Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday notes: Last of the two-a-days

Nice early start at UConn this morning. An 8:45 a.m. practice started off beautifully, but it got hot in a hurry. Final day of two-a-days for the players. Media won't be back until Wednesday. A few notes.

  • Lots of fundamentals and reviewing the basics today. There was a scrimmage on Thursday, and yesterday was an off day. So with under two weeks until the season-opener, the coaches took the opportunity to square some things before the afternoon session.

  • No decisions on the quarterback. No surprise there. I think it will be at least a week before a decision is announced, and we might not know until the last minute. Pasqualoni acknowledged that Scott McCummings is working on some accuracy issues, and that he's impressed with how Mike Nebrich is handling himself as a true freshman.

  • Me? I still have Nebrich atop my depth chart. Both he and McCummings are mobile, and that's going to be crucial to the offense this season, but Nebrich has shown he is more capable of running the passing attack right now. UConn needs as many play makers as possible, and he's definitely a play maker.

  • Geremy Davis and Isiah Moore wore the red cross injury jerseys and spent a lot of time on the stationary bikes. So, on Saturday, there were four eligible, scholarship receivers healthy and practicing.

  • Adam Masters will play both tackle and guard, but Pasqualoni said the staff feels he might be a more natural guard than tackle. "We feel we want him to stay (at guard) and get more comfortable and aware there in fundamentals and assignments," Pasqualoni said.

  • UConn should be fine at tailback. Sure, it would be nice to have Jordan Todman and Robbie Frey back. But D.J. Shoemate has shown some speed, and Jonathan-Jean Louis seems to be pushing him most.

  • Pasqualoni was asked about Jeff Hathaway, the man who hired him in January put was pushed out the door Friday. "I would thank Jeff for all he's done for UConn football," Pasqualoni said. "This program has gone a long way in a short period of time, and what he did here is appreciated."

  • Pasqualoni said his policy on awarding scholarships to walk-ons is that if a player wins a starting job, he'll be put on scholarship. Punter Cole Wagner got one in the spring. Johnny McEntee remains a walk-on. For now.

  • Masters said a few extra pounds has done wonders for him this preseason. He spent last season playing around 288, unable to gain any weight during the season. Now at 301, he said he's been able to maintain that weight, though it's not easy. He eats eight meals a day. There's the regular breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then smaller meals like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as often as he can in between. "I'm forcing a lot of food down," he said. "I'm just eating non-stop."

  • Personally, I've been cutting back. I'm down to second breakfast, lunch, second lunch and first dinner. Makes a huge difference. My reflexes? Cat-like.

  • Nebrich took a couple of big hits, but bounced back up both times. Dwayne Gratz stuck him on an option run, and about an hour later Teddy Jennings flattened him on a play he probably shouldn't have. Jennings did help him up, then tried to play it off like he didn't mean to do it. "He just ran into me," Jennings said.

  • Kashif Moore caught a slant and turned it into a long run; D.J. Shoemate flashed breakaway speed and Nick Williams used the same 360-spin to elude Gilbert Stlouis that Michael Jackson first made famous in his Jackson 5 days.

  • Don Brown moment of the afternoon -- coaching up a student manager on proper blocking shield technique, then snatching the padded shield and doing it himself. I would not be the least bit surprised if Brown showed up in pads and a helmet for practice this afternoon.


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