mess up any more, who knows what's going to happen? I'm just going to go out there, do my thing, do my thing in school, and see where it goes."

Endres, Frazer speak about playing quarterback

Spoke to a few players. Here's some more from today.
  • Zach Frazer is confident he'll remain the UConn quarterback, and says his attitude isn't changing with the return of Cody Endres from suspension. "There's always the pressure of another guy coming in," Frazer said. "I'm confident in myself, and I'm not going to let that happen. It's my senior year, and I worked hard for this. I'm not about to let it slip away."

  • Will having Endres back help Frazer? "I mean, he's back," Frazer said. "There's always competition. Mike Box was competing for the spot too. It's never yours. I'm not worried at all. I'm going to play the way I played to get into this position."

  • I asked Frazer about his film session after the Temple game, and he said it reaffirmed what he felt had happened during the game. In other words, he knew he was making mistakes as they happened, including misreads of the defense. "It will help me correct what I saw on the field," Frazer said. "You can learn from it. I'm not going to make the same mistake twice."

  • Endres knows he made a mistake, and regrets whatever it was he did to get suspended. He also said his frustrations about being the backup "had nothing to do with the suspension." He could obviously could transfer somewhere else and be the starter, but he said he is invested at UConn and committed to the program. "I think we have something special here," Endres said. "Going into this year there were a lot of big expectations, and I think we can still full those expectations. We haven't started Big East play yet and a Big East championship is not a long shot, it's something we are striving to do. I think we can do it."

  • Endres said he was disappointed at not winning the starter's job last season, and felt strongly enough about it to seek out Edsall to discuss the situation. "The fire's always been there to be the No. 1 quarterback. "I was extremely disappointed when I wasn't given the chance going into the spring last year. I've done everything I possibly could do aside from this little misstep here. I think I can help this team. I asked him why going into the spring last year, and he said it was a gut decision. I respect coach Edsall immensely, and you have to go with what he says. I was disappointed with it, but I'm doing everything possible to get back out there and help."

  • Endres said he spent the month off working five days a week with one of the UConn coaches, and considers himself in peak physical condition. He kept his arm loose by throwing three to four times per week, occasionally getting Isiah Moore to run routes for him. He also recruited Erik Kuraczea, though he admits Kuraczea was a little slower getting through a route than the UConn receivers, so he just ran the top of the routes.

  • Frazer hasn't thrown any interceptions this season, but Edsall said he'd like to see him take some more chances. "We've talked to him about hey, go out and throw the ball, don't be so cautious about not throwing interceptions," Edsall said. "He's not throwing the interceptions, but he has to be more accurate with some of the plays we have. ... I don't want him to be John Wayne. I don't want him to John Wayne it out there and letting it fly. We've seen when that happens. There's a happy medium. He's been here long enough to know what has to happen to go out and play with the poise and confidence and decisiveness that we've seen him play with before."

Early Tuesday notes from Edsall

A few early notes from today's press conference with coach Edsall...plenty of good stuff. Check back later today for more, including player interviews.
  • One more change to the depth chart. Dwayne Difton has passed Isiah Moore, and will start at wide receiver against Buffalo.

  • Cody Endres and Erik Kuraczea are off suspension, and back on the depth chart. They were allowed to work out with the strength and conditioning coaches during the suspension on their own, but all team functions (weight sessions, meetings, practices) were off limits. "They can stay in top physical shape (on suspension), but there's also football shape. We'll see what kind of football shape they're in." Edsall said Endres looked "rusty" throwing the ball in Sunday's no-pads practice.

  • Asked if Endres worked out with any of the receivers on his own over the last month, Edsall hinted it was unlikely, at least with any of the starters. "I don't think they were too concerned with helping Cody after he did what he did," Edsall said.

  • Listening to Edsall, I expect Frazer will start against Buffalo. "There were throws that could have been better," Edsall said. "It's not mechanics. It's just reads and making the throws." Unless Endres really wows at practice this week, Frazer is still the guy.

  • The decision to take Todman off kickoff returns was made because Edsall wants to spare him more hits. ."He's too valuable to have out there on kickoffs. Plus, we have confidence in Mike Lang. I just felt it was prudent to take him off that and not expose him to unnecessary hits to his body."

  • Edsall wasn't happy with his player's quotes following the Temple loss, particularly with regard to being demoralized after the Todman fumble that resulted in the go-ahead touchdown. "Demoralized? There's still time on the clock to score another touchdown," Edsall said. "That's bull crap. That's a cop-out."

More to come soon...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Depth chart for Buffalo released

UConn depth chart vs. Buffalo. The change at quarterback is Cody Endres now a co-backup to Michael Box. Expect Edsall to say everyone will be evaluated during the week, and things may change.

Also, Jerome Junior back as starter in front of Harris Agbor at safety. Erik Kuraczea returns to backup guard behind Mathieu Olivier. And note the Kendall Reyes to DE and Shamar Stepehn to starting DT that Edsall said would happen Sunday. Jordan Todman is no longer returning kicks -- his left arm might have something to do with that. Mike Lang is taking Todman's place along Robbie Frey.

Here's the full chart...

> > 2 0 1 0 U C o n n F o o t b a l l
WR: 80 Michael Smith (Jr., 6-0, 202)
88 Gerrard Sheppard (RSo., 6-2, 209)

WR: 82 Kashif Moore (RJr., 5-9, 180)
14 Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 182)

WR: 83 Isiah Moore (RJr., 6-1, 190)
1 Dwayne Difton (So., 5-11, 173)

LT: 63 Adam Masters (RSo., 6-4, 283)
72 Jimmy Bennett (RSo., 6-8, 290)

LG: 66 Mathieu Olivier (RSr., 6-6, 294)
60 Erik Kuraczea (RSo., 6-2, 324)

C: 57 Moe Petrus (RJr., 6-2, 292)
70 Gary Bardzak (RJr., 6-3, 292)

RG: 78 Zach Hurd (RSr., 6-7, 325)
69 Steve Greene (RFr., 6-4, 309)

RT: 71 Mike Ryan (RJr., 6-5, 333)
77 Kevin Friend (RFr., 6-5, 289)

TE: 94 Ryan Griffin (RSo., 6-6, 243)
89 John Delahunt (RSo., 6-3, 244)

QB: 10 Zach Frazer (RSr., 6-4, 231)
4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209) OR
12 Cody Endres (RJr., 6-4, 232)

TB: 23 Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 193)
44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203) OR
24 D.J. Shoemate (Jr., 5-11, 218)

FB: 49 Anthony Sherman (Sr., 5-11, 240)
39 Bret Manning (Sr., 5-11, 260)

DE: 99 Kendall Reyes (RJr., 6-4, 298)
48 Trevardo Williams (So., 6-1, 225)

DT: 59 Shamar Stephen (RFr., 6-5, 300)
53 Ryan Wirth (RSo., 6-2, 272)

DT: 4 Twyon Martin (RJr., 6-2, 292)
54 Alex Polito (RSr., 6-6, 280)

DE: 91 Jesse Joseph (So., 6-3, 255)
98 Ted Jennings (RSo., 6-5, 247)

SLB:* 32 Scott Lutrus (RSr., 6-3, 245)
28 Jory Johnson (RSo., 6-1, 227)

MLB: 95 Greg Lloyd (Sr., 6-2, 259)
55 Jerome Williams (RSo., 5-11, 233)

WLB: 8 Lawrence Wilson (RSr., 6-1, 226)
46 Sio Moore (RSo., 6-1, 230)

CB: 5 Blidi Wreh-Wilson (RSo., 6-0, 191)
29 Taylor Mack (Fr., 5-9, 170)

S: 15 Jerome Junior (RSo., 6-1, 215)
25 Harris Agbor (RJr., 5-11, 183)

S: 19 Kijuan Dabney (Jr., 6-1, 192)
7 Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 181)

CB: 24 Dwayne Gratz (RSo., 6-0, 187)
2 Gilbert Stlouis (Fr., 5-11, 182)

* Commonly referred to as the “Husky” linebacker

P: 86 Cole Wagner (RFr., 6-2, 198)
13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

K: 38 Dave Teggart (RJr., 6-0, 207)
13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

LS: 93 Derek Chard (Sr., 6-3, 237)
67 Adam Mueller (Fr., 6-1, 208)

H: 13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)
4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209)

KR: 7 Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 181)
44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203)

PR: 29 Taylor Mack (Fr., 5-9, 170)
14 Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 182)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Change coming at quarterback?

From today's teleconference with Randy Edsall...

  • The passing game is being reevaluated, and changes could be on the way. "The depth chart will be different," Edsall said. "You'll see that on Tuesday." Does that mean Frazer is out as the starting quarterback? Maybe. Edsall wouldn't be specific, but it sounds as if the idea is being kicked around. "We're running the ball well," Edsall said. "What we've got to do is get more production in the passing game. Whichever quarterback can give us that production, and make the right reads, and deliver the ball on time, not throw the interceptions...We should be more productive in the passing game than what we are."

  • Edsall was definitely more down on the quarterback play then the wide receivers. "We could have been much more productive in the passing game yesterday if we just made the correct reads, and put the ball where it should have been thrown," Edsall said. "Every week we're constantly evaluating the guys, and if there are moves to be made, we're going to do it. The receivers, what they have to do is run the precise routes and when the ball comes their way secure the ball and make the catch. They're only half of the equation when it comes to the passing game."

  • If there is a change at starting quarterback, it will be Box. I don't expect Cody Endres, coming out of the dog house, to be inserted into the starter's role after missing a month due to suspension. Of course, the change on the depth chart Edsall mentions may simply be Endres to No. 2, either alone or as an 'OR' with Box. But there's no doubt that Edsall is disappointed with Frazer's performance.

  • The changes we saw Saturday on the defensive line will be permanent. Kendall Reyes slid down to defensive end, with Shamar Stephen in at tackle. Twyon Martin and Jesse Joseph remain at the other tackle and end. Trevardo Williams will play at end in passing situations. "We've got the best combination we could have in terms of the defensive line," Edsall said. "This team is still a work in progress when you look at some things, but one thing I feel good about, I thought Shamar did well, and Kendall did well there on the end. That's the direction we're going to go. Those are our four best on the defensive line. We feel good about it as a defensive staff."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sorting through a bad loss

Not pretty. UConn self-destructed in the final 9 minutes and lost to a MAC team for the first time in eight years. Some good stuff from players in the post-game interviews.

  • Jordan Todman injured his elbow when he got his legs cut out from underneath near the sidelines, and came down hard as he tried to brace his fall. He said he was hurting, but wouldn't use that as an excuse for the key fumble. "Hurt, not hurt, my job is to hold onto the ball," Todman said. "I apologize to my team and all the Connecticut fans for that mistake."

  • Todman didn't fumble so much as have the ball yanked out of his hands. Edsall said it's noble for Todman to fight for every yard, but in that situation, with so many tacklers on you, it's better to go down. Not so simple, Todman said. "It got to the point where I was trying to get down, but it was hard," Todman said. "When there's two or three guys on you, you're trying to go down but they're holding you up."

  • No question Todman was hurt pretty badly. His arm was wrapped and taped tight, but at times you could see his arm was just hanging limply. "It wasn't as mobile as I wanted it to be, and there's not as much strength. But I'm not using that as an excuse." Speaking from my own experiences...seeing Todman falling the way he did, with that much force, often causes cracks of the radial head. I'm not saying Todman has a fracture, but it wouldn't surprise me.

  • Edsall spoke of a lack of execution and making plays, and said he didn't think his team was overconfident or lacking intensity. His players didn't necessarily agree. "We just didn't show up, I don't know what it was," defensive end Jesse Joseph said. "We played a good first half, we just didn't keep the momentum. Defense, offense, special teams too." Joseph said the fumble was a big play, but he could sense the team going downhill from a morale standpoint well before that. "We were going downhill, we weren't doing our jobs," Joseph said. "(The fumble) played a part. We're a lot better than we've played, everyone knows that. The team knows it. We have to come out hard. You can't let these games get away like that."

  • Senior linebacker Greg Lloyd said UConn lost its focus. "I don't know exactly when it happened," Lloyd said. "But you could definitely see it. People weren't listening as much, people weren't being as crisp in their assignments. Clearly disheartening. But as defense, we have to buck up and do what we have to do. We didn't get it done."

  • Lloyd also felt the defense was on the field too much. "We definitely should have been off the field more as a defense," Lloyd said. "(There were a lot of) Like 3-and-outs, out on the field, did our jobs, did our responsibility and then done." Still, Lloyd said, the defense should have continued to get the job done "no matter what the situation."

  • Said Lloyd of the second half surge by Temple, "They came out with the mentality to get after it and we didn't match the intensity." He also said he's concerned about where the Huskies are mentally as a team. "Most definitely," Lloyd said. "We have to be a 60 minute team. We can't play a decent first half then completely fall apart in the second half. Until we have a solid stream of being consistent for the entire have to play 60 minutes. Anything less, you can't win a game."

  • UConn, down 11 points, caught a break when Temple fumbled a punt deep in its own territory (Mike Lang recovered). UConn moved nine yards and faced 4th and 1.5 yards from the Owls 21. Edsall decided not to go for it there, choosing a 38 yard field goal that Dave Teggart missed. "You need two scores," Edsall said. "You think your guy can make that field goal. You miss it, you've got no chance. The thing about it is, I was looking to give ourselves the opportunity to live another down, another series. ... We weren't having a whole lot of success there making short yardage plays in the second half."

  • The passing game struggled mightily. Is it Zach Frazer? Is it the receivers? More likely, it's a combination of both. It was a problem in 2008. It was a problem last season until Marcus Easley came from nowhere to establish himself as one of the top big-play threats in the Big East. And it's a problem right now. "We'll evaluate," Edsall said. "If we need to make changes, we'll make changes." Cody Endres comes off suspension this week, but it's unlikely he'll be anything higher than No. 3 at QB. Perhaps Mike Box gets an extended look, though unlikely. Is there another Marcus Easley hiding somewhere on the bench?

Pre-game from Philly

Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love. I was in town early enough this morning to take a quick stroll around UPenn and, of course, run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum like Rocky Balboa.

Saw more than a few UConn fans tailgating in the parking lots here at Lincoln Financial Field. It's a beautiful day for football. Perhaps the fans are going to get as much tailgating in as possible because as of now, an hour before kickoff, there isn't a soul inside the stadium. Literally. Aside from the players warming up and security guys, there isn't a single fan in the stadium.

We knew Scott Lutrus was out. He was the lone member of the injury report. Looks like everyone else, as far as I can tell, is out there in uniform.

Check back for notes throughout the day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lutrus out for Temple

Scott Lutrus is out again this week. He's the only player on the injury list.

The picks, week 3

The Thursday conference call is over. No word on injuries, we'll have that around 6 p.m. Edsall said the scout team players of the week were Gus Cruz (offense), Tim Wilman (defense) and Malik Generett (special teams). UConn is 15-1 against the MAC since elevating to Division I-A full-time in 2002, which is impressive (bonus to anyone who can name that loss without looking it up)...Edsall said it's nothing more than what he preaches to the team daily -- being consistent in everything they do. I guess beating the tar out of the MAC is born out of that philosophy. Also, Edsall said he hopes to re-issue Jasper Howard's No. 6 to a defensive back next season, but only one who "is worthy of that and I feel can be the kind of player Jazz was."

On to the picks. Be warned. The vending machine here in the office just spit out two packages of M&Ms for the price of one. So I'm feeling kinda lucky...

Game 1: Maryland (+10) over WEST VIRGINIA - The league's lone ranked team needs furious rally to beat Marshall (are they still coached by Matthew McConaughey?) 'Eers didn't do much to disprove cause for national Big East bashing the past two weeks. Need to cover here to save a little face.

Game 2: Arkansas (+2.5) over GEORGIA - Razorbacks kickoff returner needed emergency surgery after suffering a perforated colon. Just typing that made me shudder. Apparently, it was caused by the ball after a big initial hit into the player's abdomen. At least the ball didn't cause the damage the hard way (think the Seinfeld episode with Fusilli Jerry and the proctologist known as the Assman). Tough visuals. Let's just move on...

Game 3: Connecticut (-6) over TEMPLE - Owls were robbed of a victory in 2007 at UConn, then saw the Huskies escape in a monsoon the next season. Al Golden says it's ancient history. Sort of like how Cubs fans have moved on from the Bartman incident.

Game 4: Nebraska (-3) over WASHINGTON - Not buying the Jake Locker/Heisman talk.

Game 5: OREGON STATE (-19.5) over Louisville - James and Jacquizz Rodgers are the difference. Think James is angry his parents didn't give him a cool name, too?

Game 6: AUBURN (+7) over Clemson

Game 7: Texas (-3) over TEXAS TECH - Texas Tech running back Baron Batch (not a stage name. I checked) writes a weekly column for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. This week, he gave fans 10 rules for proper trash talking. They include:

3. Don't use a barrage of obscenities — it shows lack of intelligence.
Are you listening, every football coach in America?

4. Trash talk is part of college football so have fun with it.
It's true. Back in the 1870s, Walter Camp wrote trash-talking into his original rules for American football.

6. Be annoying but not an idiot.
Unless you're a born idiot

8. Don't throw things (unless it's hundred dollar bills — OK, I'm joking).
Save those for the strip club after the game

10. Be confident when you talk trash or it makes you look sheepish and cowardly.
So speak up, nerds!
Game 8: Notre Dame (+3) over MICHIGAN STATE - This week, Joe Montana goes to a preschool to debunk the myths of Santa Claus and Dora the Explorer. So Rudy wasn't completely factual. No kidding. Hey Joe, they occasionally take a few liberties in the movies. Ever see Miracle, the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team? Like a bunch of college kids could really beat the Soviets. Only in Hollywood!

Game 9: ARIZONA (+1.5) over Iowa - The Wildcats get me pumped up for big things every year, only to letdown. Not this time.

Game 10: Houston (-3) over UCLA - Two constants in college football. 1) Houston running up scores and stats in a blatant attempt to steal a Heisman for an undeserving quarterback; and 2) UCLA will be stunningly mediocre and nondescript.

Game 11: SYRACUSE (-22) over Maine - Not sure if I'm more surprised that Vegas actually has a line for this game, or that's it's just 22 points. (I didn't have to make that spread up, like I usually do for I-AA games).

Game 12: YALE (-10) over Georgetown - Another season of Eli football gets underway at the Yale Bowl. Can you feel the static?

Last week's results
1. Governorphalen: 9-2
Pete 9-2
Gabe 9-2
4. Chip 8-3
sammy 8-3
Uconnbob 8-3
7. ian 7-4
8. gary 6-5
9. vinny 5-6
10. caleb 4-7
11. Bstew 2-9

And the updated standings
1. Chip 14-7-1
Gabe 14-7-1
3. sammy 13-8-1
Pete 13-8-1
5. Ian 12-9-1
Uconnbob 12-9-1
governorphalen 12-9-1
8. Gary 11-10-1
9. vinny 10-11-1
caleb mandrake 10-11-1
11. B-Stew 9-12-1
12. seanO 4-6-1
13. BostonDan 3-7-1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another podcast

Don Boyle of and I discuss UConn's upcoming game with Temple, New Haven's James Nixon and possible expansion in the Big East, with sound bytes from Randy Edsall and Temple coach Al Golden.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting ready for Temple: some Tuesday notes

Another Tuesday luncheon in the books. I'm a little queasy right now. Fish two weeks in a row might have been a bad choice. But I'm fighting through...

  • Temple has become a sort of de facto rivalry, at least for the fans. There was the "no catch" on the double-reverse call in 2007, where officials ruled Temple's receiver out of the end zone on what would have been the winning TD. And who could forget UConn's overtime win played in what was left of Hurricane Hannah in Philadelphia two years ago. Temple's marketing team certainly had some fun with the games a few years back, but coach Al Golden isn't quite feeling it. "None of those games matter. Maybe they're story lines or sound bytes for you guys," Golden said. "But we're a different team; they're a different team then they were at the end of last year. We've never won a bowl game. We've never gone into South Bend and beat them. We've never beaten someone from the SEC, or had those kinds of wins. None of the games prior will have any impact on this game, and our kids understand that."

  • Edsall said the Huskies played with a good sense of urgency last week, which for some baffling reason wasn't quite there for the opener at Michigan. He expects it to be there once again for Temple. "We're not a good enough football team to just show up and play," Edsall said. "You see James Madison beating Virginia Tech, (North Dakota State) beating Kansas and (South Dakota) beating Minnesota. If you don't give respect to your opponent every week, all you're doing is setting yourself up to be unsuccessful."

  • Bernard Pierce, who had an outstanding freshman season with 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns, is off to a slow start. The blocking hasn't been up to standards, Golden said, and Pierce suffered a hand injury last week that limited him to 10 carries.

  • The wide receivers as a group have been inconsistent, but Dwayne Difton is getting better. "He's showed more the last couple of weeks, and we won't hesitate to use him more," Edsall said. Part of that comes from Difton maturing as a person. "It's not fair to put some of the hype on these kids as they come out of high school," Edsall said. "The way some kids are catered to in high school, they're allowed to get away with certain things. You come to a program like this, you wont' be catered to."

  • Villanova would be a great fit into the Big East, Edsall said, if the school decides it can handle the financial commitments to make the upgrade. It's tough for schools in cities with an NFL franchise. "Take a look in Boston, BC," Edsall said. "I coached at BC, and we were fifth on the hit parade because of all the pro sports there. The NFL is so popular, it's hard to find an NFL city where the college team is outdoing the pro team." Still, you have to wonder if Temple might be an option if Villanova turns down it's standing invitation.

  • Lawrence Wilson has been able to avoid injuries during his time at UConn, and that's likely due more to him being lucky, Edsall said.

  • Expect Cody Endres and Erik Kuraczea to come off their indefinite suspensions next week. Edsall was asked to comment on their situation, and whether they would be back this week. He said he no, but would have a comment next week.

  • Scott Lutrus is still listed as the starting "Husky" linebacker, but there won't be any update on his situation until Thursday. "We haven't practiced this week," Edsall said. "On Thursday, I'll know more."

  • Gary Wilburn is out as punt returner. Nick Williams and Leon Kinnard are now 1-2 on the depth chart. Wilburn's fumble was coupled with some other mistakes, which sparked the change.

  • Al Golden has had success recruiting in Connecticut, and the state has played a role in helping him turn a dismal Temple program around over the last five years. James Nixon of New Haven and Elisha and Elijah Joseph of Hartford are on the roster this season. Golden is perplexed as to why Connecticut isn't more of a recruiting hotbed. "It's odd to me," Golden said. "I don't know why other coaches don't recruit there more. You get a lot of kids out of New Hampshire, Maine, UMass and other CAA schools that are good enough to get to the NFL, and I think a lot of these guys are in that mix. They might not be Notre Dame recruits, but certainly Randy's winning with a lot of these kids and we're winning with the kids we've gotten out of there."

  • Speaking of local connections at Temple, consider 27-year old special teams coordinator Sean Desai of Shelton. Talk about someone with drive and ambition, check out his resume from the Temple media guide. Desai didn't play football in college. But, somehow, he managed to serve as Shelton High's freshman football wide receivers coach and defensive coordinator while getting degrees in philosophy and political science from Boston University. And he graduated in only three years. He stayed on assisting with Shelton's freshmen while getting his master's from Columbia in 2005. Then, it was on to Temple where he was a graduate extern for academics in his spare time while he finished up a doctorate in educational administration. When Dr. Desai completed his studies in 2008, he became a graduate assistant for defense on the coaching staff in 2009 before a promotion to special teams coordinator this fall. Oh yeah, he's also an adjunct professor who teaches graduate and doctorate level courses in educational administration. I'm beginning to feel a tad inferior...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Following up on a 59-point win

Brief teleconference today; not a ton to discuss after a game like that.
  • Jordan Todman got an offensive game ball; Lawrence Wilson on defense and Anthony Sherman on special teams.
  • Jory Johnson's performance didn't grade out well with Edsall. "I thought he was very inconsistent and didn't play as well as he needed to," Edsall said. "He made a couple of mistakes that I didn't think a guy whose played before should make, so he has a lot of work to do."
  • Michael Box seemed comfortable in his first appearance as a UConn quarterback, but there were some mistakes Edsall pointed out -- namely, taking a sack that took the Huskies out of field goal position and missing a wide open receiver. "He took a sack in the red zone which hopefully he'll learn from that now that he has the experience," Edsall said. "But that was very disappointing to me, that he didn't understand the down and distance situation there. And he had a chance for a touchdown pass if he just made the correct read. He threw the ball to Dwayne (Difton) when he should have thrown the ball to Nick (Williams) who was wide open down the middle, but he didn't do what his coach told him to. He's got ability. But with regards to your first game you want to see those guys go out and perform to a level even though they haven't been there."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

UConn beats up on the little guy

I think the image just about sums up how Texas Southern feels right about now. It's also a nice visual in case anyone feels like delivering a textbook Atomic Wedgie later this evening. Here's a few postgame notes from today's bloodletting...

  • Kendall Reyes left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Edsall had no comment. Stunning, I know. The first team defense would have had the entire second half off, but they only played 24 snaps in the first half. That wasn't enough work, Edsall said.

  • Some teams stumble against FCS opponents (looking at you, Virginia Tech. And Minnesota. And Akron. That's just from the early games today). But not UConn. The Huskies thrive in these games. Since 2005, UConn's average margin of victory is 49.5 to 3.8 in winning all six games against FCS/Division I-AA teams.

  • Jasper Howard's girlfriend, Daneisha Freeman, and baby daughter Ja'Miya, along with Howard's mother, stepfather and sisters were in attendance today. After the game, Freeman and the baby visited with the Huskies in the locker room.

  • Scott Lutrus' absence allowed Sio Moore to see his first action at linebacker this season, getting time in the nickel package right away. He showed some of his enormous potential, registering six tackles, two for losses and his first career sack.

  • For a while, it looked like Texas Southern might have more yards in penalties than total offense. The Tigers finished with 77 yards on 11 penalties, and would up with 151 yards of total offense thanks to a second-half that was mostly mop-up. "They got penetration a lot," TSU coach Johnnie Cole said. "We like to run that outside zone play a lot. No. 8 (Lawrence Wilson)...he can play. He was all over the place. He made tackle after tackle and made a big difference."

  • Not a lot to complain about for Edsall today, there were a couple of special teams things like kickoffs going out of bounds and some defensive mistakes. He admitted the level of competition had a lot to do with UConn's dominance. But he said the team stayed focused and played hard for 60 minutes. Seeing players go hard after an unexpected fumble is one hint a team is locked in, and such was the case.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hey you! Listen to my podcast. Got it?

In addition to the chats, blog and newspaper coverage, I'll now be doing a weekly podcast on UConn football with Don Boyle of, a 20-year broadcasting vet with experience in radio and TV. The plan is to do a 10-minute broadcast every Wednesday, including interviews with players or Randy Edsall.

The first one is up now. Have a listen. Any and all suggestions welcome (could use a catchy name, for instance). We have a few wrinkles planned for the future as we iron some things out. Look for it every Wednesday.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Lutrus, Jean-Louis are out

Linebacker Scott Lutrus (upper extremity) and reserve tailback Jonathan Jean-Louis (torso) are listed as out on the UConn injury report for Texas Southern.

Jory Johnson is expected to get the start at "Husky" linebacker.

The picks, week 2

Don't expect much news to come out of the Thursday conference calls with the new UConn injury policy. We'll get the updated injury list later this afternoon. But aside from the scout team players of the week (Tebucky Jones on offense, Chris Lopes on defense, Mike Osiecki on special teams), there's little to report.

Edsall said the intensity in practice was better on Tuesday and Wednesday then they were last week. That's odd considering last week the team was prepping for Michigan and this week it's a tiny Division I-AA school, but that's what a disappointing performance will do.

The situation will dictate who gets carries as the backup tailback to Jordan Todman, but D.J. Shoemate is doing just fine after his crucial fumble last week, according to Edsall. We also found out that Taylor Mack was the only other true freshman that played (Leon Kinnard the other) last week. He is on kickoff return coverage, though his name didn't appear on the official "participated" list.

On to the weekly picks...

Game 1: SOUTH CAROLINA (-3) over Georgia (+3) - Georgia's A.J. Green suspended by NCAA four games for selling one of his old jerseys. Yet the Georgia bookstore's website has 23 different versions of Green's No. 8 jersey for sale, some as high as $150. Everyone is making money off A.J. Green except A.J. Green.

Game 2: FLORIDA (-16) over South Florida - Bulls go from playing Stony Brook last week to a trip to the Swamp this week. Sort of like going from playing the local county fair to Carnegie Hall.
Game 3: Louisiana State (-10) over VANDERBILT

Game 4: Florida State (+7.5) over OKLAHOMA

Game 5: Michigan (+4) over NOTRE DAME - Is this the year Michigan and Notre Dame return to top 20 mainstays?

Game 6: WASHINGTON (-13.5) over Syracuse - An all-ugly uniform battle. Orange won't get second straight win. But they will get some good Seattle coffee.

Game 7: Penn State (+12) over ALABAMA - Hard to ignore the Joe Paterno-Bear Bryant parallels, and not necessarily in a morbid way. Yes, Paterno is still coaching at 83 1/2 because he thinks he's going to die a few weeks after he retires like Bryant. But the series with some terrific moments is being renewed after a 20-year hiatus. Bryant was 4-0 against Paterno, and the two first met in 1959 when Paterno was an assistant for the Nittany Lions.

Game 8: FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (+19) over Rutgers - Norfolk State. FIU. Tulane in two weeks. Army after that. Another blistering non-conference schedule for Rutgers.

Game 9: CONNECTICUT (-35) over Texas Southern - Expect lots of work from the Huskies' second string against the visiting Armadillos. I mean Tigers.

Game 10: New Hampshire (+21) over PITTSBURGH - I always love the I-AA vs. I-A games (well, at least the good I-AA teams) as I maintain there's not much difference aside from depth. A high percentage of I-AA starters could easily be playing up a level, and many could be starting. Since UNH is traditionally one of the better I-AA programs in the country, they could have the firepower to pull an upset. Probably won't happen, but it could be a very close game.

Game 11: University of New Haven (-7) over LINCOLN (PA.) - Two UNH's in one week? And I'm taking both? Ryan Osiecki, older brother of UConn freshman linebacker Mike Osiecki, thriving as the Chargers quarterback.

Last week's results/standings
1. B-Stew 7-3-1
2. Chip 6-4-1
caleb 6-4-1
4. Ian 5-5-1
Gabe 5-5-1
sammy 5-5-1
vinny 5-5-1
gary 5-5-1
9. pete 4-6-1
seanO 4-6-1
Uconnbob 4-6-1
12. BostonDan 3-7-1
govphalen 3-7-1

Thursday chat

Just a reminder there will be a live chat today at 2 p.m. at

Here's a replay of the chat from today...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Read the blog. Leave the cannoli.

Just got hit with the overwhelming need to share this little nugget of information. recently added a new statistics feature. It's fairly fascinating. Bloggers can track things like how many hits they receive every day and from what cities, states or countries their readers are accessing the blog. Apparently, I'm a big hit in Russia. (in Soviet Union, blog reads you!)

There's also a "traffic source" function that tells you what specific keyword searches led readers to your blog. Most days, the majority come from searches like "ramblings from the runway", "uconn football blog" and, for some reason, "john c. reilly". But, at least today, I'm getting hits from the phrase "fat italian".

I know I've put on a couple of pounds, but is it that noticeable? At any rate, it warms my heart knowing millions of Internet users in the market for fat Italians will be sent to the Runway.

Va'fa Napoli!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Everything you need to know about Texas State (err..Texas Southern) and more Tuesday notes

Here's a little more from the Tuesday luncheon (cod Francoise, roasted potatoes, sauteed spinach...impressive menu and execution by the chef, all that was missing was a snobby waiter and a bill for $400)...

  • Harris Agbor's development was hindered by a partially torn lateral collateral ligament last fall (or, according to UConn's new injury policy, a leg injury), but he was able to get in a little time on special teams. He earned the starting job this preseason with hard work, he said. "It was one of the goals I wanted, and I knew I could do it," Agbor said. "For my first start, I think I was a little shaky at the beginning. But once I settled down, I made the proper reads, played physical. I think I played a solid game. I feel bad about some of the mistakes I made, but looking at film I know what I need to do now."

  • Kendall Reyes is pretty pissed off about the way the defense played on Saturday. He said Edsall rightly ripped every single player for the performance against Michigan. "We got beat up," Reyes said. "I have a big chip on my shoulder right now. I'm embarrassed. There's no way you can't be disappointed after what happened to us, and if you're not disappointed then something's wrong with you. We have a lot to prove to ourselves." Reyes, one of four captains, said he's taking it upon himself to be sure the defense has a great week of practice. "I'm going to give it all I have this week. I hope people will follow."

  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson wore a purple Washington football T-shirt to interview with media. I assume it's OK since they aren't on the schedule (though Edsall might have something to say if he watches any of the local TV sports reports this week). At least it wasn't a Michigan shirt. That just might be cause for concern.

  • Texas Southern lost its season-opener to Prairie View 16-14. It's not as bad as it sounds. Prairie View isn't the same team that lost 80 straight games from 1989-98. They won the SWAC last season, and the teams are expected to fight for the crown this season. So, be excited, UConn fans. One of the SWAC elite is on its way to the Runway. And all that means is UConn will win 49-0 instead of 59-0.

  • Texas Southern, alma mater of Michael Strahan, is loaded with Division I-A transfers. The quarterback used to play at Iowa. I'd provide more specifics, but Texas Southern has yet to send game notes or any useful information to UConn as of this afternoon. But coach Johnnie Cole was pretty good on the conference call. He said while it's great to get those transfers, they're usually coming to his school with baggage (attitude or off-field problems, not luggage). "I'm a disciplinarian," Cole said. "When those guys get here, they're young and immature. It takes some time to get through those discipline issues. Now, we can just play football."

  • Cole added his ultimate goal is to get Texas Southern to elevate its program to Division I-A status. He said he has a lot of questions for Randy Edsall about how to get that done. Asking Michael Strahan to dip into his bank account is a good place to start the fundraising.

  • Texas Southern was added to the slate at the last minute when Northeastern dropped its program at the conclusion of the 2009 season. With little time to find an opponent, it so happened TSU had an open date the same week and a game was quickly scheduled. The Huskies will continue to schedule I-AA opponents as long as the NCAA continues to count them toward bowl-eligibility (but only one a year is allowed).

  • What kind of offense does Texas Southern run? The HOBO, of course. Stands for High Octane, Big Play Offense. And yes, it should be HOBPO, not HOBO. But the Armadillos don't have time to slow down and produce accurate acronyms. You see, it's all about the high octane. Hobo! (Thanks to Neill Ostrout of the Connecticut Post for finding that on the TSU website).

  • Over-under on the number of Texas Southern/Texas State "Necessary Roughness" jokes I'll make this week? 15. Number of readers to be lost in obscure references of a movie released 19 years ago? All of them. I don't care. I owe it to coach Ed "Straight Arrow" Genarro.

  • My son began going to a new daycare last week. I momentarily forgot and began driving to his old babysitter's house. As I sped past the new preschool, my son, from his car seat, informed me I missed the turn (I believe his exact words were 'where'd school go?'). Good to know a 2-year old has a better sense of direction than mine.

That's it for now. My torso is kind of sore. Better get some ice and call the trainer.

Edsall to fans: just say no to that last drink

Some early notes from Edsall's press conference on Tuesday....

  • Edsall made his plea to fans to arrive early and stay to the end. Michigan Stadium was packed -- 113,000 strong -- before kickoff, and remained that way until the end. "That's a football environment," Edsall said. "Get there early, stay to the end win, lose or draw. It's not trying to get another drink before you go in (to the stadium). Maybe someone should have last call in the parking lot. I hope the place is packed and the fans are cheering (when the team comes out of the tunnel). It's disappointing when it isn't that way, to be honest."

  • Edsall spent the first five minutes of practice going over the new policy on injuries. In a nutshell, the conference announced players who are out for the year or have pending surgery on Monday. The school will released another list on Thursday, after that day's practice, for that week's game. Only five body parts will be used to describe the injury (leg, arm, upper extremity, head and torso). Edsall won't have to comment on any injuries for the entire season.

  • Alex Polito moves up to backup defensive tackle, replacing Ryan Wirth. Also, Cole Wagner is now the No. 1 punter, though that was determined prior to the Michigan game.

  • Frazer had done a good job during the preseason of putting better touch on his passes, and Edsall felt he did that better mostly at Michigan. But there were instances where he threw too hard, and that affected his accuracy. Maybe the wind was a factor, Edsall says. "Maybe he tried to grip it too hard, and that can make the ball a little wobbly," Edsall said.

  • UConn lost the battle in the trenches against Michigan, but Edsall isn't overly concerned. "We went up against a very good offensive line that just handed it to us," Edsall said. "Our guys didn't play up to their capabilities. We have to play better and make more plays on both sides of the line."

Off to chat with some player. Update in about an hour.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Central Florida added to schedule for 2014, 2015

Our old pal, Leigh Torbin, now the SID at Central Florida, has passed along some news. Looks like UConn and UCF will play a two-game series starting in 2014. First game is at Rentschler in 2014, and the Huskies head to Central Florida the next season.

Could it be the precursor for a future Big East rivalry?

From the UCF release...

Also coming onto the UCF schedule are two-game home-and-home series against schools from the BIG EAST and SEC with the Knights facing Connecticut and South Carolina.

The Knights will first travel to UConn in 2014, with the Huskies coming to Orlando in 2015.

So, here's what the UConn future schedule calendar looks like now.

Sept. 3: vs. Fordham
Sept. 10: at Vanderbilt
Sept. 17: vs. Iowa State
Sept. 24: at Buffalo
Oct. 1: vs. Western Michigan

Aug. 30: vs. UMass
Sept. 8: vs. North Carolina State
Sept. 15: at Maryland
Sept. 22: at Western Michigan
Sept 29: vs. Buffalo

Aug. 31: vs. Towson
Sept. 7: vs. Maryland
Sept. 14: at Buffalo
Sept. 21: vs. Michigan
Sept. 28: vs. Temple

Sept. 13: vs. Central Florida

Sept. 19: at Central Florida
Sept. 26: vs. Tennessee

Sept. 3: at Tennessee
Sept. 16: vs. Virginia

Sept. 16: at Virginia

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pre-Michigan notes and week 1 of picks

No word on injuries this week until the official UConn release, expected between 6 and 7 p.m. That's the new policy. Edsall will be mum on the weekly Thursday update call.

Edsall said six true freshmen will travel to Michigan: Leon Kinnard, Gilbert Stlouis, Taylor Mack, Yawin Smallwood, Byron Jones and Reuben Frank. The three who aren't on the depth chart (Smallwood, Jones and Frank) likely won't play, and the hope is to redshirt them.

Scout team players of the week were J-J Louis on offense, Smallwood on defense and Brandon Steg on special teams.

Practice today in 95 degree heat once again before the team charter leaves at 2 p.m. from Bradley for Ann Arbor. Some rain expected, but no delays anticipated as it will likely beat the heavy stuff from Hurricane Earl.

On to the picks...

After much debate, I decided to run the picks contest again this year. Feel free to post your own in the comments section. I'll even keep weekly stats and offer up the blog for the day as prize for whoever gets the most right at the end of the season. Someone even took me up on it last year.

Game 1: Purdue (+11) over NOTRE DAME - Notre Dame successfully lobbied NBC to change its policy on commercial breaks to accommodate Brian Kelly's new no-huddle offense. Why didn't Joe Moorehead think of that? Oh, yeah. He would have been laughed out of a job.

Game 2: Connecticut (+3) over MICHIGAN - Rich Rodriguez spent much of the week talking about what a great program UConn has become, and how difficult an opponent the Huskies will be on Saturday. It may be true. But for the sake of Rich-Rod's job security, let's hope the Michigan boosters and administration buys it. I don't think they will.

Game 3: Kentucky (-3) over LOUISVILLE - After six seasons stomping opponents into piles of their own innards at Florida, new Louisville coach Charlie Strong might feel a little like Charlie Brown this season.

Game 4: Syracuse (-9) over AKRON - Tough call. We know Syracuse doesn't like to win by too much. The Orange know a losing team has feelings, too.

Game 5: Oregon State (+13.5) over TEXAS CHRISTIAN - Oregon State always a slow starter, but I think they'll hang close enough to cover.

Game 6: LSU (-5) over North Carolina - Butch Davis has Chapel Hill looking more and more like the "U" every day.

Game 7: Cincinnati (+2.5) over FRESNO STATE

Game 8: WEST VIRGINIA (-38) over Coastal Carolina - This spread holds as long as Noel Devine stays away from shellfish the night before the game. Then, it might dip to 37.5.

Game 9: SOUTH FLORIDA (-40) over Stony Brook - The post-Jim Leavitt era begins. In his honor, I will speak no more than two words at a time today. I also put my head through a car windshield to pump myself up for this blog entry.

Game 10: KANSAS STATE (-1.5) over Ucla -

Game 11: VIRGINIA TECH (+2) over Boise State - Too much national championship hype surrounding Boise. It'll end after one week.