Saturday, April 20, 2013

It's Spring Game day

Spring practice will come to an end this afternoon with the spring game. It's going to be interesting to see how the event gets run because on Tuesday head coach Paul Pasqualoni made it sound like the squad was going to be split in half and it will resemble the Blue-White Game of the past. A couple of days later a press release was sent out stating it was going to be more of a controlled scrimmage due to a lack of healthy bodies at certain positions.

Linebacker, defensive line and running back seem to be the positions hit the hardest by injuries.

Yawin Smallwood hasn't practiced all spring while Omaine Stephens and Jon Hicks are other linebackers out of action which leaves five linebackers able to go today. The good news is that the healthy linebackers seem to have made an impact this spring.

"Ryan Donohue is having a really good spring," Pasqualoni said after Tuesday's practice. "He is a leader capable of directing his teammates which is a big prerequisite of the linebacker position. He is doing a very good job and has a clear understanding of what the concepts are, what he is seeing and his instinctiveness and reactionary stuff is really good. Brandon Steg is having his best spring since I have been here so that is very encouraging. He has been on the scout team for my two years here, Graham Stewart is learning the position but you can see the explosiveness so he has the skill set, Jefferson Ashiru is playing more consistently, Marquise Vann is playing more confidently, more assuredly so I am encouraged with that group."

On the defensive line, probable fall starters Jesse Joseph and Shamar Stephen have spent more time riding the stationary bike while promising sophomore tailback Joe Williams suffered an ankle injury in a scrimmage a week ago that will keep him out of action today. Martin Hyppolite, a passenger in a car involved in a fatal accident in New Hampshire, is still recovering from those injuries and will also be sidelined.

"He is walking around," Pasqualoni said of Hyppolite. "(UConn trainer) Bob (Howard) said he has a ways to go to get it healed but there is no way of us knowing until we get to June or July. He is in all the meetings learning everything."

Pasqualoni said the returners will catch punts and kickoffs but there will be no returns in the game/scrimmage.

Here is how the UConn press release described what fans can expect today.

Saturday’s Blue vs. White Spring Game will not have a typical team vs. team format due to the fact that the Huskies have a limited amount of healthy players in certain position areas. The UConn offense will scrimmage against the UConn defense in various situations, including standard gameday, “back to the wall” starting at the one-yard line and having to move downfield and red zone.

Parking lots opened at 9 a.m. today with Rentschler Field gates set to open at 10:30 a.m. The game/scrimmage will begin at noon. WTIC-1080 will broadcast the game live and while SNY is expected to have a crew at the game, it will not be televising the game live as it did last year.

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