Thursday, March 24, 2016

Shirreffs excited to air it again at UConn practice

During the first spring practice the media was able to witness, starting quarterback Bryant Shirreffs did take part but to say he was limited would be understating things just a bit. There were no such issues today as he was making throws down the field and even took off on a scamper resulting in a touchdown on 11 on 11 drills.

While the right wrist he injured in the St. Petersburg Bowl continues to be taped, he was able to make the deep throws in practice without having any issues.

"I think things are looking really good," Shirreffs said. "I am really happy where I am personally and where my body is. I am excited to keep making strides in spring, I am really excited to be working with a lot of the same guys as last year and we are getting to see our work in the offseason really pay off in the first couple practices of spring.

"The first time I threw was the first week of spring practice and ever since then I had found I have been making strides. I feel really good about it, my arm is fresh. Today was the first day I threw any balls over 30 yards and it feels good. I'll ice my arm up just to be sure but I feel great mentally and physically."

Two guys that jumped out at me in terms of catching the ball at today's practice were tight end Alec Bloom and receiver Tyriaq Beals who figure to be vital cogs in UConn's passing game this season.

"I've had a lot of a lot of classes with Bloom so I am around Bloom all the time and it is awesome to see him succeeding," Shirreffs said. "He is moving really well and his hands are working extremely well. Beals is as explosive as ever and all the guys are doing great, everybody is doing really well."

I will have a story on how redshirt freshman Matt Peart is handling his role as the starting left tackle in tomorrow's paper. The starting offensive line was the same with Peart and Andreas Knappe at tackles, Tommy Hopkins and Trey Rutherford at guards at Ryan Crozier at center.

I also caught up with Brice McAllister to discuss his adjustment going from cornerback to safety. I hope to have a blog about that posted tomorrow but with it being media access day for the women's basketball regionals in Bridgeport, we'll have to see how hectic it gets. McAllister did see a few first-team reps although it was mostly Anthony Watkins who continues to line up next to Obi Melifonwu. Omaine Stephens received snaps with the first-team defense at linebacker while the rest of the starters (Ormsby-Fatukasi-Myers-Carrezola-Joseph-Walsh-Summers-Williams-Meifonwu-Watkins) remained the same as they were during the first practice.

Third-string corner John Robinson had back to back impressive plays drawing a positive reaction from the veteran defensive backs on the team.

Starting tight end Tommy Myers continues to work his way back. He continues to do some long snapping and UConn coach Bob Diaco discussed the progress Myers has been making.

"I don't know what percentage (Myers is physically) but it is mostly feel and strength because structurally he is sound, he healed really well," Diaco said.

Pretty much all of the locally based incoming freshmen were at today's practice including Jay Rose, Keyion Dixon, Tyler Coyle and Nino Leone.


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