Some thoughts, news, notes and quotes from the Tuesday media availability session in Storrs ahead of UConn’s all-important contest against Maryland at Rentschler Field Saturday.
Starting with UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni who opened the presser by updating the group on the state of the team post Towson loss and during by week, then players.
“I thought our players responded very well from a disappointing game against Towson, which is behind us,” Pasqualoni said. “I say the old adage: the good lord put your eyes in the front of your head and not the back so you can see where you’re going not where you’ve been. We’ve kind of approached it that way, one game.
“Spent a lot of time last week making those corrections, especially in the support and the contain of a couple of those runs that got out on us; worked a little bit more offensively on base fundamentals both in the run game and the pass game. We had told the players during preseason that regardless of what happened we were going to come back and go to work again because the opening date was just so early in the year. I think it was a good plan. I think the players responded very well.
– C Tyler Bullock is set to return to action
– RB Joe Williams (arrested) is still suspended
– WR Kamal Abrams (knee) will be back this season but no timetable set for his return
On what impresses him about Maryland: “The big difference is [quarterback] C.J. Brown. He’s not only a really good runner. He has a strong arm and he’s just very confident. What he has done has boosted the confidence of the team because you’ve got guys there that can make those kinds of plays. He can make good plays with his feet, keeps plays alive, make a good play with his arm. Stefon Diggs is maturing. The offseason program has made him more explosive,… I like the fourth receiver Jacobs. Ross, the running back is a good player. Their fullback [Kenny Goins Jr.] reminds of Deon Anderson who you had here and I had with the Cowboys. Not the tallest guy but a very well put together guy and a guy that can block you. The offensive line three of the five guys are back from last year. With C.J. back they’ve got a pretty season experienced group. I think that’s really made a big difference.
“I think they’re doing well on defense. They’re pressuring on defense. On third down they’re in a lot of odd-look, multiple, types of blitzes. They’ve also been a 3-4 team. The linebackers are big, they’re physical, they’re good, They’re playing good in the back end. They’ve got good corners so they’re a pretty solid team that’s played pretty well last two games, steamrolled. So they’ve got a lot of confidence right now.”
Pasqualoni was asked if he agreed the defense was passive against Towson:
“I wouldn’t necessarily agree. They ran the ball 50 times last week. Five of those runs went for 101 yards. They ran the ball for a total of 201 yards, 45 runs went for 100 yards so it’s like Point A to Whack 45 times.So I wouldn’t say it’s passive. The ball got out on us because of some contain issues which I’ve probably said now 60 times.So you try to go back and try to address those things.”
Freshman receiver/punt returner Brian Lemelle on the muffed punt against Towson and making amends.
“I have to shake that one off and get the next one,” Lemelle said. “I’ve been staying after practice, catching a bunch of them to try and prepare myself to not have that happen again.”
Junior slotback Deshon Foxx (1 rush 12 yards, no catches vs. Towson) on being more of a contributor: “It’s the first game of the season. We’re running a little bit differnt offense to get a feel for it. I’m not worried about it. I felt good out there, comfortable, which was a good sign for me, my first year really contributing so I feel like when we get back out there against Maryland we’ll be able to make a few more plays and play football fast which is how we want to play.”
Senior linebacker Ryan Donohue on the Huskies defense against Towson. It was a base defense, straight up:. “If you look at us a lot last year everyone talks about ‘oh we were so good against the run last year’ the majority of it came out of our base defense because we beat the other guy. That’s how we like to play.If you eliminate the big plays, it was, really a repeat of last year, I thought, when you break it down. A lot of people don’t see that, a lot of people don’t understand that. I think we’re definitely going to getb these corrections. The bye week helped and I don’t think we’ll have another repeat of a 200-yard rusher…nope.”
Senior defensive end Jesse Joseph who sustained a ruptured achilles in the Maryland game last year on the defense improving from its last outing: “I feel like the bye week was big for us because what we need right now is to focus on our opponent and the film we’ve been watching, and I mean it is a lot of film on Maryland. We just have to remmeber what we have to do, their formations, how we counter-attack those formations,how we fit up blocks, how we fit up run, put it all together and come out a better team than we did when we came out of Towson.”