Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wrapping up Big East media day

I managed to survive my first Big East football media day. Judging by the fact that I probably wrote twice as much as my boss was expecting from me I'd say it was a productive event.

Starting with the UConn side of things, head coach Paul Pasqualoni said that freshman quarterback Casey Cochran should be getting the cast off his left hand around Aug. 24. Pasqualoni said he has not seen the cast which became necessary when the former Masuk High star fell off his bike so he is not sure how much he will be impacted when practice starts later this week.
Tailback Lyle McCombs, the only sophomore among the 31 Big East players at media day, said he's really been impressed with the leadership of the offensive linemen.
Senior cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson had the best line about whether UConn, picked sixth in the preseason poll, can make a run at a Big East title.

"We've done it before and we can do it again," Wreh-Wilson said.

I thought it was interesting that McCombs was reluctant to announce any individual goals he has for the upcoming season but senior defensive end Trevardo Williams took a different approach saying he is shooting for "15 or 16 sacks" as a senior.

Senior tight end Ryan Griffin hails from Londonderry, N.H., a town I lived in for six years when I was a kid. One of my neighbors were the Griffins so I asked him if he was related to a Rita Griffin and he said that name did not ring a bell. That would have been proof that it was a small world if he was related to one of those Griffins.

Louisville was picked to win the league which is something that was of little concern to Cardinals' head coach Charlie Strong.

"It doesn't matter," Strong said. "We've been picked last, we've been picked seventh and now we've been picked first. It doesn't matter and I don't pay attention to it. We have a great young football team, a lot of starters returning so we have a good team coming back and it is just how well we are going to work together."

Louisville received 24 of the 28 first-place votes. The other four went to South Florida, which was picked to finish second. The always quotable Skip Holtz, a former UConn head coach, put it in perspective since his Bulls finished tied with Syracuse for last place in the 2011 standings.

"I think it shows that there is probably not another league where a last-place team could receive four first-place votes the following year," Holtz said. "I think it just goes to show you the respect they have for these four young men and the seniors that we have coming back but I also thinks it shows just how close the difference is between winning and losing in this league. We (the Big East) might not have that high, high team that has been there over the last four years but we don't have that perennial doormat either. Every year this league is extremely competitive and I think everybody is looking back at what is coming back and just how close we were a year ago. We are four plays away from being 9-3. The difference between winning and losing is that close."

Naturally much of the attention was not on the teams present but the uncertain future of the Big East so interim commissioner Joe Bailey and Senior Associate Commissioner Nick Carparelli garnered plenty of attention from the assembled media. Carparelli said that a commissioner should be named by the end of August.

They preached optimism and believe that the Big East could still be a major player down the road something that others question especially with West Virginia now in the Big 12 and the ACC welcoming Pittsburgh and Syracuse in 2013.
"We are working on any or all options on our champions," Bailey said. "There are going to be years when we compete for semifinal spots, there are going to be years when we are in the top 10 and there are going to be other years when we have to make sure they have a great place to play."

Carparelli, a Cheshire native, said that the makeup of the two divisions beginning in 2013 was debated when the conference held meetings on Monday in Newport and also Carparelli said it's too early to count out the Big East in terms of being a player when the Bowl Championship Subdivision heads to a four-team playoff.

"In print and in television there are people have been critical of the Big East and pessimistic about our future," Carparelli said. "I will remind you that we are barely three months into a process than won't go into effect until 2 1/2 years from now. It is premature to evaluate our position in the 2014 season today. Major details of the new format are not yet been decided."

I was unable to get a note on former Cheshire High football coach Steve Addazio, now the coach at Temple, into tomorrow's paper but I had to push it back for space purposes. I will pass on a couple of quotes.

First was a classic line from Strong, who coached with the fiery Addazio at Florida after Addazio acted like he was ready to get into a three-point stance when he addressed the media.

"You heard him a while ago, my man needed some decaf," Strong said with a laugh.

Finally, I asked Addazio for his thoughts on the departure of his former assistant coach Mark Ecke as the head coach at Cheshire High after Ecke resigned under pressure after he was accused of causing a scene at a lacrosse game his son was playing at.

"This is a business and it is a business of change," Addazio said. "You have to learn how to adapt and you have to learn how to overcome. Mark is a tough guy and he will do that. We've all had our rises and our drops and that is a part of the business. Mark will come back. He is a good football coach and a great person. He'll keep working and it will all work out."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home