JOE D’S NOTEBOOK October 17th
THURSDAY, OCT 18: It’s the start of the silly season with football and basketball intersecting while major league baseball rolls on. Throw in hockey and it’s a sports potpourri.
The main focus continues to be the UConn football team which shoots for win #1 again on Saturday at Cincinnati. While the Huskies certainly showed improvement a week ago, the bottom line is it was still a loss. Interim head coach T.J.Weist has said since the game ended, he is looking for playmakers on both sides of the ball but specifically on the offensive side. And particularly amongst his receivers who had their worst game of the year against South Florida. When you have a freshman quarterback playing for the first time, the receivers can’t drop as many balls as they did. Sure, some of the passes thrown by Tim Boyle were off target but to have the receivers, sans Geremy Davis, have the dropsies doesn’t help. We still don’t know if Shakim Philips will be back on Saturday, he has missed the last three weeks with the injured hamstring. His return is vital to an improved passing attack.
As for Boyle, he was ok in week one, which is all you can ask for game #1. He can’t force throws like he did in the desperate two minute drill. Against a team like Cincinnati, those passes aren’t dropped, they come back the other way. But I would expect Boyle to play better, even in a tough road environment.
The defense, which stood out in the loss, will have to be even better since Brendan Kay is a much better quarterback than the Bulls Bobby Eveld, the Cincy ground game is much better and the receivers are much better. Kay, who had a strong game in last years season finale at the Rent, is a multi- threat quarterback who can run or pass. He even punted twice in the win against Temple. Tion Green had a breakout game running the ball on Friday night and I would suspect we will see him more than the other Bearcats running backs. Anthony McClung killed UConn two years ago, catching eight passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cincinnati defense is led by linebackers Greg Blair, Nick Temple and Jeff Luc. They are tough and aggressive and haven’t given up a second half touchdown in the last four games
Pre game time with Bob is 10:30 AM on Saturday.
No surprise to me that the UConn men’s basketball team was voted #2 in the pre season American Athletic Conference poll and 19th in the first USA Today pre season top 25. Nice honors but as useless as the seven day forecast. Don’t forget First Night at Gampel on Friday. Bob Joyce will host SportsTalk from there from 6 to 7 pm.
Enjoy your sports weekend.