Thursday, October 10, 2013

OT Kevin Friend close to returning for UConn

It has not been the easiest of senior seasons for starting right offensive tackle Kevin Friend.

Friend missed the season opener as he recovered from a concussion suffered in practice. He returned the next week against Maryland but injured his ankle after he was pushed to the ground during the first quarter. He attempted to come back in and play but simply couldn't put enough weight on the ankle to play. He missed the last two games as well. However, on a conference call earlier today interim UConn coach T.J. Weist said Friend has been able to practice all week long.

"Kevin has practiced, basically all week and he looks better in terms of being able to go," Weist said. "We are taking it day by day but he has practiced well."

That would be a major boost for the UConn offense as Friend's replacements (Xavier Hemingway and Dalton Gifford) are still a bit raw and have struggled.

When he met with the media on Tuesday Weist discussed the impact that Friend could have on a struggling offense if he were able to return.

"If your starting tackles are out on either end you’ve got problems. We haven’t had the depth, the quality of depth that we need to step up and take their place. Obviously we need that and we can’t go on the waiver wire to get more guys so yes he is very important for us, any offensive line that has movement, that has guys moving around."

Of the players considered to be questionable, WR Kamal Abrams seems to be the most likely to play against South Florida followed by Friend, CB Taylor Mack and WR Shakim Phillips. Don't expect to see either LB Graham Stewart or DB Andrew Adams out there on Saturday.

Weist said that Phillips practiced yesterday and today will be a key day to see how his tender hamstring feels.

"We’ll see how he feels," Weist said. "Taylor Mack practiced and he is still questionable. He looks a little bit better and we will find out at practice today.  Andrew Adams had a little bit of contact yesterday, he is truly questionable coming off of surgery so he is just starting back into contact from that standpoint. Kamal has practiced and he is almost full go for us and he is ready to go. Stewart is not probable, he hasn’t practiced for us."

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