Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wrapping up AAC media day festivities

Getting around to wrapping up today's American Athletic Conference media day festivities a little later than anticipated but the set up in Newport didn't really make sense for me to work from there so I did most of my work after driving two hours to my home.

Not a ton of news to come out today.

Randy Edsall did say he gave Southington's Jasen Rose a scholarship last week. Rose was one of the biggest names in the 2016 recruiting class but he left the program just a few practices in last summer. He returned to the fold and will compete for playing time at tight end.

"He reached out and if he wanted to be a part of that, great," Edsall said of Rose's return to UConn. "He did and he is back with us now. I put him on scholarship a week ago. I'm looking forward to having him out there competing."

There was no two-deep chart to report on today and Edsall said he might not do one in time for media day on July 28. It's quite possible the first depth chart won't appear until shortly before the season opener against Holy Cross.

Edsall hinted at the possibility of some additions to the roster which is better than suggesting that some names will be coming off the roster.

Edsall was asked which position/positions concerned him. Punter was his first response and he said there's still question marks on the offensive line (stop me if you've heard that before).

"Who the punter is going to be?" Edsall said. "We're OK in field goals and PATs. We have a couple of positions on the offensive line that have to be sorted out. Having (center) Ryan Crozier back is going to help, that is going to give us some leadership and experience. Who is going to step in the offensive line positions. And to see who some of the young guys have matured since spring."

Edsall said he'd like to see more consistent leadership in the secondary. Linebacker Junior Joseph rattled off the names of defensive backs Brice McAllister, Omar Fortt and Tony Watkins are under the radar defensive players to keep an eye on.

If all of Edsall's decisions are as wise as the one to bring Joseph, tight end Tommy Myers and defensive end Luke Carrezola, it could be a memorable season. They are three of the most engaging players on the team. I would have added Foley Fatukasi as well and speaking of Foley, he was named to the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy which recognizes work in the community.

My focus was on the connection between Pennsylvania natives Carrezola and Joseph so look for that story on the Register's site shortly.

One funny moment came when I was wrapping up an interview with SMU receiver Courtland Sutton. When UConn headed down to SMU in 2013, the 1989 UConn at SMU game was mentioned quite frequently by media in Connecticut including myself since it was SMU's first victory after the program received the "Death Penalty." I asked Sutton if that game is talked about and he wasn't aware of it so that answered my question. Myers and Joseph were a few feet away looking to say hello to Sutton and Joseph thought I was referencing the 2014 game when a winless SMU team beat UConn in the regular season finale. I laughed as I mentioned that I was talking about the 1989 game.

Didn't get around to as many non-UConn players as I would have liked but had enjoyable interviews with the very personable Sutton as well as the USF duo of Auggie Sanchez and Quinton Flowers.
Sanchez said he has been in contact with Joseph via Instagram since last year's UConn/USF game and I including that info in my story.

For people who worry about such things, UConn was picked sixth (and last) in the AAC East Division preseason poll. Once you get past USF, UCF and Temple, the other three teams in the division could have landed in any order.

Verne Lundquist was the master of ceremonies. More than a few players and media members got photos taken with him which he willingly obliged. He also had question and answer sessions with all the head coaches. I caught some of the answer from Edsall about him not monitoring the social media accounts of his players. Unfortunately, I stopped taking the video just before he went off about needing to stop offering recruits as such a young age and doing so when they were juniors.

As I mentioned, UConn's media day is in a week and a half so keep an eye out for more stories then.


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