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 together...to 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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MAC is not a BCS conerence

September 29, 2011 10:01 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Meant to say FBS conference. So glad they switched from that oh-so-confusing Division I-A and Division I-AA to FBS and FCS. Combined with the BCS, everything is so less muddled, now.

September 29, 2011 11:10 AM 

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