Tuesday, September 11, 2012

UConn moving on from NC State loss

While much of the focus of the questions the UConn players faced today centered around Saturday's game against Maryland which is coached by former UConn coach Randy Edsall, a more pressing matter is how the Huskies were moving forward from a disappointing loss to North Carolina State.

While we won't know for sure until the ball is snapped on Saturday, the players I spoke to said they have liked what they have seen when UConn hit the practice field to prepare for the Maryland game.

"You could feel that out there, you could feel the camaraderie and so far things are going in the right direction," said senior offensive guard Adam Masters.

While UConn's defense ranks near the top in most categories in the national FBS rankings, the offense is languishing near the bottom.

But the UConn offensive stars have not lost faith.

"There was a little higher energy," UConn sophomore quarterback Chandler Whitmer said. "I tried to do a god job of keeping the tempo up like Coach P (Paul Pasqualoni) always preaches and we are going to continue to work on that."

In terms of the meeting against the Edsall-coached Terrapins, Pasqualoni continued to downplay the entire situation and said he did not instruct the players not to address the issue when they were asked about it today. Still, there wasn't much anti-Edsall venom to be heard coming out of the mouths of the UConn players  today. Pasqualoni said that coaching moves are a part of the business and he was not concerned about the way Edsall departed for Maryland when he began pursuing the job at UConn.

"You guys probably know more about this than I do," Pasqualoni said. "I never asked, I never read any articles on it. I was coaching Dallas, interviewed for the job here. Once I was offered the job here my focus was on recruiting.

"I thought Randy left the culture of this program very good. The kids from an off the field standpoint understood the expectations academically. It is a lot along the lines of what we did at Syracuse."

Edsall spoke to the media on a conference call but wasn't exactly in a mood to talk about any lingering bad feelings from his departure from UConn. When he was asked how he would liked to be remembered at UConn, Edsall ignored the question and said that he wanted to focus on questions about the game.

He did express regret with the fact that he accepted the Maryland job without informing any of his players at UConn of his decision face to face.

"I have nothing but great memories, great times at the university and what we were able to do," Edsall said. "I was very proud  of what we were able to do there at the University of Connecticut, it was a special place to me and my family in the sense that my daughter graduated from UConn, my son has spent all his years at school in there in the state. If I could do it over again, I wish there was some way that I was able to see the players and tell them face to face that I was going to leave and come to Maryland. Due to the circumstances surrounding that, I wasn't able to do that and that is something I have to live with.

"This is where I grew up and I spent a lot of time here  at Maryland in terms of being a young man, I went to camp here As we move forward we are looking to build a program here at Maryland."

It seems as if junior defensive tackle Shamar Stephen is getting closer to returning to the field after spraining a knee during fall camp but there is nothing more to report on defensive end Teddy Jennings' injured knee. Also, freshman quarterback and former Masuk star Casey Cochran still has a cast to protect his injured left thumb.

"Shamar is still questionable," Pasqualoni said. "We are going to get a look at him today and see how he moves around. He won't do everything today but we will get something out of him. 

"I have to see him today. Sometimes if you put a lot of pressure on it it swells up. If he works on it today and it doesn't get swollen than I will be encouraged."

As for Jennings, Pasqualoni said he wasn't sure if another MRI was necessary.

"I don't know if he will get pictures but the trainers know exactly what they are looking for," Pasqualoni said.

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