Friday, April 21, 2017

Wrapping up UConn's spring game

If the opening couple of drives in the first and third quarters in Friday's spring game is an indication, UConn's offense could pack more of a punch in the coming season under new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee's up-tempo, no-huddle offense.

Tyraiq Beals caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Bryant Shirreffs to open the scoring and then Nate Hopkins tied the game with a 1-yard scoring run. Yes, I know it is a spring game and not against another team going all out to disrupt UConn's offensive game plan, but this is the first time UConn has scored an offensive touchdown in the first quarter since the 2016 spring game as the Huskies were the only FBS team not to score an offensive touchdown during the 2016 season.

"I am getting used to it," receiver Hergy Mayala said with a laugh." I feel like there are going to be a lot of those coming."

UConn actually scored three TDs in the first quarter as Tahj Herring-Wilson fell on a fumble in the end zone.

The third quarter began with a 53-yard TD reception by Beals and an 80-yard scoring reception by Mayala.

Let's get down to the details. The final score was Team UConn 27, Team Huskies 24. Players switched teams so often that it got a bit confusing trying to keep up with the accurate score.

Here are the game leaders
PASSING: Bryant Shirreffs 19 of 33, 310 yards, 2 TDs; Brandon Bisack 19 of 29, 222 yards, 1 TD

RUSHING: Ja'Kevious Vickers 9-54, Nate Hopkins 15-50 3 TDs, Arkeel Newsome 11-35

RECEIVING: Quayvon Skanes 7-75, Keyion Dixon 5-94, Tyraiq Beals 6-95 2 TDs, Hergy Mayala 3-111 1TD, Aaron McLean 3-57

TACKLES: Tyler Coyle 8, Tre Bell 6, Nazir Williams 6, Foley Fatukasi 6,  Junior Joseph 5, Tahj Herring-Wilson 5, Vontae Diggs 5, Marshe Terry 5

SACKS: Fatukasi 2, Cole Ormsby, Cam Stapleton, AJ Garson

FIELD GOALS: Will Rishell good from 44, missed from 47

The starting offensive line was from left to right: tackle Matt Peart, guard Trey Rutherford, center Dan Oak, guard Steve Hashemi and tackle Cam DeGeorge. Returning starters Ryan Crozier and Tommy Hopkins missed the spring game and all of spring camp but both should be healthy when the team reports for summer/fall camp in late July.

Defensively, familiar faces like Fatukasi, Ormsby, Joseph, Jamar Summers, Diggs, Brice McAllister and Anthony Watkins started and they were joined by defensive lineman James Atkins, linebacker Chris Britton and defensive backs Tre Bell, a Vanderbilt transfer, and Coyle, a redshirt freshman got the call.

I never got around to doing something on Hashemi and DeGeorge during spring drills but I did ask Edsall about them after today's event. Hashemi, a former St. Joseph of Trumbull star has seen time at tight end and offensive tackle and now he has a new position while DeGeorge will be a redshirt freshman in the fall.

"Steve is an aggressive guy, a physical guy," Edsall said. "He has good toughness and he is a guy who has been around, he's got experience. He is a guy who we think will step up his game. There are things that he has to improve on but I really liked his effort and liked his (physicality) that he has shown this spring.

"(DeGeorge is a) young kid that is just going to continue to get better. Has to get stronger, we have to put more weight on him and this next three months for him is going to be critical in terms of gaining strength, gaining weight to put himself in a better situation as we get going at the end of July."


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