Friday, April 10, 2015

More to UConn's spring practice than quarterback competition

It goes without saying that UConn has to get better quarterback play than it did a season ago so I get why there has been plenty of attention paid to the quarterback competition but there are other positions that are also pretty important as UConn wraps up spring practice with the annual Blue-White Game tomorrow at 3 p.m..

Let's start at center where sophomore Ryan Crozier moved from being the starting left guard for the final three games to become the starting center. Fellow sophomores Tommy Hopkins and Trey Rutherford have been competing for the starting left guard spot. With experienced returnees at right guard (Tyler Samra), left tackle (Richard Levy) and right tackle (Andreas Knappe), the development of the center/left guard tandem.

The group of young receivers also will have plenty of eyes on them following the graduation of Geremy Davis and Deshon Foxx.

At the last practice I went to there was some 11 on 11 and 7 on 7 work and Noel Thomas really impressed me. He will team with three players he came in with in fellow juniors Dhameer Bradley and Brian Lemelle and redshirt sophomore Thomas Lucas to give the starting quarterback a diverse group of wideouts.

On the defensive side of the ball, the only position where a graduated senior started all 12 games was defensive end/outside linebacker Reuben Frank. Sophomore Luke Carrezola has been working with the first team at the practices I have been at while classmate Cameron Stapleton figures to push for time at one of more important positions on the defense.

There will be a fanfest tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Rentschler Field while the members of the national champion women's basketball team will be on hand to sign autographs beginning at 2 p.m. With Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in Los Angeles for tonight's Wooden Award announcement, I'm not sure if they will be back in time for the autograph signing.

Then comes the game which will be played like a true game except for kickoff returns and kickoffs. With no rain in the forecast and temperatures expected to be in the upper 50s, it will be interesting to see what the fan turnout is going to be.

The rosters for the spring game have been posted and it looks to me as if all the starters on both offense and defense are on the Blue squad with the second stringers suiting up for the White team which is a little unusual as it typically is the first team offense going up against the No. 1 defense.


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