Answers Emerging to Wide Receiver Questions

Answers Emerging to Wide Receiver Questions

STORRS – No one knows more than Randy Edsall that UConn has a big hole at wide receiver. Eight practices and a scrimmage into training camp the Huskies' wide receiver problem is far from being solved. With the injury to starter Brad Kanuch (hamstring), the issue is even more precarious. Edsall isn't one to lose sleep about it however.

Even if he wanted to, the air mattress in his Burton Complex office where he takes up residence in summer camp and the cleaning crews' vacuums make sleeping difficult. What also helps is the emergence of several players who figure to be a part of the rotation this season.

Redshirt freshman Kashif Moore, senior Ellis Gaulden and true freshman Michael Smith have all showed Edsall just enough for him not to worry.

"When you look at it, whomever we lineup will do a good job," Edsall said on Friday.

Edsall did unveil a working wide receiver depth chart on Thursday without the injured Brad Kanuch (day-to-day) that goes with D.J. Hernandez, Moore and Gaulden.

Moore has impressed with his speed and ability to get down the field while Gaulden has beat the odds and stayed healthy. Hernandez is going to be the goto receiver for quarterback Tyler Lorenzen.

Working with the second team is true freshman Michael Smith and walk-ons Alex Molina and Marcus Easley.

Edsall seems to be particularly impressed with Smith, who is a Houston native who played in a pass-first offense in high school. As a senior, Smith caught 74 passes for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. That's not what caught Edsall's eyes however.

On Thursday's scrimmage Smith was blocking on a running play when the defender reversed positions. Instead of holding the block and committing a holding penalty Smith released the block. The technique was good, especially for a someone with less than 10 college practices.

"That showed me something about his savvy and knowledge," Edsall said. "We have been impressed at what he is doing.

"He has been consistent when he has done. He has been consistent with whatever he has done. Good hands, and a guy who was in an offense that threw the ball. He was coached very well and knows what playing wide receiver is all about."

Smith is well on his way to becoming a complete wide receiver.

"With receiver, besides catching, you have to have a great technique, you gotta know how to get out of the jam, know how to block, know who to block, where to lineup," Smith said. " You are another quarterback on the field and what to do an how to do it."

Smith is much further along than his more physically gifted classmates Brian Parker and Gerrard Sheppard. In fact, Smith and kick returner Jordan Todman are all but guaranteed to see some time this year according to Edsall.

For Smith, that's what he expected when he came to UConn. He knew the Huskies are thin at wide receiver and when he knows the team could use his talents.

" I can be a guy that can make plays and change the game," Edsall said. "I am a balanced receiver. I play the slot here, but I can take I deep. I am good in all facets, but there is room to get better and become a great receiver."

The Huskies aren't looking for great, they would take productive in a heartbeat.

Husky Notes

* Tyler Lorenzen returned to the first team offense this week after spending most of Tuesday's practice on the sidelines after poor play in favor of Zach Frazer.

* Kanuch is day-to-day with a hamstring while Lawrence Wilson, Greg Robinson, and Robbie Frey are all nursing ankles.

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