Sports

JOE D’S NOTEBOOK: UConn’s Busiest Time Of Year

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Ryan Boatright (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Ryan Boatright (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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WEDNESDAY, November 13- It’s the busiest time of the year on the UConn beat with football, basketball, soccer, hockey, field hockey and volleyball all in full swing. For now, it’s hoops and the pigskin that draw my attention.

Two games into the men’s basketball season, it’s readily apparent that this team has more depth than any UConn team in recent memory. Kevin Ollie can play the game anyway he wants. Obviously, the backcourt is still the teams strength, a backcourt made stronger by the addition of Lasan Kromah and Terrance Samuel. Kromah can do a little bit of everything and both ends of the floor. He can shoot it, take it to the hoop, pull up for a jumper and also play good defense. Samuel is an ideal #2 point guard and his understanding of the game, even for such a young player can’t be overlooked.

Amida Brimah is going to have a huge impact on UConn basketball during his career. His instincts at the defensive end are a skill set you just can’t teach. Yes, his game needs to be refined but you can see Amida has the tools.

But perhaps, the most pleasant surprise, and again, we are a mere two games into the season, is Niels Giffey. He is a more confident player, especially when it comes to hoisting up the three ball. The summer he spent with the German National Team did an unbelievable amount to improve his overall game. I think he is perfectly suited to come off the bench. He gives the Huskies an element that most other teams don’t have when they call on their reserves.

But it isn’t all rosy thus far. Getting out-rebounded so badly by Yale was a red flag. And the play of DeAndre Daniels in the first two games is something that no one expected. Not scoring can be overcome, not rebounding, that can’t happen if UConn is to be the type of team that people expect. It will be interesting to see how he responds over the next couple of games.

Detroit comes to Gampel Thursday night. They were the last non conference team to win in the building back in the 2001 NIT. Their roster includes Juwan Howard Jr, the son of the former Michigan and NBA star. 6:30 for our pre game show.

As far as football is concerned, I am kind of surprised that Casey Cochran was named starting quarterback but I don’t think it’s a bad move. He has played well the last two weeks in a mop-up role and Tim Boyle has really struggled the last three weeks, not all of it his own doing . Cochran works hard in practice and the coaches rave about his intelligence and energy and he certainly put up numbers during his scholastic career at New London and Masuk that would indicate he deserves a chance. But playing against the second string and playing against the first team is a completely different animal.

Once again this week, the defense will face one of the league’s best quarterbacks. The numbers that Garret Gilbert has put up in the SMU offense are something you would find from someone who is proficient in Madden 14. He fits in perfectly with the spread offense of head coach June Jones and the addition of passing game coordinator Hal Mumme has produced a great passing game. SMU has two receivers who have combined for 151 catches and two receivers who average over 100 receiving yards per game. It is incumbent that UConn gets a rush on Gilbert and makes him feel uncomfortable. If they don’t……

Pre game from Dallas is 1:30 on Saturday. Don’t forget we have a women’s game at Maryland Friday night starting at 5:30. Enjoy your weekend!

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