Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mike Osiecki glad to be back at UConn; St.Louis leaving

Seymour's Mike Osiecki met with the media for the first time since he made the decision to leave preseason camp for a couple days and then return on Thursday.

Osiecki, who is currently the No. 2 fullback for UConn, said he was happy to be back in the fold and the time away proved to him that he wanted to be at UConn.

"I had some personal things I had to deal with," Osiecki said. "Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni was really good and he was there for me. I just took care of it as quick as I could and came back. I've always wanted to be here so it kind of hurt me thinking about leaving and being home but I wanted to come back as soon as I was back home.

"I feel a lot better. I had to take care of some stuff but I am all good now. It was actually really hard (the 2/3 days he missed). I really wanted to come back. I just realize  how much I love football and I love the grind. I love it. I have been picking it up day by day.

Osiecki said he went into see Pasqualoni to talk about the issues he was having when Pasqualoni encouraged him to take some time off from football.

"I'm very happy," Pasqualoni said of Osiecki's return to UConn. "Mike practiced well in the preseason and he practiced well today. We are happy that he is back.

"Sometimes it might be best for the guy to leave or football is not for them but that is not the case with Mike. I could see that and when he went home I said you are going to figure this out in a day and call me."

Osiecki said he is grateful to Pasqualoni for the way he handled the situation.

"I kind of went in and talked about what was going on," Osiecki said. "He was very understanding. It was kind of like a mutual agreement. He was there for me and I really appreciate it. I was surprised, he was really there for me and get things straight."

Osiecki also talked about his brother Ryan, a quarterback at the University of New Haven who is getting preseason accolades as one of the best QBs in Division II.

"I am really proud of him," Osiecki said. "I gave him a call last night. We talk basically every night, he is  doing good.

"He is excited about the season and they should really good."

Mike Osiecki said it isn't always easy being at a different school from Ryan but they are both handling it well.

"It is (challenging) but we keep in touch, Whenever I have a chance to see him on a bye week or he has a bye week we always keep in touch and see each other."

At the end of practice Pasqualoni reported that junior safety Gilbert St.Louis informed him of his decision to leave the program.

"I don't know exactly where he is going but I am going to grant him a release to probably any school we don't play in the next two years" Pasqualoni said. "I wouldn't release somebody to go to another I-A program if we were going to play them. He just feels like he wants to go and have a chance to start."

With sophomores Ty-Meer Brown and Byron Jones entrenched as the starting safeties and a year behind St.Louis, it was unlikely he would earn a starting position with the Huskies.

Pasqualoni mentioned freshmen Andrew Adams and Wilbert Lee and junior David Kenney as players likely to see more reps at safety now that St.Louis is gone.

Freshman tight end Sean McQuillan appeared to injure his ankle late in practice and was taken off in a cart. McQuillan tripped over a fallen Jon Hicks and Pasqualoni believes it was an ankle injury.

"I think it is his ankle but I have to check," Pasqualoni said. "That is what happens when you fall on the ground. People think in football you are on the ground all the time but when you practice you are never on the ground and that is a art."

Pasqualoni said that junior guard/center Tyler Bullock is close to returning to practice while freshman DL Andreas Knappe had no pads on and was held out of drills.

"He (Knappe) got  a little nicked up and he is getting in shape," Pasqualoni said. "He will be back in a day or so. He is getting acclimated to it.

"Bullock has his red cross on, he was running around. He will  be in a green cross next and full speed before you know it."

As for the practice, tight ends Ryan Griffin and John Delahunt were noticeable snaring a bunch of passes including a brilliant one-handed catch by Griffin on a Chandler Whitmer pass. Whitmer threw the ball pretty well but when the first team offense and defense squared off running the ball between the tackles was a struggle. Speaking of defense, DT Julian Campenni saw quite a bit of time with the starters. Speaking of DTs, Shamar Stephen was getting around without crutches and Pasqualoni said he continues to make progress from a sprained knee.

This is the last day UConn will have two-a-day practices. The team seemed to be dragging at the end of the morning practice, which was moved indoors because the UConn staff did not want to risk unnecessary injuries on a rain-soaked outdoor practice field.

West Haven High assistant coach and former East Haven head coach Rusty Dunne was among those in attendance and Dunne said he saw a significant improvement in the quality of practice compared to when he came to UConn practice last year.

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