Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Pasqualoni prepares for a taste of Orange

A quick recap of the last 12 months: three winter snowstorms each dumping in excess of 24 inches, an earthquake, a hurricane, terrible flooding, an October blizzard, two separate power outages leaving most of the state in the dark for days, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! This month?...I fully expect a 50-foot Stay-Puft marshmallow man to wreak havoc on downtown Hartford.

The quick news and notes of today's media session:
  • Apparently, the Syracuse media is hyping the "Pasqualoni against his old team" angle to death. It won't get as much play in Connecticut, as it understandably means more to Syracuse. Pasqualoni isn't exactly feeding into it either. Just be prepared for a parade of Randy Edsall takes on UConn stories next season.

  • The storm on Saturday is taking its toll on the coaches, many of whom have moved their families to hotels simply to keep them warm and fed. It's added stress to a stressful job.

  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson is not on the depth chart, and it seems unlikely he'll be ready this week. We're coming up on six weeks since he injured his knee. He didn't have surgery, at least one that was made public, so you'd think he's getting close to a return. Pasqualoni said he'll be doing more work at practice this week, and he's anxious to see how he looks.

  • In the four games Wreh-Wilson has missed, opposing quarterbacks have topped 400 yards passing three times. Pitt's Tino Sunseri, who isn't exactly drawing comparisons with Dan Marino, is probably the last Big East quarterback expected to put up that kind of yardage. Pasqualoni admits the team misses Wreh-Wilson, and that the team was forced to shuffle a safety (Byron Jones) to corner, and said the reorganization has slowed the defensive development.

  • The Big East announced it will extend invitations to both football-only and all-sports members today to replenish following the recent raids. But, commissioner John Marinatto would not identify the teams. Not a good sign, there. Means he's not sure all of them will accept. For the conference's sake, better pray Boise State is one that will accept.

  • Jory Johnson said the defense is working hard to improve on the bubble screens and short passes that have destroyed UConn of late. "Those short plays have turned into 40 and 50 yard gains, and that's the most frustrating thing," Johnson said. "The secondary hasn't been giving up a lot of chunk throws or deep, down-field shots. We just haven't been good as a defense. That's unacceptable. All we have to do (on those plays) is run to the ball and get them on the ground."

  • Johnny McEntee's struggle to spark the passing game hasn't put his job in jeopardy. He'll start again Saturday. A lot of that, I suspect, is that changing to Scott McCummings would mean the whole offense would have to be overhauled. McEntee is running a pro-style base set, allowing the fullbacks and tight ends to be used as targets. McCummings excels in run packages, but his accuracy and consistency as a passer -- from what we saw during preseason training camp -- aren't his strengths at this point.

  • As for Michael Nebrich? Pasqualoni says he's getting plenty or reps in practice, and that he can fill in to run the plays designed for either McEntee or McCummings. "His preparation hasn't changed since day one, other than we've stayed with Johnny or we've put Scotty in the game," Pasqualoni said. "Mike can go in the game at any time, for Johnny or Scott. Mike's repping everything. He's doing a good job. We're not in any different mindset or approach with Mike. He's working hard." Fact is, he's not being used, and there's no real reason as to why other than the coaches feel he's third-best. Hard to believe. At some point this season, Nebrich has to get more of a chance to play.


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