UConn Football Practice 7 News And Notes

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Minus the technical difficulties….Couldn’t post last night but here’s my original posting from Saturday night….

What’s goin on?

Practice was open today and there were some scrimmage-like situations within the practice.

“Whatever happened with the play [the ball] got re-spotted back at the original line of scrimmage and we moved the hash so the moving parts were ball movement in terms of field space, left hash, left middle, middle, middle right, middle, right hash and then formations, personnel groupings, defensive changes with fronts and coverages, pressures, who was rushing, who wasn’t rushing….

Diaco said he thought the players did that smoothly.

“I thought the players responded with energy and intensity, they played with passion, they played with animation. Maybe you saw something different but hopefully you saw animated players that were excited and pleased to be out there and guys flying around. That’s what it looked like. Obviously as things wear on with spring-ball type numbers guys get a little tired towards the end. That’s why we called time out and that was a good mechanical piece, to have the athletic trainers have to take the field and get water to officials and the players and coaches coach players during timeout so we were pleased with how they responded. And, you know what else they did, by my estimation, they took care of each other. So there’s another whole level of the game when you’re playing truly your opponent as opposed to when you’re playing your own team. You have shallow crossers that aren’t necessarily paying attention. Do you knock them off their route? You have defensive players in pursuit with offensive players that peel  back and you really can’t see them, things that would happen during the course of the game when you’re playing your own team, you need to be smart. You need to take care of each other.”

– Jacob Basillica, a redshirt freshman right guard from Oakdale worked with the first group of offensive lineman that included Dalton Gifford at right tackle. Richard Levy was left tackle and Kyle Schafenacker next to him at guard. Alex Mateas was at center.

– Quarterback Casey Cochran got much of the work with the first group offense but Diaco quickly said not to read anything into that one because the next practice another quarterback could be getting the most reps.

“We’re trying to balance everybody up,” he said.

“Cochran looked good though, especially his footwork but Tim Boyle and Chandler Whitmer looked good, too. And so it goes…. Kivon Taylor, who had been suspended indefinitely, was back with team Saturday on the exercise bike. Diaco said he was back but not “back, back” which could mean he has some other things to accomplish first before a full return.

– The wide receivers group “is probably ahead of other groups. That’s probably not a big scoop” Diaco said.

– The punting situation is improving, Diaco said. Justin Wain, the apparent heir apparent to Cole Wagner’s spot, is coming along.

“Justin is working hard to clean up his footwork…”

– Diaco said junior running back Max DeLorenzo can do all the jobs. “He’s got aptitude in pass protection, he’s got soft hands, good ball skills. He’s got a nice tempo as it relates to measuring his blockers and because of his nice tempo he’s got a good feel for our slow screen game. He’s a bigger body guy so he’s got some punch when he crams it. As it relates to him those are some traits he’s doing well. As it relates to the group, they’re all just trying to get better.”

– Senior DL B.J. McBryde knows this is it. He has to rock this year. It might be easier.

“I know for me coach has been working with me on my technique,” he said. “I’m one of those guys I’ve always had the skill, talent and blessed with God-given ability but the technique aspect is something I’m working on perfecting every day.

“With this technique I’ve had an easier time adjusting. I’m also learning not to think so much. It’s a lot less mental and a lot more physical just going at it every day, attacking. Personally, that’s the kind of guy I am.”

– If the receivers are the best group in the house right now the secondary can’t be too far behind. Both safeties, Andrew Adams and Obi Melifonwu are back and two solid corners in Byron Jones and Jhavon Williams among others who saw action last season. Melifonwu had a really good freshman season and has a lot of potential.

“The game has slowed down a lot for me. I know keys better. I’m more demonstrative with my calls. If I see something I know is going to happen I try to make the call and help out on defense but I’ve grown. I think the defense has grown as a unit, too.”

– Jefferson Ashiru, Marquise Vann and Graham Stewart were the first linebackers but again that was Saturday.

– DeLorenzo looked sleek, trimmed down and bashed a couple of defensive backs to the ground before they got their shots on him after big gains.

– The running back unit does a collective uh-oh when Jazzmar Clax gets the ball.




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