EAST HARTFORD – UConn's Darius Butler wasn't expecting to see any time on offense for the White team…
Huskies Ready to Roll Out the Blue and White
Edsall plans on walking the sideline and may even pop in the radio booth for a little play-by-play action.
The negative pressure is off the Huskies' program this year. Sure, expectations will be sky high come the fall, as they should be, but that is a different kind of pressure around the Huskies' team. It's the good kind of pressure. Edsall doesn't have to promise others that his team can compete or apologize for a losing season. The newly sized Big East co-championship rings they will be sporting provides all the proof they need.
Sure, there are things Edsall is going to want to see from his team and of course he is interested in how they perform, but for the first time in a at least two years there is no pressure. UConn knows what it has and the previous 14 practices confirmed the fact that last year was no fluke and UConn is going to be very good come this fall. Edsall is going to make sure he and the rest of the team have fun. Itís been a blast for him this spring.
Nothing like having 18 starters back on offense and defense to get a coach to relax in the spring.
"In our nine years, we have more in offensively and defensively than we have had in the other nine springs we have had here," Edsall said. "This year, it's who can do certain things. We do have more guys who can help us in certain situations. There are certain guys who are just special teams guys."
What the spring has become for the Huskies is an advanced course in UConn football. They have the quick start instructions down. Now they have flipped the playbook to advanced settings to fine tune and maximize.
"We have had a great spring in effort and intensity," Edsall said. "My staff and I are finding out a ton about each and every one of these kids."
The only thing that has gone wrong are the injuries. UConn starting quarterback Tyler Lorenzen is out for the spring game with an ankle sprain. His top two wide receiver targets in Brad Kanuch and D.J. Hernandez missed all or most of the spring. Other players such as tight end Steve Brouse and guard Alex LaMagdelaine are also banged up. There are a handful of others who also have been injured in non-contact drills.
All that does is open up time for others to impress on Saturday. Zach Frazer will man the No. 1 Blue team offense behind a revamped offensive line that has two new starters in Moe Petrus and Zach Hurd at guard. Getting Frazer a full game is sure to help the sophomore quarterbacks development as the heir apparent to Lorenzen. That will also allow redshirt freshman Cody Endres some time at quarterback further building depth for next season and beyond.
UConn will also unveil its new look defense today with Dahna Deleston moving from strong safety to outside linebacker and Scott Lutrus from outside linebacker to the middle. The Huskies defensive line has come along nicely with Alex Polito taking the starting spot and redshirt freshmen tackles Twyon Martin, Scott Schultz and Jarrell Miller coming on strong.
With that depth and experience the Huskies have done things a bit different this spring. Cornerback Darius Butler is going to see time at wide receiver, the Huskies have experienced with formations that get both running backs Donald Brown and Andre Dixon into the lineup. There are other more exotic sets that are put in to take advantage of the talent base. You won't much if of that on Saturday (it's a televised game, future opponents might see film!) but Edsall assures itís there.
For the last two seasons there were position battles that were raged fiercely in the spring. While the competition is much better, the urgency of finding an answer isnít there. The biggest thing at stake is a lobster dinner.
"Last year we had offense vs. defense and in the locker room guys weren't even talking to each other," defensive tackle Rob Lunn said. "We're already jawing up the other guys getting ready to go. This is a game for us. The bottom line is we're all teammates, but we also all want to win."
Of course when you're the head coach you don't have to choose sides on today. You get to eat the lobster dinner either way.
Just like spring practice, today will be a win-win for the head coach.
Read John Silver's Blog at Silver's Daily Dish!
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