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."


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