Monday, October 07, 2013

T.J. Weist optimistic OT Kevin Friend could play this week

It's looking like cornerback Taylor Mack will be back when UConn hosts South Florida on Saturday. On the weekly American Athletic Conference call interim head coach T.J. Weist said starting right offensive tackle Kevin Friend was able to practice on a limited basis on Sunday and he hopes to get him back as well.

"Friend looks good, he practiced a little the other day," Wesit said. "He is still questionable and once we do get him back, hopefully we get him back for this game, it will solidify that offensive line which is what we need. If you are weak at one spot, it really weakens the whole thing. We’ll see if I can get him out to practice tomorrow, he will still be questionable for us but if I can get him back that would really help our offensive line."

Neither WR Shakim Phillips nor LB Graham Stewart has returned to practice yet and it doesn't sound like Stewart is coming back soon.

"(Shakim) Phillips hasn’t practiced yet, he is still questionable," Weist said. "That hamstring is going on a little longer than we thought. We will take it day by day with him and it would be a bonus if we can get him back.

"He hasn’t been back, he has still been walking around in a boot, we will see if we get him back but I don’t think it is going to be any time soon."

The biggest surprise on the two-deep chart which was released yesterday was seeing Andrew Adams listed as a second-stringer safety. Adams saw plenty of time last season in nickel packages and he was in line to be a starting safety before he injured his shoulder in a blocking drill late in preseason camp. The thought was he would miss about eight games if he was able to come back at all. However. he was out there doing some non-contact drills on Sunday.

"(Adams) is questionable more than anything," Weist said. "He practiced the other day but it was no contact, he was really just getting out there and getting loose. He has come back pretty fast, he has come back pretty strong but he hasn’t really taken that first hit yet. We are not going to depend on him, it would be a bonus if we get him but he did practice some on the non-contact period so we will kind of see and kind of go from there."

So what would Adams' return mean to the secondary which has been pressing freshmen into duty because of injuries.

"It is unbelievable because he is such a good leader and the players respect him," Weist said. "When you’ve got a guy like that who has played a lot of football, the guys back there respect him and he gives you that solid force that you need in the secondary. We have some young guys around him who can so ‘OK, here’s a guy who is going to recognize formations and those things.’ He adds that maturity and experience."

Weist talked about the week in general and it was a week ago today when Paul Pasqualoni was let go as head coach and offensive line George DeLeone was also fired.

"It’s been a tough week for us last week obviously going through some transition, starting out 0-4 and not reaching our expectations," Weist said. "It is always tough to go through change and decide who is going to take over and how they are going to do it. Our players have responded well and they have done a good job from that standpoint. This offseason we had three good practices, we gave our players a little bit of time off. We are looking forward this week to getting back and playing football going up against a good South Florida team that did a good job against Cincinnati. Our guys are excited, it has been tough but our guys are excited to get back to football and really get a fresh start with a different perspective for me as a head coach, our coaching staff and making some changes."

It was also announced that the Oct. 19 game against Cincinnati will start at noon

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