Thursday, September 29, 2011

Martin Hyppolite practicing, other Thursday notes

Not too much from Paul Pasqualoni's Thursday conference call.

  • No injuries or depth chart changes.

  • Martin Hyppolite is practicing, and has confidence in his knee, but Pasqualoni says it's too early to say whether or not he'll play. Hard to believe he'll be used this week. It takes time to get back into game shape, and used to game speed. Pasqualoni wouldn't say much about his running backs. Lyle McCombs has been the featured back, the question is where does D.J. Shoemate fit in, if at all? "We'd like to have balance," Pasqualoni said. "We sure would. At the end of the day, it's who's hot?"

  • Johnny McEntee will start at quarterback, but we knew that. Stop me if you've heard this one before, but all three will be ready if needed.
Last night was a great night for baseball. As a Yankees fan, I'm not about to rub it in about the Red Sox. But enough with comparing this collapse to 1978, at least from a fan's perspective. "This is what it felt like in '78...The Sawx are CHO-KAHS!" Come on. In 1978, it had been a full 60 years since the Red Sox had won a title. There was every reason to believe in curses. Now? Boston hasn't made the playoffs the last two years, but its still won two of the last eight World Series. No need to whine, though I think most Sox fans would rather wallow in their misery.

I actually watched more of the Red Sox game than the Yankees last night for the first time in my life -- even missed the entire Tampa Bay comeback. Couple observations. Papelbon always stuck me as a phony, and his postgame interview from Tuesday's big save kind of confirmed that. He mentioned how, "if you looked at my face, I was smiling a little. I love those situations", or something to that effect. Yeah, you looked like a regular Slappy White out there. Wonder if he thought he was smiling last night, too. Also, not a routine play by any means, but a pretty half-hearted effort by Carl Crawford on Andino's single. Be decisive in what you're going to do.

Finally, Sox fans should be pumped about Ryan Lavarnway. I covered him a few times when he was at Yale, and followed his progress through the minors. With his ability to hit for power and average, his greatly improved catching skills (he was an outfielder, and only switched to catcher for his last two seasons at Yale) and his smarts, the kid has a chance to be a great player in Boston for the next 15 years.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

UConn notes: George DeLeone on the offense and Johnny Mac

Some news and notes from today's media session.

  • As Paul Pasqualoni said Sunday, Johnny McEntee has put himself in position to be the every down quarterback. Even though the depth chart still doesn't reflect it, all indications are McEntee will be the guy from here on out. Count offensive coordinator George DeLeone among those in McEntee's corner. DeLeone was fired up talking about him today. "Here's a kid whose a walk-on, never played, never did anything, just a walk-on kind of hanging around. All of a sudden he's the starting quarterback. Next thing you know, he has two tough outings. Now, the son of a gun could have shriveled up, taken his ball and gone home. But he worked his tail off in practice last week in practice. I could see it in his eyes. It was different. He was focused, and it resulted in a better outing. Whether he can start stringing a few of those be continued, as they say. But that's what has to happen or else it's going to become more and more difficult to run this offense."

  • DeLeone said it was a bunch of missed opportunities in the passing game against Iowa State that led to Buffalo devising a defensive game plan with the sole intention of stopping UConn's run game. Buffalo had 10 men in the box on some sets. "All we did by missing those passes is encourage people to do what (Buffalo) did," DeLeon said, still fired up. "We have to be more productive in the pass game to have us respect the pass game more. No. 2, our offensive line has to play better. They know it, we know it, everyone knows it. They have to play better. And they're playing OK. I'm not being critical. But they have to play great. No. 3, we've got to be more creative and try to find unique ways to run the ball into these run-committed defensive structures. It's a combination of those three things."

  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson will be out a couple of weeks with a knee sprain. Gary Wilburn, whom Pasqualoni called perhaps the best athlete on the team, will finally get his chance to show his stuff. Wilburn, who earned 11 varsity letters in football and basketball in high school, is thrilled for the opportunity. "I've been waiting a long time," Wilburn said. "No one's happy that Blidi is out. He's a great player. But for me, it's an opportunity to show what I can do as well."

  • Tailback Martin Hyppolite is cleared to return to full participation in practice, and will enter the mix at tailback. D.J. Shoemate hasn't been 100 percent, Pasqualoni said, which is why he hasn't been used much. Jerome Williams will do limited work at linebacker as he recovers from a major knee injury. Fullback Mark Hinkley rolled his ankle shortly after his first career TD catch, but will be OK for Western Michigan.

  • Western Michigan hasn't made a plane trip for a game since the 2008 season; it managed to play the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons without getting on a plane. They were also able to bus it to Michigan and Illinois for their two road games so far this fall. The MAC may be the only FBS conference left that something like this can be accomplished, and even at that it's still impressive.

  • Fairfield's Rich Nagy, a standout running back at Trinity from 1983-87, is the safeties coach for Western Michigan. His younger brother is former UConn All-American and AL All-Star pitcher Charles Nagy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

McEntee has "clearly separated himself"

UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni -- who was stuck in an elevator for an hour at the team hotel in Buffalo and arrived late to the game -- had his Sunday media teleconference, here's what he had to say.

  • Johnny McEntee has "clearly separated himself" from the pack as the quarterback. UConn went into the Buffalo game with the intent of playing McEntee in the first quarter and Michael Nebrich in the second, like always, put it was McEntee for most of the game aside from the one series for Nebrich and McCummings' set plays. "Johnny played his best game of the year," Pasqualoni said. "He was able to make some key plays in the passing game, and avoided the pass rush to make a first down with his feet. He made good decisions. He wasn't perfect. But we've got something to build off of."

  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson fell awkwardly in the first half, and didn't return with a knee injury. Pasqualoni wouldn't speculate on how long Blidi might be out until the results of his MRI.

  • Buffalo's defensive approach was to stack nine and 10 men in the box to stop the run and make UConn beat it through the air. While the Bulls limited the run game, UConn was able to make enough plays through the air to win, Nick Williams coming through both times. "Going into this, we wanted to run to take the pressure off the quarterback," Pasqualoni said. "What happened against Buffalo is we were able to get the ball out in the passing game some and hurt the D in that regard. We have to make people respect the pass. We're going to run regardless, but sometimes its hard to do that."

  • Jerome Junior served a one-game suspension Saturday, and didn't make the trip. The punishment is over, and Junior is back in the facility and in meetings today.

  • The game ball went to the entire defense for the effort Saturday.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pasqualoni like his three QBs (and seafood marinara)

A quick update from coach Pasqualoni's Thursday media session.

  • No update on where he stands at quarterback, other than the standard response that "all three will be ready to play." Coach P says Thursday practice is a bit like a dress rehearsal, and that today's practice will help finalize his decision.

  • It would seem that if there's going to be change in the current quarterback setup, the two likely scenarios would be a) more McCummings, less McEntee or b) more McCummings and Nebrich, less McEntee. Pasqualoni was asked specifically about Nebrich and what he needs to do to play more this week. "Michael has worked hard this week," he said. "I think he's gaining a better understanding of what this takes, and a Division I quarterback each week, each day as we go through this. His sense of urgency on the little things, the detail, the preparation, I see more attention to those things. I see more focus on those details, like footwork, taking care of the ball, those types of things. He's going to be ready to go when his number is called. I'm looking for him to be productive, and that's what it's going to take for him to play."

  • There are no injuries since Tuesday, and no real changes to the depth chart, Pasqualoni said.

  • D.J. Shoemate has been running well this week, and Pasqualoni said the situation with his four tailbacks (McCombs, Jean-Louis and Foxx the other three) is "healthy", and it sounds like all four could be called upon to contribute. "I can't predict who's going to be in the game when," Pasqualoni said. "But when your number is called, regardless if it's third down or first or second down, just be productive."

  • Pasqualoni, who a connoisseur of Italian restaurants, recommends Ilio DiPaolos -- an Italian wrestler turned restaurateur in Blasdell, N.Y. -- for anyone making the drive up to Buffalo. Coach P says try the shrimp and scallops with Ilio's marinara.

That call made me very hungry...thinking it might be a good day for lunch at Leon's in New Haven.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big East in trouble, but Huskies have big game at Buffalo

Some news and notes from today's media session at UConn.
  • Stop me if you've heard this before, but Paul Pasqualoni says all three quarterbacks will be ready to play Saturday at Buffalo. He remains confident in all three, which he kind of has to say, but I do believe he's sincere about. But he noted these are still new offensive concepts, and players are still learning. "It's not a system you can learn in three games," Pasqualoni said, adding that he doesn't believe sticking with one quarterback will solve any of the current problems. A decision will be made later in the week, but it's hard not to envision a scenario where Scott McCummings isn't at least more involved.

  • Jesse Joseph is back healthy from a knee injury that has kept him on the shelf for about a month. It's huge, Pasqualoni says, in that Joseph is a quality player and that Teddy Jennings was able to not only get some experience but excel with the opportunity. Look to see Joseph, Jennings and Trevardo Williams used more as a three-man rotation this week. Here's the link to today's story on Joseph.

  • Joseph is thrilled to be back -- he's spent the last four weeks rehabbing his knee and tweeting. He said he returned to full participation in practice on Sunday, and has no limitations or pain. "It's just like riding a bike," he said.
  • Pasqualoni reiterated his thoughts on Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving for the ACC, and that he feels strongly about having regional rivalries. Since he was hired in January, Pasqualoni, among other things, has seen a major donor threaten to pull his name off the team's training complex (mostly because Pasqualoni was given the job), the ouster of the athletic director who hired him and a seismic shift in the Big East that could spell the demise of the conference. Asked how he's doing through all the turmoil, Pasqualoni laughed. "I'm great," he said. "As long as I've got a game to coach, I'm great."

  • D.J. Shoemate's fumble last week was a direct result of being hurt and not getting the reps in practice -- and Pasqualoni blames himself. "What happens is his footwork is off a bit," Pasqualoni said. "At the end of the day, he runs into (fullback Mark) Hinkley and Hinkley causes the fumble." Sounds like Shoemate will still be a part of the equation at tailback along with Lyle McCombs.

  • Freshman Deshon Foxx has been added to the kick return unit, and that's because UConn would like to get the ball in his hands more.

  • Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn, asked about the challenges of preparing for three quarterbacks, laughed and said the real challenge is preparing for UConn's offensive line. "That's a big bunch of guys," he said. "Very physical."

  • It's been billed as a three-man quarterback rotation, but Michael Nebrich has been the odd-man out with very little playing time the last two weeks. Nebrich, for his part, hasn't let it get him down. "Coach Pasqualoni has his reasons for what he's doing," Nebrich said. "I support him whatever he does." Asked to comment on how the scenario has played out to this point, he said, "Pasqualoni has made his decisions, and we just have to run with it. I'd much rather him make a decision and win a game than me getting on the field and lose. Our main focus is getting back on track."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pasqualoni: Too many mistakes against Iowa State

Some comments from Pasqualoni's conference call with state media this afternoon...

  • The coach didn't offer an opinion on the apparent defections of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, saying he's so focused on his own team he hasn't paid too much attention to the recent reports.

  • The coaches were finishing their grading of the film from last night, and hadn't made a decision on where to go with the quarterback scenario. "They each did some good things, they each did things they need to do better," Pasqualoni said. "No one has separated themselves from the pack. We still have three, all of them can execute more than they did."

  • If there's anything to read between the lines with what Pasqualoni said, he did offer that McCummings was the most productive guy last night, though he can't continue to miss open receivers. McEntee "made good reads" but was "not throwing as accurately as he usually does". Pasqualoni also doesn't believe the disruption of constantly changing quarterbacks is an issue.

  • The run game struggled because there were "missed blocks and assignments". The passing game stalled because the quarterbacks "missed too many open receivers". Pasqualoni liked the shuffle of the offensive line, with Jimmy Bennett moving up to start at left tackle and Mike Ryan moving to right tackle, while Kevin Friend shifted guard slots. But "it's not easy" to go from the left to right and vice versa at tackle and guard, and there were issues with footwork and technique from Ryan and Friend that will be solved with practce and more reps.

Post-game notes from the Iowa State loss

The one thing about 8 p.m. kickoff games for media is it really creates deadline havoc. Since I couldn't do much with postgame interviews -- most of the players were repeating the same mantra about lack of execution -- I'll do what I can with this late night blog post.
  • I think everyone probably agrees, but UConn needs to end the quarterback rotation and stick with one guy. Michael Nebrich was kind of squeezed out the last two weeks anyway. But at this point, I think the Huskies would be best served using Scott McCummings out of the wildcat, as long as he shows he's capable of throwing with some consistency. If he can't make the throws yet, then go with Nebrich. Johnny McEntee was a little better this week, but 13-for-30 still isn't cutting it. He's 23-for-57 (40 percent) against average defensive units comparable to what he'll see in the Big East.
  • For his part, it sounded like Paul Pasqualoni knows he needs to pick one guy, too. He said the coaches will grade the film and make a decision tomorrow. Whether we'll know at 1 p.m., when he has his conference call with state media, is debatable. My guess is we'll find out for sure on Tuesday.
  • McCummings did a nice job moving the ball in the second half, but Pasqualoni went with McEntee for the decisive drive in the fourth quarter because they needed the best passer in there. Still, not sure why McCummings wasn't brought in for the short-yardage plays. McEntee went 0-for-3 passing there in a situation perfectly suited for McCummings.
  • Could this have been a breakout game for Isiah Moore, who had a career-best eight receptions for 143 yards? True, he had a crucial lost fumble on the first series of the third quarter that led to a big Cyclones score. But he looked like a play-maker tonight. He went up to get balls, ran precise routes and did some things after the catch. "I worked hard in practice this week, and did some film study so I knew where (Iowa State) was going to be," Moore said.
  • D.J. Shoemate, on the other hand, didn't run well and may have relegated himself back to backup duty with another fumble. He's had trouble hanging onto the ball in the past, and McCombs has clearly been more effective -- although it's been tough sledding for him since his big first quarter against Vanderbilt.
  • UConn should probably be 3-0 right now. As rough as the last two losses were, there's still real potential with this team, especially considering the Big East lacks a dominant team once again. The next two weeks loom especially large, with MAC opponents Buffalo and Western Michigan. But anything less than two wins there will likely end the bowl chances.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Iowa State pregame

The Runway is looking great for prime time on ESPN2 tonight. Saw lots of Iowa State jerseys while driving through the Rentschler parking lots. Either some folks made the trip from Ames (wonder how much that flight costs?) or there's a heavy Iowa State alumni base in Connecticut.

Teams are on the field loosening up, so no updates yet. Check the live blog feed below, which will be updated starting now through the final whistle.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lots to fix before Iowa State, but "We're in this together."

Spoke to some players and assistants, here's a little more from today.

  • Players and coaches rarely admit to reading message boards, blogs or anything else related to media. But most, if not all, are aware of what's being said, especially when there's criticism. Folks tend to be especially hard on the quarterback. It just comes with the territory. Johnny McEntee's three interceptions certainly roused some predictable opinions, the first truly negative public analysis he's had to deal with. By all accounts, McEntee took the loss hard in the post game. On Monday, he still seemed down in the dumps. Depressed would be more accurate. "The less time the better to think about it," McEntee said. "My teammates are behind me, having their support is really helping me out. Yeah, I'm just trying to forget about it and move on."

  • The coaches are tolerant because they know they have three quarterbacks with no experience. Fordham was hardly a test, so the Vanderbilt game represented the first real competition. "The quarterback probably receives too much credit when things go well and too much blame when things go bad," UConn quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead said. "That's part of the decision to play the position. I told them there's nothing we can do to change the past. We looked at the film, evaluate what we did well, analyze what we did bad and build from there

  • McEntee says he remains confident in the wake of the game and the competition, where Michael Nebrich and Scott McCummings are still very much in the game plan. "I'm pretty confident it's correctable, the physical things are correctable. A couple of the mental plays I made bad reads on are unacceptable," McEntee said. "That's what I need to worry about. ... The more and more bad things that go wrong, you think I can't keep making these mistakes but you have to try and put them in the back of your head and move on."

  • Moorhead said the plan for Vanderbilt was to start McEntee, use Nebrich for the first series of the second quarter and the coaches would evaluate at halftime what the best plan for the second half would be. (McCummings has his own packages and plays, and will be used throughout the game). "The flow of the game, and how things were unfolding, dictated for us that we wanted to keep Johnny in there for continuity sake," Moorhead said. "We're moving forward with the same approach for Iowa State."

  • Over the last three games against FBS competition (South Florida and Oklahoma last season, and the Vandy game), UConn has three defensive touchdowns, two special teams touchdowns (counting Byron Jones' blocked punt and recovery as a special teams TD) and no offensive touchdowns. The Huskies, predictably, are also 1-2 in those three games.

  • The defense and special teams units can't continue to carry the struggling offense. That's the way its been the last three games, but Sio Moore says things can change in a hurry. "You've got to do what you can, and hope that they can do theirs," Moore said. "Not even hope, believe. ... We talk to the (offensive guys). Before we're teammates, we're friends. We talk to them, keep spirits high. But at the same time they know their problems and what they have to do the same way we know what we have to do. Everybody has to make corrections, and I guarantee they'll be busting their tails at practice, same as us. ... We're in this together, offense, defense and special teams."

Tough loss behind, UConn preps for Iowa State

Some news and notes from today's media luncheon.

  • Based upon the first two games, it appears the UConn depth chart is purely for show this season. But, here's what it says this week. D.J. Shoemate and Lyle McCombs are still listed as co-starters at tailback, same for the three quarterbacks and Gary Bardzak and Steve Greene at left guard.

  • Pasqualoni said Iowa State's offensive line is impressive, and will be a real challenge for the Huskies defensive front.

  • The route-running by the wide receivers wasn't as sharp as it was in week 1. That's something the coaches have identified and will look to correct this week.

  • The quarterback situation hasn't changed, and Pasqualoni said he hasn't lost confidence in any of the three. He went with Johnny McEntee more Saturday because he had a better understanding and picture of the opposing defensive schemes, and coach Pasqualoni stuck with him for the continuity. "The mistakes Johnny made are correctable," he said. "You can see why he made some of the decisions he made."

  • As for Shoemate, Pasqualoni said he's optimistic the rest he's been given the last two weeks will pay off and he expects him to be 100 percent by Thursday. UConn would still like to use a two-back system, which makes sense considering the difference in styles between McCombs and Shoemate.

  • The wide receivers dropped some key passes, especially on third down, which didn't help the completion percentage of McEntee.

  • Pasqualoni isn't a big fan of playing on Friday nights. "Friday nights are for high school football," he said. He understands it's a TV thing, but would rather not have anyone doing it. "My heart goes out to the high school coaches."

  • Defensively, UConn gave up some big plays against Vanderbilt. They also had sacks and turnovers and created points. It's a matter of lining up correctly and avoiding the big plays. "At no level of football can you be considered a sound defense if you're giving up big plays," Pasqualoni said. "The only way to counter that is to go out and get big plays on offense. If you're going to live in the big play world, you're playing with fire."

Heading up to speak to some players now. More notes later this afternoon.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Last notes before Vanderbilt

A few quick notes from Pasqualoni's call with state media today.
  • D.J. Shoemate is close to 100 percent, and will resume his starting role once he's deemed healthy enough to play. Sounds like that will happen at Vandy. Pasqualoni said his philosophy is that "a player in our system does not lose his position because of injury. When he's 100 percent, he goes back to where he was before he was hurt." It's a fair practice. Keep in mind Shoemate and McCombs were listed as co-starters anyway, and both will get their share.

  • There's a role for Jonathan Jean-Louis at tailback, and Pasqualoni said he'll get his work in certain situations.

  • Everyone on the 2-deep released Monday is healthy, and will make the trip to Nashville.

  • The offensive line is still being sorted out as far as the rotation, but Pasqualoni mentioned he'd like to get Jimmy Bennett more time at the left tackle with Mike Ryan at right tackle "because their abilities are conducive to that". Obviously, the deeper any team is on the offensive line, with interchangeable parts that can play multiple slots, is beneficial.

  • The rain in Storrs has kept the Huskies inside most of the week. That's a concern, Pasqualoni said, because it's harder to prepare for the heat and wind and other elements of an outdoor game.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Still a three-headed QB, but for how long?

Some news and observations from the weekly Tuesday media luncheon...
  • Still a three-man race for quarterback as UConn prepares for Vanderbilt on Saturday. The snap breakdown against Fordham was McEntee with 32, Nebrich with 20 and McCummings with 14. It was the perfect scenario to get all three game experience. I would expect to see the number tilted more toward McEntee in Nashville, with McCummings' role unchanged. The real question might be how is Nebrich worked into a possible rotation.

  • All three quarterbacks will continue to prepare as if they are the starter. Pasqualoni will likely end a three-man rotation as soon as possible, and it could be this week. "As soon as it's clear, we'll go in that direction," he said when asked about picking a starter.

  • D.J. Shoemate said he's at about 90 percent with his ankle, and it sounds like he'll definitely play against Vanderbilt. He's receiving three treatments a day. It's another wait-and-see with regard to the rotation at tailback with Shoemate and Lyle McCombs.

  • On the depth chart, Gary Bardzak and Steve Greene are still listed as co-starters at left guard. Both played against Fordham. Teddy Jennings will start at defensive end in place of the injured Jesse Joseph, with B.J. McBryde now the top backup.

  • Taylor Mack is listed as the top punt returner, but Pasqualoni says both Mack and Nick Williams will get work there.

  • Quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead, in a meeting with Scott McCummings and reviewing his set plays, told McCummings he would throw a long touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin on the play action. It happened, a 55-yard strike. Moorhead wasn't perfect, though. "I think I told him it would be a 43-yarder," he said.

  • Defensive coordinator Don Brown on linebacker Sio Moore, "He's 240 pounds and can cover as well as any safety. It's kind of freakish."

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Fordham post-game notes

Some post-game notes and quotes...

  • It's still a quarterback competition, or so says Paul Pasqualoni. On Friday, he entered the quarterback meeting and informed Johnny McEntee, Scott McCummings and Michael Nebrich that all would be used today. The plan was for McEntee to play the first and third, with Nebrich the second and fourth and McCummings spotting in and out, mainly to run, throughout.

  • Nebrich wasn't so sure about the competition still being open. He thinks McEntee separated himself the pack today. "If the coaches want to play both of us, that's fine," Nebrich said. "I have to prepare like I'm going to play. Johnny played a great game, but I'm still going to push myself. I'm going to keep practicing like the competition is still open no matter what the decision is."

    • McEntee, who, by all accounts of those in the know, has had the edge in the competition for the past couple of weeks, wasn't about to proclaim the job as his. "I think we all did pretty well," he said.

    • D.J. Shoemate sprained an ankle in practice on Thursday. No one was sure how serious it was, but coaches determined he wasn't ready to go in the pregame today. Lyle McCombs found out he would get the start during stretches. He responded well, with 141 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Pasqualoni expects Shoemate to be ready this week, and it seems likely that if he's healthy he'll play against Vanderbilt.

    • How much did McCombs change the coaches' minds with his effort today? That remains to be seen. Pasqualoni said the competition will be "all the more fierce" with Shoemate, Jonathan Jean-Louis and McCombs this week.

    • McCombs had 24 carries today, numbers similar to what Jordan Todman did last season (and Donald Brown two years before that). Todman, despite a solid frame, answered questions about whether he was up to that kind of load much of the early season. McCombs, just 172 pounds, was asked the same today, and I liked his feisty answer. "What do you think?" he said. "I got banged up pretty good today, but I'm OK."

    • The changing quarterbacks had a negative effect on the overall offensive tempo. Pasqualoni said he'd like to see UConn play faster going forward. He also feels the team needs to improve on the punt return, though he was pleased with protection and kickoff return.

    • Pasqualoni has instituted a new dress code for home games. Players, who usually wore team-issue sweats to Rentschler, are required to wear dress pants and ties. Most of the guys looked like they just stepped off a yacht (or, as Spalding from Caddyshack might say, a scotch ad) with blue blazers, khakis and boat shoes. Nebrich had the "collegiate" look of a navy blue sweater vest over his dress shirt and tie, a look made famous by Boys 2 Men (or by Will Ferrell and the fraternity prior to the academic competition in "Old School"). Dave Teggart (sporting the yachting look) said punter Cole Wagner accidentally dropped $185 on a tie, not realizing what he did until checking the receipt well after the purchase.

    • How about Fordham going with the quick kick on third down? The last time that play was used in football, Vince Lombardi was still playing at Fordham. Actually, that's a lie. My high school team did it once, though it was by mistake.

    UConn-Fordham pregame

    Another season opener about to get underway at the Runway, where the new sod looks fantastic. Hope it holds up better than the old stuff, which had been brown since 2006.

    Still waiting on an official announcement on the UConn quarterback for today, but, as I've been hearing since last week, it will be Johnny McEntee. We could see all three at some point, with Michael Nebrich as the No. 2 and Scott McCummings as the No. 3.

    Also, Jesse Joseph (knee) is out and could be on the shelf for a couple of weeks. Teddy Jennings gets the start at defensive end.