Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Practice 10 is in the books...some notes

Couple of quickie notes from today's practice:

  • Tailback D.J. Shoemate had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder today. Linebacker Andrew Opoku remains on indefinite suspension, according to Paul Pasqualoni.

  • Among those remaining out with injuries today were Shakim Phillips, Kamal Abrams, Ryan Wirth, Adam Masters and Scott McCummings.

  • Defensive back David Stephenson caught hell from defensive coordinator Don Brown for failing to make a tackle on Martin Hyppolite during a live drill. "Make the tackle or push him out of bounds!" Brown screamed with his trademark air horn shrill. Brown took a breath, then told Stevenson he needs to be a big-time tackler. Stevenson took it to heart. A couple of plays later, he crushed DeShonn Foxx after a short pass in the flat. Foxx remained on the turf face down in pain before slowly getting up and walking off. Foxx was OK, and later returned to practice. But what a hit.

  • Max DeLorenzo and Martin Hyppolite both ran the ball well today. DeLorenzo ran over a walk-on safety during one play.

  • Said Pasqualoni of backup linebacker Ryan Donohue, a transfer from Maryland, "He's going game speed all the time. He's never in practice mode."

  • Hillhouse football coach Tom Dyer, senior Rennick Brian (who'll officially join the Huskies this summer) and several other Hillhouse players took in practice today. Pasqualoni shook all their hands during practice, and New Haven native George DeLeone met with the entire group afterward. I didn't get to hear what was said, but if I know DeLeone he asked each of them where they lived and spoke glowingly to the kids of his time living in New Haven.

  • Odd play of the day: Casey Cochran threw a pass into the flat that Hyppolite didn't know was coming. It hit him square in the helmet, bounced a good 10 feet in the air and was intercepted.

  • Penn State transfer Alex Mateas has never played center before, but he's the man who will replace Moe Petrus. Pasqualoni didn't know Mateas, an Ottawa native, was new to the position but, "He acts like he's played there before." Mateas, a monster at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, is very athletic for the position, Pasqualoni said. "We feel he's so athletic there. Part of being the center is the coordination of snap, step, hit; because they have one more function as a lineman. He seems to be very natural. He has good flexibility, so each way he steps his snaps are pretty consistent."

  • Quick trivia: who was UConn's center prior to Petrus? Can't believe I forgot and had to look it up, although it seemed like Petrus had been at UConn since the Clinton administration.

  • There's still no real hint of what the coaching staff is thinking in regard to quarterback. Pasqualoni said they'll take as long as they need to, even if a decision isn't made until the day of the UMass game. My feeling, and really there's not much to base this on as no one is saying anything, is that Whitmer is the guy they want to be quarterback. In a perfect world, Casey Cochran will be redshirted, but there's no question the kid can throw, which may well get him on the field if need be this year. McCummings will have his own package again, but won't be the every down QB. Nebrich is visibly better this spring. He could always run, but seems to have a better grip of the passing game. McEntee has experience, and is in better shape physically. Would think if the season opened tomorrow, the depth chart would be Whitmer-McEntee-Nebrich, with McCummings getting his plays and Cochran the redshirt.

  • Brief scary moment when Michael Smith went down, then gripped his knee. But he shook it off and finished practice with no problems.

  • Trivia answer: Keith Gray played center -- and did it very well -- before Petrus. Have no idea why I couldn't remember that.

  • Joe D'Ambrosio says he has settled on 'Mighty' as the nickname for Joe Williams. So it is written; so it shall be done.


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