Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Media Day in Newport recap

It's information overload here at the Big East's annual Media Day at the swanky Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I. Here's a few notes and observations from the morning.

  • Paul Pasqualoni says he has no idea who the starting quarterback will be for UConn right now, but it's one of the first things he needs to figure out. Of course, he relayed a story from his Syracuse days when he was in a similar situation. On a hunch, and at the last minute, he decided the right guy was Donovan McNabb. "He took every snap for the next four years," Pasqualoni said, adding he didn't know how long it might take to name UConn's quarterback this preseason but that "We're prepared to go the distance. We want to get it right."

  • Prior to the 2007 season, UConn brought in Tyler Lorenzen from a California junior college to help at quarterback. Pasqualoni said he never really considered that option in part because, "There was no one out there we could go after", also adding that he likes the group competing for the job.

  • Other priority issues to sort out this preseason are on the interior offensive line and at tailback. Pasqualoni did say D.J. Shoemate would handle the load at tailback, Lyle McCombs as the guy who would spell him.

  • Kashif Moore wore his diamond-studded Big East championship ring, which was only slightly smaller than the size of his entire fist. He says he's worn it a few times since receiving it in April. "I just need to keep it away from my dad, because he'll keep it for himself," Moore joked.

  • TCU, the defending Rose Bowl champion, will play at Rentschler Field next season. Nick Carparelli, the associate commissioner of the Big East, said TCU will play road games at the schools that only have three conference home games next fall. That includes the Huskies. It's also up to the individual schools that already have a full slate of five non-conference games schedules to dump one so TCU can be squeezed into the schedule.

  • John Marinatto, the Big East commissioner, said "12-to-15 teams" were considered for the expansion spot that went to TCU. He wouldn't go into specifics, partly because the conference will remain in discussions with many of those programs as it moves forward. He did say Villanova is still very much in the picture, though it will have to find a home stadium to gain entry. "There's no timeline in place (for Villanova)," Marinatto said, adding that the conference would like to have its plan set by September 2012 when goes into negotiations for a new TV deal.

  • There's also a scenario for a Big East championship game being considered, and Marinatto has targeted Yankee Stadium as a possible destination. "To be in New York City during the Christmas season for a championship game?" Marinatto said. "How exciting would that be?"

  • Louisville was the lone school without players at the event. Weather problems stranded them at the airport.

  • Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, recalling his days as an assistant coach at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, said it was one of the more enjoyable experiences in his 20 years as a football coach. "If my career had stopped there, I would have been very happy," Marrone said. "And that's not meant to take away from my career goals or ambition. But I had a great time there."

  • The Big East decided to follow the model of other conference media days and allow the coaches time at the podium before going to their individual tables to answer questions. The idea didn't translate very well, at least to those who suffered through the various recruiting propaganda and basic roster information most coaches rambled on about. It took well over an hour to get through all eight coaches, whose times at the microphone ranged from Marrone's efficient 2 minutes, 59 seconds to Pasqualoni's 10:37. (Times courtesy of Joe D'Ambrosio's cell phone). The conference should have had someone cuing up music, like the Academy Awards, to speed things along.

  • Joe D also made the astute observation that new Pitt coach Todd Graham looks a little like Alec Baldwin. Perhaps. But there's little question that new West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is the spitting image of Phil Collins, circa 1985. Just get him a Hawaiian shirt and cue up "Sussudio".

That's it for now. First practice session is Friday, and the media will make its debut on Saturday evening at 5:30.


Anonymous Vinny from East Haven said...

I doubt very much that Coach P has anyone on this roster who could even hold the jock of any of the Syracuse QB candidates back then. With no QB, a tailback with a propensity for coughing up the ball, and doubts on the interior offensive line, I wonder if this team was designed after the San Diego Padres: built NOT to score. Throw in the inevitable malaise that the returning players will have after squeaking out a much-ballyhooed yet (in reality) flawed conference championship, and the season s probably already being tossed up as a loser.
Look for the rest of the Big East to put these over-hyped, over-rated, and over-confident Huskies in their place.

August 05, 2011 3:43 PM 

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