Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tim Boyle will choose between UConn, Pitt and BC

With former Masuk star Casey Cochran ready to play after redshirting during the 2012 season and 6-foot-6 Texan Richard Lagow a headliner in UConn's recruiting class, it would seem as if recruiting another quarterback is not a major priority for the Huskies at the current time. However, if a talent like Tim Boyle is available the Connecticut coaches would be crazy not to go after him.

The 6-foot-4 Boyle, who quarterbacked the Falcons to their third straight Class LL title in 2012, committed to Boston College in June. However, with new BC coach Steve Addazio preferring to run an offense run by a quarterback who is a dual threat, Boyle is exploring his options.

Boyle told the Middletown Press (a sister paper of the Register) that he is considering UConn, Pittsburgh and Boston College.

"I just want to make the best decision I can make for the next five years of my life both for academics and football-wise," Boyle told the Press.

Boyle threw for nearly 2,500 yards as a senior and tossed 24 touchdown passes. With Xavier running for 408 yards in the Class LL title game Boyle only had to throw the ball five times but one of them went fora 94-yard touchdown in a 48-14 win over Norwich Free Academy. Boyle ran for one touchdown and passes for another in the game.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Report: Virginia OL commits to UConn

According to the rivals site, offensive lineman Chasz Wright has committed to UConn. Or did he because now the site does not list him as a Connecticut commit. I just called the school's athletic department and was told that "I just saw the young man and as far as I know he is committed to UConn."

The 6-foot-7, 274-pound Wright out of Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Va. would become the third offensive lineman to commit to UConn.

According to rivals he was also holding offers from North Carolina State and Penn State.

Wright helped Hylton to an 11-3 record and a trip to Virginia's 3A Division 6 semifinals as a senior. On offense he helped pave the way for a pair of 1,200-yard rushers and on defense he had 55 tackles, seven sacks, 11 tackles for losses and a safety.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Prolific Pennsylvania WR commits to UConn

It's been a pretty good day for the UConn football program.

After the news broke that dynamic two-sport star Jordan Fuchs out of Christ the King committed to UConn, now standout receiver Brian Lemelle becomes UConn's latest oral commitment.

A day after visiting the University of Iowa, the Bishop McDevitt star committed to UConn.

Lemelle caught 99 passes for 1,590 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior for the Crusaders. He had three games with at least 10 catches including a monster game against Lampeter-Strasburg when he caught 11 passes for 249 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was not a one-year wonder with 70 catches for 1223 yards and 11 touchdowns for 11 TDs as sophomore and 93 receptions for 1630 yards and 15 TDs as a junior.

He set Pennsylvania state records for most career catches and receiving yards.

He also was selected to play for the Pennsylvania team in the Big 33 Classic along with fellow UConn commit Junior Joseph.

Also, there are multiple reports that UConn commit Kyle Schafenacker reconfirmed his decision to head to Connecticut after a recent visit to South Florida. This isn't getting the same amount of attention as the commitments of Fuchs and Lemelle but it is a pretty big deal. The Huskies are lacking in offensive line recruits and strengthening what was the biggest question mark on last year's UConn squad would have been a crushing blow. Schafenacker, a leader of an offensive line which helped St. Thomas Aquinas win Florida's 7A championship team, and Westlake (N.Y.) lineman Tommy Hopkins are the only OL among the 21 commits. You would hope that between now and signing day on Feb. 6 that the Huskies coaches add some offensive line recruits to the list.

Report: New York TE commits to UConn

The New York Post, citing sources, posted on twitter earlier today that Christ the King two-sport star Jordan Fuchs has accepted a football scholarship to UConn.

The 6-foot-6 Fuchs was a receiver on the football team for the Royals who figures to project to tight end at the next level and a small forward for the basketball team and I saw one tweet that Fuchs was down to UConn and Rutgers according to the Christ the King football coach.

Fuchs caught 27 passes for 374 yards and five touchdowns as a senior.

He would become the fourth tight end to commit to UConn joining Coventry's Tommy Myers, Brooklyn Poly Prep's Cameron Stapleton and General McLane's Quinn Thompson. Normally four tight ends in one recruiting class might border on oversaturation but bear in mind that four of the six tight ends on UConn's 2012 roster are gone including Ryan Griffin and John Delahunt leaving opportunities for a freshman or freshmen to come in and earn immediate playing time at tight end. He could also see time at receiver, providing tremendous size at the position.

Jordan's dad posted some highlights of him on youtube including this one which is worth checking out

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Moore shines in Senior Bowl

Former UConn linebacker Sio Moore had a sack and finished with six tackles (including two for losses)in Saturday's Senior Bowl.

Moore was a mid-week replacement for his former college teammate Trevardo Williams, who suffered a sprained ankle early in the week.

Former Husky Blidi Wreh-Wilson started at cornerback and was credited with two tackles and a pss breakup while fellow former Connecticut cornerback Dwayne Gratz had a four tackles.

Moore, Wreh-Wilson and Gratz all played for the North team which lost to the South 21-16.

Meriden's John Jenkins out of the University of Georgia got the start at defensive tackle for the South but did not register a tackle. He did get pressure on North quarterbacks on a couple of occasions but no quarterback hurries were recorded for any player in the game.

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Trio of Huskies hope to impress at Senior Bowl today

Linebacker Sio Moore and cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson were mainstays on UConn's nationally-ranked defense the last couple of years and this afternoon they get the next step towards securing a spot in the NFL when they play for the North squad in the Senior Bowl.

Gratz and Wreh-Wilson, who will wear No. 27 and 15 respectively, have had a full week of practice to open eyes of the NFL scouts in attendance. Moore, who will wear No. 46, was added during the middle of the week after his former UConn teammate Trevardo Williams injured his ankle.

Meriden's John Jenkins, a former Georgia defensive tackle, will play for the South squad and wear No. 6.

The game will air live on NFL Network beginning at 4 p.m.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Report: Windsor's Ormsby commits to UConn

There are multiple reports including one in the Hartford Courat that Windsor senior defensive end Cole Ormsby has committed to UConn.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Ormsby had 17 sacks as a senior for a Windsor team which reached the Class L final. He had six games with multiple sacks. His best game statistically as a senior came against Hartford Public when he had 10 tackles, three sacks and three quarterback hurries. He had five tackles in the Class L final.

He originally committed to UMass in June before having a change of heart after a recent meeting with UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni.

Spring roster is up

Figured I would pass on that UConn has posted its spring roster on the university's official website. Missing from the list of players is tight end Neil Shortell, a junior-college teammate of starting quarterback Chandler Whitmer and special teamer David Kenney.

A source indicated to me that Shortell is no longer enrolled at UConn while Kenney is expected to compete with the Huskies' track and field team and could opt to head to a FCS program in the fall to play his final season.

With the loss of Shortell that means four of the six tight ends on UConn's 2012 roster will not be returning as John Delahunt, Ryan Griffin and Spencer Parker will graduate or have already graduated. That leaves Sean McQuillan and James Horan as the only returning tight ends.

Two of the three Huskies who were expected to apply for an additional season of eligibility are on the roster. I've been told that defensive end Jesse Joseph was granted a fifth year as was expected while things are looking promising for offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett to receive a sixth season of eligibility. Unfortunately, the news is not as promising for defensive end Teddy Jennings who is appears won't be given another season to play. An interesting note about Joseph is that he is listed as the No. 8 prospect in the scouting bureau for the Canadian Football League draft but have been told that Joseph is very much planning to suit up for the Huskies in the upcoming season.

There are also some number changes including linebacker Graham Stewart going from No. 24 to 2 and safety Obi Melifonwu switching from No. 30 to No. 20. Early enrollees Dhameer Bradley and Noel Thomas have been given No. 1 and 24 respectively and both are listed as receivers.

UConn's spring practice is set to begin on Mar. 11 while the pro day is Mar. 27.

Finally, with the hiring of T.J. Weist as offensive coordinator and receivers coach and Kermit Buggs as running backs coach and special teams coordinator, next up is for head coach Paul Pasqualoni to name a new defensive coordinator. Rumblings are that defensive line coach Hank Hughes is the top candidate and a hire could be announced by next week at the latest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oakland Raiders coach's take on former Husky

I just saw a post-practice transcript from Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, who is coachng the North squad at Saturday's Senior Bowl. Among the players he was asked about was former UConn cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson.

Here is what he had to say courtesy of the website.

Q: What have you seen from cornerbacks Blidi Wreh-Wilson from UConn and Will Davis from Utah State?

Coach Allen: “Well, I think both of them are good football players. Davis is probably not quite as big but a little bit quicker. Wilson, when you look at him, his size and his length are things that really stand out to me, initially. They’ve both gone out there and competed. One of the things I really enjoy watching is the one-on-one competition between the wide receivers and corners, because at the end of the day, to play corner in the National Football League, the first thing you want to know is, can the guy cover? So, those have been some good matchups out there.”


Kermit Buggs wants to hit ground running

UConn newly-hired running backs coach Kermit Buggs knew a thing or two about Huskies' returning running backs Lyle McCombs and Max DeLorenzo during his days at Penn State. Now he is anxious to see how he can get the best out of their abilities for the Huskies' new offensive coordinator T.J. Weist.

"I got a chance to sit down with Lyle yesterday and Max came in today," Buggs said on a Wednesday afternoon conference call. "They are willing to work, they want to go after it so I am excited about both of those young guys. I recruited Max when I was at Penn State. I didn't do much with Lyle when he was (in Staten Island) but I knew of him. It is an excellent opportunity for me to get a chance to coach those guys.

Buggs never visited DeLorenzo up in Connecticut during the recruiting process but did have an appreciation for the way DeLorenzo ran when he was at Berlin High.

"Just at the school and checking in on him," Buggs said. "He was a productive runner, he ran for a lot of yards up there and he was tough so those were some of the attributes I liked about him in high school. Unfortunately, our running backs coach at the time Galen Hall went in another direction so Max wasn't a fit for us up at Penn State but from what he has done and what I hear about his work ethic around year, I guess he could be a great fit here."

McCombs led UConn in rushingwith 860 yards. Quarterback Scott McCummings (132) and DeLorenzo (119) were the only other players with more than 100 rushing yards so Buggs will have a chance to work with players who have seen time in the backfield.

"I haven't gotten much into the style of each kid yet but hopefully they will all be productive," Buggs said. "We want to make sure they make the first tackler miss, we also want to make sure they can protect the football, catch the football and protect the passer. Basically my style is making sure we have the most well-rounded backs in the country."

Buggs worked at Penn State from 2003-11, the last four as an assistant coach. He coached the safeties from 2007-10 and all of the Nittany Lions' defensive backs in 2011. However. he was not retained by new Penn State coach Bill O'Brien so he spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Lock Haven.

"Coach O'Brien came in, I had a chance to interview with him and he wanted to go in a different direction," Buggs said. "It gave me a chance to be a coordinator again and be in charge of things and get that experience on the defensive side of the ball."

However, Buggs played quarterback at Norfolk State and helped coach running backs as a graduate assistant at Penn State and he considers himself an offensive coach.

"I coached offense pretty much all my life so my switch to defense was something new for me so it is like coming back home for me," Buggs said.

He also will be UConn's special teams coordinator. While UConn does lose record-breaking return man Nick Williams, both kicker Chad Christen and punter Cole Wagner return.

"Both of those guys are great football players," Buggs said. "We want to make sure we keep those
guys consistent with what they are doing and in the return game, it is going to be a wide-open race. Whoever comes out and is the most productive first and foremost catching the football and being productive afterwards will be able to win the return job. I don't know how many guys they have on the team right now that can do those things but we will definitely find out in the spring."

UConn's Gratz opening eyes at Senior Bowl

I've been watching the North team's practice at the Senior Bowl on the NFL Network and in the individual drills former UConn's cornerback Dwayne Gratz looked pretty good in coverage. Looks like I am not alone as Gratz has been getting some love on twitter. Alex Brown of Optimum Scouting tweeted "Liked what i saw from Dwayne Gratz, quick footed off the line but tremendously physical" while Jason Bernstein of XAM Sports reported that Gratz had his second interception in as many days during the 7 x7 drills.

I also thought it was ironic that Sio Moore not only replaced his former UConn teammate Trevardo Williams (sprained ankle) on the North squad but has given the same No. 46 that Williams was wearing.

The Senior Bowl is Saturday at 4 p.m. and will be aired live by NFL Network.

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Former Penn State assistant hired by UConn

Former Penn State assistant coach Kermit Buggs has been hired as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator for UConn.

Buggs, who spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Lock Haven, coached the safeties at Penn State from 2007-10 before coaching all defensive backs in 2011.

He replaces Clayton White who left to head back to North Carolina State, his alma mater.

Sio Moore to play in Senior Bowl

Sio Moore, fresh off an impressive performance at the East-West Shrine Game, has been added to the roster of players for Saturday's Senior Bowl.

He is the fourth member of UConn's defensive squad selected to play in the game joining cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson and fellow linebacker Trevardo Williams (although he sat out yesterday's practice with an ankle injury).

According to the site, Moore is actually taking Williams' spot on the North squad so it turns into a good news/bad news scenario for former UConn stars. It's a tough break for Williams who is making the transition from collegiate defensive end to professional linebacker.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New offensive coordinator "I want to be an aggressive play caller"

Considering that this was T.J. Weist's first official day as UConn's offensive coordinator, he was reluctant to classify the style of offense he will install with the Huskies but he certainly said all the right things in terms of the attack mentality he wants to bring to the job.

"I think we are in line with Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni in terms of we are going to be a tough offense, we are going to be a physical offense. I think my goal, our goals I think besides being a physical, tough offense is we are going to be efficient and we are going to be productive.

"We are going to have a balanced attack because I think you win games running the ball and throwing the ball. I am not going to characterize us that we are going to be a throwing football team or a running football team or a wide-open team. I want to be an aggressive play caller where I want to attack the full field. I want to throw it deep. I want to run, I want to pound it, I want to spread the field horizontally and vertically, multiple combinations, multiple concepts.

"Going into this situation regardless of what has been done in the past, I want to have an attacking style of offense that is physical that has a balance to it because I want the play action to be a part of it where we can throw deep."

Weist, who comes to UConn after spending the last three seasons as an offensive assistant at Cincinnati, is still in the process of identifying the personnel he will have to work with and that figures to continue through spring drills. He really has nowhere to go but up when you look at how much the UConn offense struggled in the last couple of years.

"I did not see an offense that was unproductive.," Weist said. "It comes down to guys making plays. I need to get there and figure out what personnel we have. I think we are going to have an exciting offense where we get the ball to our play makers and we spread the ball around. There is nothing more exciting than guys making plays.

"I saw some good play makers. One of the first things I did and am going to continue to do is evaluate the personnel with any offensive staff does every single year, it doesn't matter if you are coming back with the same offense or not, you have to look at your people and see what you can do well I was pleased, at times, with what I saw because I saw guys who were making plays, I saw guys who were athletic. You always see areas of improvement that you can do better at. I was enthused at some of the guys that we have here, some of the skill guys, even the line is coming back."

Weist doesn't anticipate any issues coexisting with former offensive coordinator George DeLeone, who is now exclusively the offensive line coach.

"Coach DeLeone is one of the most respected coaches in the industry," Weist said. "I walk in the door and the one thing is I want to learn from him because we has more football knowledge than I will ever have. I am excited to work with him, coach with him and learn the experience he has from his last two years as the coordinator here and try to make it better. We are in this to win, to win a Big East championship so I am going to work with him to make this offense better and do whatever we can to win the Big East championship. It is not going to be an issue, it is not going to be a problem because I have so much respect for him. We have the same goal and I don't think it is going to be an issue where he was the coordinator, I am the coordinator now. I think we are going to work together well and I think he is a valuable asset to all of us here."

Weist named UConn's offensive coordinator

The long rumored appointment of T.J. Weist as UConn’s offesive coordinator became official today.

Weist called the plays in Cincinnati’s win over Duke in the Belk Bowl as the Bearcats had 554 yards of total offense in a 48-34 victory.

Weist’s Cincinnati offense led the Big East in scoring offense, passing offense, first downs and third-down conversions.
The 1988 Alabama graduate began his coaching career at his alma mater and also had stints at Michigan, Southern Illinois, Tulsa, Indiana and Western Kentucky before arriving at Cincinnati in 2010.

"I am very excited to join the UConn family and be part of Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni's staff," said Weist in a statement. "I have always had a high respect for the UConn football program from playing them for the past three years. One thing that has always struck me about the UConn team is that they have tough players, who are well coached and disciplined. As an opposing coach, you respect that and you know its starts with the head coach and his staff.

"I have followed Coach Pasqualoni's career and have a high respect and high regard for him. He has a great knowledge of football and a high respect for the game."

He takes over for George DeLeone, who will remain the offensive line coach but is no longer the Huskies’ offensive coordinator.

Report: Trevardo Williams to miss Senior Bowl practice

Trevardo Williams, UConn's all-time leader in quarterback sacks, will not take part in today's Senior Bowl practice according to a tweet from Tony Pauline of NFL Draft Insider.

Williams suffered an ankle injury. Williams seemed to be moving pretty well during the one-hour practice shown by NFL Network yesterday but must have tweaked his ankle later in the day.


UConn announces pair of early enrollees

UConn announced that Dhameer Bradley and Noel Thomas are enrolled in school for the spring semester and they will be able to take part in spring drills at UConn.

Bradley played his senior season at Eastern Christian Academy in Elkton, Md. and playing a limited schedule he had 13 catches for 156 yards and a TD.

Thomas played at St. Luke's in New Canaan and had more than 2,000 yards of total offense and 25 touchdowns as a senior. He was named to the NEPSAC All-New England Class C squad.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jory Johnson has a pair of tackles in Raycom Classic

Former UConn linebacker Jory Johnson had two tackles as the Stripes team defeated the Stars 31-3 in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic. Tight end Ryan Griffin also played for the Stripes team but did not record a reception. I only saw him targeted once when he dropped a swing pass but did have nice blocks leading to touchdown runs by Virginia's Perry Jones and Missouri Western's Michael Hill in the second half and was on the field for all five of the Stripes team's five scoring drives.

Sio Moore started at linebacker for the East squad in the East-West Shrine Game. I haven't seen any official defensive statistics yet but I taped the game and unofficially had Moore with four tackles (although the three-hour window I taped ended with 1:33 remaining). He has been drawing plenty of praise from people who were at the game.

I am watching a replay of the game and after Moore made a tackle behind the line of scrimmage on Texas A&M running back Christine Michael, the NFL Network announcing crew sounded like they were members of Sio's fan club.

They mentioned that East head coach Jerry Glanville, a former head coach of the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons, said "put an asterisk next to that guy because you are going to know who he is in the next couple of years."

Mike Mayock raved about Moore as well.

"I like the combination of heavy production at a BCS school, a great week of practice and following it up with a solid game. I thik as this process goes on you are going to see this guy start to rise and I wouldn't be surprised at all if at the end of April he doesn't end up in the third round."
Also, heights and weights were announced for the Senior Bowl. Cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson came in at 6-0, 198 and 6-1, 190 respectively while Trevardo Williams, who will play linebacker in the game, is listed at 6-2, 233.

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Three Huskies in action today

Three members of the 2012 UConn football team will get some air time today and even more importantly will be playing in front of a host of NFL scouts in a pair of all-star games.

Tight end Ryan Griffin and linebacker Jory Johnson will be playing in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic. Both Griffin and Johnson and will playing for the Stripes squad. Griffin will wear No. 94 and Johnson No. 28 (the same numbers they wore with such distinction at UConn). The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network

Then at 4 p.m. linebacker Sio Moore will be suiting up for the East team in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Moore will be wearing No. 3 and the game can be seen live on the NFL Network.

Speaking of NFL Network, that station will be airing Senior Bowl practices next week beginning on Monday at 4 p.m. so there could be a chance to see the three former Huskies (Dwayne Gratz, Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Trevardo Williams) playing the game during the week.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Big East announces adjusted football schedule

With the decisions of Boise State and San Diego State to remain in the Mountain West Conference, the Big East needed to make adjustments to the schedule grid it recently released.

Memphis was added to UConn's home schedule to replace San Diego State. The Huskies will also host Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida (assuming Louisville and Rutgers are still in the league in 2013). The Huskies will play Big East road games against Central Florida, Cincinnati, Southern Methodist and Temple. The only road non-conference game is against Buffalo on Sep. 28 while UConn will host non-conference games against Towson State (Aug. 29), Maryland (Sep. 14), Michigan (Sept. 21).

The dates of the Big East games will be announced in the coming months.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Warde Manuel mum on coaching staff changes

Shortly before the start of the UConn/Louisville women's basketball game at the XL Center last night I caught up with UConn director of athletics Warde Manuel.

Considering the news that broke earlier in the day that George DeLeone was relinquishing his offensive coordinator position, it wasn't too hard to figure out what was the first subject broached with him. However, Manuel declined to comment on either the move of DeLeone to associate head coach while remaining the offensive line coach and the departure of defensive coordinator Don Brown to Boston College.

"I don't want to comment on that until we have our coordinators," Manuel said. "I’ll comment when we have hire our coordinators."

I was able to ask Manuel about a conversation I heard he had with the team shortly after the end of the regular season. I had heard that he lit into the team telling them to get with the program or head for the exits and that head coach Paul Pasqualoni has his full support.

Manuel said he did meet with the team but the conversation did not transpire the way I described above.

"I talked to them but it wasn’t because I felt like I needed to stand up for the coaches and I think they knew that," Manuel said. "It wasn’t a question about that but it was making sure they understood that we need to continue to work, we need to continue to get better and depending on their effort, the coaches’ effort, everybody in the room’s effort including mine that we have to put ourselves in the right position to do the right things and be prepared to have success."

Coming off back to back losing seasons, I was curious if he viewed this upcoming season even more pivotal than normal.

"Every game and everything we do is designed and should be designed to win and have success and when we don’t have a winning record we have to work even harder, work smarter and put ourselves in position in the right positions to do the right things to make success happen," Manuel said. "Every season is important and when you don’t win whether it is one season, two seasons you have to get down to the work and make things happen."

Since I periodically see reports out of Michigan with Michigan AD Dave Brandon continuing to hope that next year's UConn/Michigan game gets moved out of Rentschler Field and into a larger stadium, I asked Manuel for his take on the subject.

"It hasn’t been raised by their AD and I am not changing my perspective," Manuel said.

Finally, he spoke about having eight members of the 2012 squad playing in postseason all-star games as Nick Williams returned a pair of kickoffs for 37 yards in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Classic last week, Jory Johnson and Ryan Griffin are playing in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic on Saturday while Sio Moore will be playing in the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday as well. On Jan. 26 the trio of Dwayne Gratz, Trevardo Williams and Blidi Wreh-Wilson are taking part in the Senior Bowl and Michael Smith compete in the Texas vs. The Nation event on Feb. 2.

"That I love, it always wonderful when any of our guys go and to have eight is a real testament to talent we have on the squad and the potential that we continue to have," Manuel said. "We just have to fulfill the potential that we have because we have talent and we have a lot of guys with ability, a lot of high quality, high character kids. They’ve been through a lot and never stopped playing for UConn and their teammates. It is a testament of who they are and how they were raised, how they carried themselves and I will always be proud of this senior class."

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pasqualoni needed to make switch at OC

Paul Pasqualoni and George DeLeone go back more than a few years and are extremely close friends. I am sure the decision to strip offensive play calling duties from DeLeone was not an easy call for him to make.

UConn was so dreadful and predictable on offense in the last two years that Pasqualoni simply needed to make a change. In DeLeone's first season calling plays, the Huskies were 108th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense and 97th in rushing offense. During the 2012 season things got even worse as the Huskies were 110th in total offense and 117th in rushing offense.

DeLeone will remain on the staff and was actually given the title of associate head coach. He will continue to work with the offensive line. The good news is that UConn returns five or six offensive linemen who started games in 2012 (or at least I think it is good news but considering how much the Huskies struggled on the line at times last season I'll reserve judgment on that).

DeLeone can remain involved in the recruiting process and his ability to recruit in Connecticut is even more important now that Steve Addazio has taken over the program at Boston College. Addazio did a remarkable job landing Connecticut prospects when he was an assistant coach at Florida and he figures to go head to head with the Huskies for top Nutmeg State players in the coming years.

There have been multiple reports that former Cincinnati receivers coach T.J. Weist will get the offensive coordinator gig for the Huskies. Weist called the plays for the Bearcats in last month's Belk Bowl and the Bearcats did have 554 yards of offense in the win over Duke with a nice balance with 25 passing attempts and 28 running plays in the game.

DeLeone no longer UConn's offensive coordinator

George DeLeone will no longer serve as UConn's offensive coordinator but has added the title of associate head coach and will continue to work with UConn's offensive line as was first reported by Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant.

DeLeone released a statement through UConn regarding the change in responsibilities.

“I continue to be excited about the direction of our offensive and I look forward to continue to work with the offensive line – a position group that I have been passionate about my entire coaching career. The new role of Associate Head Coach is a new part of my job that I am eager to take on.”

UConn finished 110th out of 120 FBS teams in total offense and was 117th in rushing offense during the 2012 season, DeLeone's second at the helm of UConn's offense.

There are reports that T.J. Weist, a former receivers coach at Cincinnati who called the plays for the Bearcats in the Belk Bowl victory over Duke, will be named UConn's new offensive coordinator.

With DeLeone's move, UConn will have two new coordinators as Don Brown resigned at UConn's defensive coordinator to take the same position at Boston College. UConn also lost running backs/special teams coach Clayton White returned to his alma mater to coach the safeties and be the co-special teams coordinator at North Carolina State.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Pair of former Huskies training in IMG program

Trevardo Williams, UConn's all-time leader in quarterback sacks, and two-time captain Blidi Wreh-Wilson are among nearly three dozen NFL draft prospects in Bradenton, Fla. right now taking part in IMG Academy's NFL Combine/Draft training program.

The list of players includes Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te'o out of Notre Dame and six other players projected to be first-round picks in April's draft.

Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT
Geno Smith, West Virginia, QB
Bjoern Werner, Florida State, DE
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, LB
Sheldon Richardson, Missouri, DT
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, TE
Shariff Floyd, Florida, DT
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson, WR
Eric Reid, LSU, S
Barrett Jones, Alabama, C/OG
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, QB
Justin Hunter, Tennessee, WR
Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio), QB
Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist, DE
Montee Ball, Wisconsin, RB
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut, CB
Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana, CB
Aaron Dobson, Marshall, WR
Menelik Watson, FSU, OT
Trevardo Williams, Connecticut, LB
Gerald Hodges, Penn State, LB
Everett Dawkins, Florida State, DT
Kwame Geathers, Georgia, DT
Zach Line, Southern Methodist, FB
Vance McDonald, Rice, TE
J.C. Tretter, Cornell, OG
Tommy Bohanon, Wake Forest, FB
Gavin Escobar, San Diego State, TE
Albert Rosette, Nevada, LB
John Wetzel, Boston College, OT
Ty Powell, Harding, LB
Garrett Gilkey, Chadron State, OL
Devin Smith, Wisconsin, CB
Nick Williams, Samford, DT
Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, Cal, RB

Staying on the subject of UConn NFL draft prospects, today was weigh-in day at the Raycom Classic. Former Husky Ryan Griffin came in a little under 6-6 and weighed in at 254 while Jory Johnson measured 6-feet even and weighed 226 points.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Williams returns two kickoffs in all-star game

Finally saw some stats from the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game and although UConn's Nick Williams did not have a catch in the game, he did return two kickoffs for 37 yards in the East's 40-7 loss.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

UConn commit Matt Walsh named Register's State MVP

Hand High senior linebacker Matt Walsh was named the Register's State Football Most Valuable Player.

Walsh, a UConn commit, ended his career with the Tigers in style with 15 tackles and two forced fumbles to lead Hand to a second straight Class L title.

Walsh was also named to the Walter Camp team earlier today although he lost out on being the state player of the year to Ansonia running back Arkeel Newsome.

UConn recruit selected to play in Big 33 Classic

UConn commit Junior Joseph, a linebacker out of Wilson High School in West Lawn, Pa., was one of 34 players selected to play for the Pennsylvania squad in the Big 33 Classic

The Pennsylvania team will play a group of Maryland all-stars in the June 15 game in Hershey, Pa.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Report: UConn considering staying with Catholic 7

Mark Blaudschun, a former reporter at the Boston Globe, wrote in his "" blog that UConn officials are pursuing an option of remaining with the "Catholic 7" in all sports except football and hockey with the hope of joining the MWC in football only. However, UConn has denied the proposed plan wtih reports that UConn athletic director Warde Manuel saying he wants to keep the Huskies' football and basketball programs  in the same conference.

Blaudschun's reports have been spot on throughout this conference realignment process and certainly UConn being in a basketball league with DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova as well as Cincinnati (who Blaudschun said is considering the same option) is better than being in the Big East following the departure of the Catholic 7. However, from the time that the Catholic 7 teams announced they were leaving, people have speculated that UConn could go with them. The only problem with that is that UConn and Cincinnati's desire to land spots in a conference like the ACC, Big Ten or Big 12 was one of the reasons why the seven schools decided to venture out on their own in the first place. I know geographic considerations aren't high up in many decisions being made these days but UConn in the MWC would not be in the best interests of UConn's football program..

It should be stated that the report merely said that UConn officials are "pursuing a plan" to remain in the Catholic 7. I do think UConn is getting to the point where they ought to be considering all the options even one like the Catholic 7/MWC split.

It seems as if rarely a week can go by when there isn't a rumor of teams being pursued by other conferences. By the process of elimination, there aren't many teams ahead of UConn now the next time a conference like the ACC needs to fill a vacancy.

South Carolina LB/DE commits to UConn

Jalen Stevens, a linebacker/defensive end out of Goose Creek (S.C.) High, tweeted that he has committed to UConn.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior had 126 tackles and six sacks while also blocking three punts to lead Goose Creek to South Carolina's AAAA Division II title.

He had nine double-digit tackle performances including games of 16 against Colleton County and 18 against Carolina Forest.

Williams to play in Corona Del Sol game tonight

The first of the college postseason all-star games is being played tonight with former UConn receiver and record-breaking returner Nick Williams taking part in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star game at Kino Stadium Is Tucson, Ariz.

Williams will wear the familiar No. 31 and will suit up for the East team. The game starts at 7 p.m. Arizona time and will be available on ESPN3.

As a senior Williams caught 30 passes for 334 yards. He also returned 21 punts for 230 yards and pair of touchdowns and had 489 yards on 24 kickoff returns while adding another 40 yards on 10 carries and a TD. His 2,505 combined kickoff and punt return yardage is more than another other UConn player. He finished 18th among FBS players in punt return yards per return.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

UConn announces plans for signing day

UConn announced that its annual signing day event will be held on Feb. 6 beginning at 4:15 p.m. and Rentschler Field and is open to the public,

Here are the details

4:30 - 5:15 PM: Doors Open & Autograph Session
5:30 - 6:30 PM: 2013 Signing Day Program
Location: Rentschler Field / Club Area / Third Level (Enter through Gate A)Stadium Entrance: Silver Lane Gate Only – FREE ParkingAdmission: FREERSVP: Below by Wednesday, January 30th at this link

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Report: Kashif Moore signed by Houston

There are reports that the Houston Texans have signed former UConn receiver Kashif Moore to their practice squad.

Moore, who originally signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent, is on his fourth franchise in less than a year as he was on the practice squads of the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers as well. He caught two passes for 20 yards and had one rushing attempt for three yards while playing in four preseason games.


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

X-A-M to represent former UConn CB

X-A-M Sports has signed former UConn cornerback Dwayne Gratz and has set up a facebook page

Gratz, one of three members of the 2012 UConn team who will play in the Senior Bowl later this month, had 53 tackles and three interceptions as a senior and finished his career with 189 tackles, eight interceptions, 10 tackles for losses and 28 passes defended.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Report: Former UConn assistant looked at by Bears

According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, former UConn assistant coach Darrell Bevell will be interviewed by the Chicago Bears for their head coaching job.

Bevell is a former quarterback at Wisconsin who coached at UConn in 1998 and 1999 before heading to coach in the NFL. Bevell spent six seasons with the Green Bay Packers before being hired as the offensive coordinator by the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. In 2011 he was appointed to the same position by the Seattle Seahawks.

There have also been multiple reports that former UConn linebacker John Dorsey is the leading candidate to be named the general manager with the Kansas City Chiefs. Dorsey is currently the director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers, the team he played for from 1984-88.

Staying on the subject of the NFL, former UConn DB Darius Butler had four tackles but the Indianapolis Colts lost to Baltimore 24-9 in the first round of the playoffs. Two former Huskies will be in action on Sunday Jan. 13. At 1 p.m., DB Robert McClain and the Atlanta Falcons host Seattle. That will be followed by OG Daniel Thomas and New England hosting Houston at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Butler, Colts to face Baltimore in playoffs

Darius Butler is the first of the three former UConn players to have a chance of seeing action in the NFL playoffs when the Indianapolis Colts play at Baltimore tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Butler, a cornerback, was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in 2009. After playing two seasons with the Patriots, he spent last year with the Carolina Panthers before being let go on Aug. 31. Butler was signed by Indianapolis on Sep. 25 and played 11 games for the Colts. Butler has 31 tackles and four interceptions for the Colts. Indianapolis also has two former Huskies on injured reserve. Running back Donald Brown ran for 417 yards in 10 games while linebacker Scott Lutrus was put on the IR in the preseason. Former UConn stars Kashif Moore and Greg Lloyd also spent time on Indianapolis' practice squad this season.

The other two UConn products on playoff teams will have to wait a week to get onto the field.

Donald Thomas, an offensive guard who played in all 16 games and started seven games, is another player who benefited from a change of scenery. Thomas started 13 games during the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He is in his second season with the Patriots and played a key role in allowing the Patriots to overcome a string of injuries on the offensive line. The Patriots are the second seed in the AFC and will host the highest remaining seed which emerges from this weekend's action on Jan. 13.

Cornerback Robert McClain of the Atlanta Falcons has been one of the biggest surprises of the NFL season. Like Thomas and Butler, he was given an opportunity to play due to injuries to established players.

McClain, who played 16 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2010, was an under the radar offseason signing by the Falcons and he has 61 tackles and an interception this season for Atlanta.

The Falcons are the top seed in the NFC and will host the lowest remaining NFC seed on Jan. 13 at 1 p.m.

Here is a breakdown on how the other UConn products fared this season (not including players on practice squads):

OT Will Beatty, New York Giants: Played 16 games and had 15 starts for Giants
S Tyvon Branch, Oakland: Had 94 tackles and an interception while starting 14 games
WR Marcus Easley: Did not have a reception in three games although he did return two kickoffs for 75 yards
QB Dan Orlovsky, Tampa Bay: Was 4 of 7 for 41 yards in 41-0 loss to New Orleans in only appearance
DT Kendall Reyes, San Diego: Had 28 tackles in 16 games and 3.5 of his 5.5 sacks came in win over New York Jets.
FB Anthony Sherman, Arizona: Played 13 games with four starts. Had no carries but had five receptions for 39 yards
RB Jordan Todman, Jacksonville: Had three rushes for eight yards and one catch for no yards in only game against New York Jets

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Friday, January 04, 2013

Another UConn commit earns all-state honors

Kyle Schafenacker, a Connecticut commit who was the starting left tackle on a St. Thomas Aquinas team which won Florida's 7A title, was named to the FHSAA 7A first-team All-State team.

Schafenacker, who also carries a 4.0 grade-point average, helped the Saints set a Florida championship record with 604 yards of total offense in a 41-25 win over Tallahassee Lincoln in the 7A championship game. In the semifinals St. Thomas Aquinas upset Bradenton's Manatee High, who entered the game as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, 35-18.

Also, UConn commit Matt Walsh us one of three finalists for the Walter Camp high school player of the year.

Walsh played linebacker and was a short-yardage back as a senior for the Class L champion Hand of Madison team.

Xavier quarterback and Boston College commit Tim Boyle and Ansonia running back Arkeel Newsome are the other finalists. The winner will be announced on Jan. 12.

Count up to eight UConn players in postseason all-star games

With linebacker Sio Moore being invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game, there are now eight members of the 2012 UConn team that have been invited to play in postseason all-star games.

Dwayne Gratz, Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Trevardo Williams will be playing in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala., tight end Ryan Griffin and linebacker Jory Johnson have been selected to play in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic (Jan. 19 in Montgomery, Ala.), receiver Michael Smith will take part in the Texas vs. Nation game (Feb. 2 in Allen, Tex.) and receiver/return ace Nick Williams is playing in the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game a week from today in Tucson, Ariz.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Nick Williams headed to Casino Del Sol All-Star Game

Receiver and record-setting return specialist Nick Williams will be playing in the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game which is being played a week from tomorrow in Tucson, Ariz.

Williams finished his UConn career with more combined kickoff and punt return yardage than any other Husky and is the only player in program history with multiple kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns.

Williams becomes the sixth UConn announced to play in postseason all-star games. Dwayne Gratz, Trevardo Williams and Blidi Wreh-Wilson will be playing in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26, Jory Johnson will play in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic on Jan. 19 in Mobile, Ala. while Michael Smith will play in the Texas vs. the Nation game on Feb. 2 in Allen, Tex.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

UConn commits earn all-state honors

'Tis the season for all-state teams to be released and in the last couple of days a pair of UConn commitments earned first-team all-state honors.

Offensive lineman Tommy Hopkins out of Westlake High School was named to the New York State Sportswriters Association Class B first team while Junior Joseph earn first-team honors in Class AAAA by the Pennsylvania Football News (he earned the same recognition from the Pennsylvania sports writers' association last month) and Sha-ki Holines was among 26 players to earn all-state honors from the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association.

The first of the Connecticut all-state teams was released last month and UConn commit Matt Walsh was named to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association first-team squad on defense while Tommy Myers was named to the Class M squad as a tight end. The Register's All-State team usually comes out on Jan. 1 but there has been a bit of a delay. I will let you know when it comes out.

Jory Johnson, Michael Smith invited to all-star games

Linebacker Jory Johnson and receiver Michael Smith are the latest UConn players invited to play in senior all-star games.

Johnson, who had 95 tackles as a senior and finished with 227 career tackles, has been selected to play in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic on Jan. 19 in Montgomery, Ala.

Smith, who caught 31 passes for 407 yards as a senior, will play in the Texas vs. the Nation game on Feb. 2 in Allen, Tex.

Dwayne Gratz, Trevardo Williams and Blidi Wreh-Wilson have been invited to the Senior Bowl later this month.

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