Thursday, September 12, 2013

Former Terp Donohue has different take on Maryland game

A year ago UConn linebacker Ryan Donohue could barely sleep heading into the game at Maryland. As a former Terrapin Donohue wanted nothing more than to leave Byrd Stadium with a victory over his former team.

This year Donohue admits he is much more emotionally composed heading into the game against Maryland.

"I think playing them helped me get the  butterflies out," Donohue said. "It definitely helps that we are playing here this year rather than playing there."

Donohue's main focus this week is to help the UConn defense put forth a better showing than they did in the season-opening loss to Towson,

"I think the team has responded real well," Donohue said. "I lot of teams might not have liked that (having a bye week) but we got a lot of corrections done and I think we are going to ready for this one."

So what was the most troubling aspect of the defense's effort against Towson?

"Probably the fact that we gave up so many rushing yards," Donohue said. "Our defense (prides) itself in being able to stop the run game and a lot of big plays that could have been corrected from one or two corrections and that is why the bye week really helped us because we are going to fix those."

On Thursday's conference call with the media, UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni gave his thoughts on the play of Donohue and fellow outside linebacker Graham Stewart.

"I would say that I love their effort;" Pasqualoni said. "I love their motors; I love their toughness and those two guys are football players there is no question but baptism under fire first game, a lot of adjustments need to be made. Our linebackers including Yawin will all improve from an adjustment standpoint when we play more football. I really like their approach, I love their intensity. They have to get used to being with each other, communicating with each other and making the appropriate adjustments because they are kind of tied on a string, when one moved the others have to move so that is something that takes a little bit of playing together."

The biggest news to emerge from the conference call was that sophomore defensive end E.J. Norris has been moved to tight end.

Although he only had two tackles (both against Buffalo), Norris showed real promise as a speed pass rusher as a true freshman. He was expected to be one of the players to help fill the void left by Trevardo Williams' graduation. However, Julian Campenni's continued development allowed UConn to keep Tim Willman outside at defensive end rather than needing him at defensive tackle. With Willman, Jesse Joseph and Angelo Pruitt (another player who has the ability to play inside but is seeing time exclusively at defensive end) and Reuben Frank's quick adjustment from fullback to defensive end combined with the lack of experienced candidates behind Sean McQuillan and Spencer Parker led to Norris' position move.

Norris caught 20 passes and averaged 22 yards per reception as a senior at Archbishop Carroll in 2011.

Also, looking at the roster I see the addition of a couple more Cheshire products. Jonathan Hryniewicz, a senior receiver who transferred in from Central Connecticut, and sophomore running back William Weyrauch, who originally enrolled at Stonehill.

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