First American Athletic Conference Media Day Is History

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And it went well, too..

What’s goin on?

It’s that time again but the Huskies are a part of the American Athletic Conference now and today’s media event in Newport under that banner was a pretty seamless affair. It was a smooth day. My compliments to commissioner Mike Aresco, media man Chuck Sullivan and the gang – nice job.

Now, the teams in the league have to do their job and win for more respect and notriety …

Anyway, let’s get to some UConn chatter since there’s been very little but, again, now is the time so, first to a couple of news items: No academic casualties are expected this year and I’m hearing the Jason Sylva to UMass deal is not carved in stone and that the young man is set to be in Storrs within a few days.

We’ll see what happens.

Wyatt Vinci left the program because his family moved to California and he was looking to play somewhere closer to them. You’ll also remember Jonathan Louis has left as well. I was told he wanted to play right now and Pasqualoni couldn’t make that commitment to him so he bolted…. All is well on the injury front.

The team reports Thursday and will open practice Friday (we don’t have the schedule yet on what days will be open to the media or to the fans but will get it to you ASAP). Pasqualoni said new offensive coordinator T.J. Weist will be in the booth calling plays during games. George DeLeone will be on the sideline with the offensive line.

Oh real quick because this just got passed to me and is noteworthy: Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater – the talented Teddy Bridgewater and boy is that kid humble whew – was asked about the pride he has in being tough and was asked about the toughness he showed in the Rutgers game [a 20-17 UL win] with a bandaged wrist and bad knee.

“You could say that,” Bridgewater said. “But also, that Connecticut game, even though we lost that game, I was injured twice in that game and I still was able to finish. I just try to put my display on at all times.”

The Huskies pinned one of only two losses on the Cardinals a 23-20 triple overtime thriller five days before the U of L bounced back to beat the Scarlet Knights. 

You probably know by now the Huskies were picked to finish seventh in the ten-team league. They’ll do better than that, especially if the offensive line does better which, junior guard Steve Greene thinks it will…

 “We return, basically, all five starters, so inexperience won’t be an excuse,” Greene said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back who have played a lot of football. I live with Kevin [Friend], Jimmy [Bennett] and Tyler [Bullock]. They’re like my best friends on the team and the cohesivness is there but we’ve all been working hard. We’re ready to go.”

Pasqualoni has been talking about the experience and improved play of the line. He’s been talking about freshman Tyler Samra since he stepped on campus as true freshman last year and 6-5, 312-pound Richard Levy was another guy. On Tuesday, Pasqualoni offered two more names – both true freshmen: 6-2, 296-pound Kyle Schafenacker from highly-regarded St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) and Tommy Hopkins, a 6-5 314-pounder from Hawthorne, N.Y.

Four or five more challenging the incumbents should make things interesting.

– QB Chandler Whitmer wouldn’t call himself a great golfer but he’ll hit the links when he can whether it be at Atlanta Country Club where he and his family are members or at Granite Links up in the Boston area where his father has an apartment.

One thing golf does, Whitmer said, is it allows him to slow down and think and a lot of times, football seeps its way into his thoughts on the links.

“You know when I’m playing golf I’m just focused, trying to get my zen down,” Whitmer said. “In golf, you know, you have to be able to stay calm in negative situations, high pressure situations. That’s something you can carry that over to football, too.”  

Whitmer said he’s also been impressed with the play of the offensive line.

Two of the hardest hitters on the team are the safeties: Ty-Myeer Brown and Andrew Adams, who really pack a punch – but who hits the hardest?

“I’m excited to see them both back together. It will be a good safety crew I can promise you that much,” said junior Byron Jones, a heck of a safety in his own right being moved to corner. “They’re perfect back there, always competing to see who can hit the hardest. I say Ty-Meer but Andrew thinks he does. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know about that one. We’ll see. They’re both 200 pounds now, too.

On the other side of Jones, Taylor Mack and Jhavon Williams are going at it.

“Taylor Mack is a baller,” Jones said. “I could learn a lot from that kid. He makes big plays. His height (a generous 5-9) doesn’t matter. He’s been making big plays. Jhavon is going to be competing for a starting job at left or right corner. If he doesn’t get a starting job he’ll be a member of the supporting cast that’s for sure.”


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