UConn Football: News And Notes From Spring Practice No.7

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What’s goin on?

– OLB Andrew Opoku was suspended from Tuesday’s practice UConn Coach Paul Pasqualoni confirmed afterward.

“Andrew Opoku was suspended from today’s practice for a violation of team rules,” Pasqualoni said. “And that’s all I’ll say about it.”

– Pasqualoni also confirmed he ordered up an MRI on RB D.J. Shoemate’s shoulder today and he wasn’t at practice, either.

“I just wanted to be sure everything was OK,” Pasqualoni said of Shoemate who missed most of the 2011 season because of the injury and earned a medical redshirt as a result.

– QB Scott McCummings (boot left ankle), S Gilbert Stlouis (casted right lower leg) center Kyle Bockeloh (left arm in sling) were added to a list Tuesday of the already walking wounded including WRs Shakim Phillips, Geremy Davis and Kamal Abrams (none booted, casted or slinged), LB David Kenney and a few walk-ons. Add Jimmy Bennett (recovering from knee surgery) and DE Teddy Jennings (recovering from double shoulder surgery) and, well, it’s got to hurt not having them out there, too, at a time, spring practice, when honing on your position is key.

Pasqualoni said while they may not be able to practice physically they can mentally. At certain times they come out and get with their units to learn when the coaches are teaching something new or they should know. It didn’t seem like any of them would be out for an extended period of time but the coach wasn’t quite sure. He didn’t talk specific injuries for or specific players or timetables for returns.

– The Huskies have added a receiver/cornerback drills that’s and new and lined up one-on-one deep ball situations for a good part of the drill Tuesday. Saw one with the offensive/defensive line that should help both of those.

– The Huskies went thud again Tuesday meaning the defense tagged the ball-carrier and got off. The defense didn’t do any tackling. The crash was enough to halt the action.

– Always knew LB Yawin Smallwood was athletic but the way he jumped up and knocked down a Chandler Whitmer rifle at the line of scrimmage was impressive. Later in the practice he batted one down from Micheal Nebrich, too. He later had an interception, started to run but flipped the ball back to Sio Moore who took it to the house.

– Berlin’s Max DeLorenzo looked good at tailback, runs hard, always driving the legs. He’s more of a thumper than anyone running the ball for the Huskies right now at TB and really seems to have benefitted from the redshirt year in terms knowing the playbook, building his body…maybe he gets a chance.

– Whitmer was intercepted on one play. On the very next he threw a pretty bomb to Nick Williams who hauled it in and just outraced everybody. Envision the potential there for a minute.

“Any time you can make a play, if it was a real game it would have been a touchdown but I just read the coverage out, saw the safety rotating. I knew Chandler would make the right read and he’s got a canon so I just took off as fast as I could and he put it where it needed to be,” Williams said.

– Um, for the record, Whitmer was hot today, short, mid-range, the long stuff. The transfer was on. Threw darts and strikes to the target most of the day.

– Another scrimmage Saturday

– TE Ryan Griffin and DT Shamar Stephen got into it and had to be separated…..

Now you know the defense got in there for some. Offense? Gotta help your brother a little more if it gets hot like that again.

– QB Johnny McEntee looked good on a roll right and throw back to his left for a touchdown to John Delauhunt.

– S Wilbert Lee, impressive in Saturday’s scrimmage, looks like he’s ready to contribute and with Stlouis (who runs with the second team) down he can make a move.

“At this point and time they have me in a position where I can contribute to the team,” Lee said. “At the beginning of the season I was at running back, we were low on safeties, they moved me to safety. I just said hey, OK, I’ll come in [this spring] and do what they want me to do. They have a couple packages, blitzes, coverages. I’m in on a lot right now and ready to do whatever they need me to do.”

(Had some good laughs with Lee talking about this restaurant down the street from his high school, Boys & Girls in Brooklyn. I went a few weeks ago. He knows of the restaurant, a nice Soul Food spot.. He loves the mac and cheese there – me too..mmmm).


– RB Lyle McCombs on the company he’s keeping (DeLorenzo, Martin Hyppolite, Joe Williams, Shoemate)…

“They’re working hard trying to get on that field,” said McCombs, a 1,000-yard rusher and freshman All-American last season. “An offense that can have more than one running back running the rock all the time is always good so I mean, I’m not going to sit here and say I want all the carries. They can get all the carries they want as long as the team is progressing and we’re winning. Having a fresh a running in there that can do different things it’s a good thing to add to our offense.”

But let’s not get it twisted. McCombs was perfectly fine with 25, 27, 30, 33 or however many carries he was getting.

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” he said laughing. “No complaints from me.”

– New TE coach Mike Foley on…well..being the new TE coach (from offensive line).

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s a new challenge doing it and getting back involved with the pass game. Sometimes with the offensive line you get locked in a little bit. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good group of guys that works hard. I’m up for the challenge and if Coach P feels this is the best thing for the football team that’s fine with me because all I want to do is win and be the best we can be. If this is making our football team better? That’s what it’s all about. You know, we ask our players to be team players and it’s no different as coaches.”

– Lastly, Taylor Mack is back – as in back in the mix to play this season.

He played as a true freshman but not so much last season.

“I really had to develop as a player in the system coming in with the new coach,” Mack said. “Coach has to feel you out; see what you can do, so, there were some older players in front of me so I had to pay my dues, learn, get my technique down, develop into a player so that I could help contribute and benefit the team this year.

“I feel like the technique I have is a lot better, just progressing from last year.”


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7 thoughts on “UConn Football: News And Notes From Spring Practice No.7

  1. Igotone

    Wow… not an issue, just a comment/implied question; hope to see FBs better utilized this season; should help overall running game. Several options, different skill sets @ QB to choose from will also give us more flexibility. Will get a good seat for UMass opener to see.

  2. thomas

    igotone- weve got 2 quality fullbacks in reuben frank, and osiecki. Then more then likely shoey if healthy will play some fullback. How many scholarship fullbacks do you need? Yeah he might have deserved a scholly but you have to do what wins games. Having 3/4 scholarship fullbacks is STUPID. Why dont we just have 19 scholarship kickers. You never know when you might need a kicker who specializes in 25.7 yard field goals ;) I trust in Coach Pas. He was very succesful at Cuse, and i mean he did end up in the NFL and its not because hes not a good coach. Relax and let the coach make the choices.

  3. Igotone

    Watching scrimmage & Griffin-Stephen tiff, willing to bet Hinkley would’ve had Griffin’s back; still shaking my head why HCPP wouldn’t put his starting FB on scholarship for his last year of eligibility. Sad.

    1. dconner Post author

      No, not letting this go is what’s sad, really is. Four scholarship fullbacks will be on this team in the fall and this is still an issue with you? Sad is a good word here.

  4. Cheshire Cat

    Yeah Des my daughter lives about a block from that restaurant. Soul food and southern cooking. She raves about it.

Comments are closed.