Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Edsall: "I didn't get stupid overnight."

A few notes and observations from today's media lunch (Jamaican beef patties was a poor choice. I'm already paying the price on that one)...

  • It took about five minutes before Edsall was asked if he'd like to respond to the growing number of fans who would like to see him fired. "That's a question where it doesn't matter how you answer," Edsall said. "Maybe I'm better off not answering it at all." Of course, Edsall wasn't about to do that. "People can have opinions. There's a statement I would make, but if I made it I would be in trouble. If I was Geno I could probably say it and get away with it. I think you've already heard that saying when you talk about opinions they're a lot like some other things."

  • Edsall's essential response to the questions was, "I didn't get stupid overnight. Some years you have enough pieces of the puzzle. Some years you don't. ... Sometimes you spoil people. Maybe the level of expectations was higher than the people who made those expectations know anything about ... I'm the same guy I was last year when we beat Notre Dame, South Carolina, won the Big East championship."

  • Mike Box is fine from a health standpoint. Edsall said he practiced yesterday and will practice again today. Box himself said he's fine, and that the medical staff was being cautious with him Saturday.

  • Lots of talk about leadership, and the lack of an enforcer with this UConn team. There's no Ryan Krug, Alfred Fincher or Andre Dixon, Edsall said. "We don't have the one guy who's going to grab someone by the tail," Edsall said. "It's got to be natural. You can't be someone you're not. I talked to some guys, but they were underclassmen. I want to see some guys step out of their comfort zone and not worry."

  • Edsall mentioned Will Beatty, who may well have been a mute during his time at UConn -- I've had more interesting conversations with inanimate objects. That was simply Beatty's personality. He was quiet. Very, very quiet. But he was a terror on the field, and played with a word Edsall, in an effort to keep his press conference 'G' rated, didn't want to divulge. Edsall is searching high and low for someone unafraid to light into teammates or play with a word too risque for the local news. (And the word Edsall didn't want to use was 'balls'). "How he played and blocked people all the time," Edsall said. "That was the toughness part of it. I won't use the words I used with the team to express the type of person we have to have on the field. Who is that guy? Who are those guys who are going to step up and be the enforcers?"

  • Dixon was the guy who kept last year's team together, Edsall said. "He was the biggest leader we had, and he wasn't a captain." One underclassman Edsall is looking at is Gus Cruz, a guy Edsall spoke to and who stood up and said something to the team after an offensive meeting the other day. Cruz is a true freshman offensive lineman. "In a position of leadership, or f you want to be a leader, you can't worry about ticking people off," Edsall said. "If you’re in a position of leadership, or it you want to be a leader, who can’t worry about ticking people off. I’ve said this to the team on numerous occasions -- I could care less if anybody likes me. That’s not what it’s all about. It’s about respect. That’s the same thing as a captain or player. It’s not that you want your teammates to like you, you want them to respect you.”

  • Edsall, in his own effort to lead by example and take accountability of himself, says he's been getting up at 4:15 a.m. to to the 6 a.m. workouts now. "If that's what I've got to do, that's what I've got to do."

  • Noel Devine isn't 100 percent, but "he's very close", West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said. "He's been uncharacteristically tackled in the open field. I emphasize uncharacteristically. He's just had a little trouble pivoting, shiftiness, planting. The jump cut, as we like to call it. But he's so much better now than after the LSU game."

  • West Virginia was upset by Syracuse, and UConn turned in a miserable game at Louisville. "I think of UConn like I think of us," Stewart said. "We were picked above Syracuse and UConn was picked above Louisville. Well, on paper that was kind of how it was supposed to be. But that paper lion was just a book, it's not how the game's played. I'm sure Randy Edsall and the UConn Huskies have a whole lot more respect for Louisville after the game than they did before. I know for a fact that the West Virginia Mountaineers have a whole lot more respect for Syracuse than we did before."

  • Bill Stewart seemed genuinely disappointed when his teleconference with the UConn media ended. I pictured him sitting on a wicker rocking chair with a big glass of iced tea as he happily and enthusiastically answered our questions. It was like talking with one of the Bartles and Jaymes guys. If only Stewart ended the call by saying, "And we thank you for your support."

  • Randy Edsall feels Scott Lutrus has been playing tentatively since his stinger problem (even referring specifically to the injuries as stingers....an extra 6 a.m. lap for that one?) Lutrus doesn't quite agree. "I don't think it's the injury at all," Lutrus said, explaining that he held up before hitting the quarterback on Louisville's first touchdown because he thought Froman might take off and run. "But that play is behind us."


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