Joe D’s Notebook: 8/28/2017

It’s baaack… Yes, with the football season opening on Thursday night at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field (heretofore to be called “The Rent”) it’s time to get back to giving my thoughts on the Huskies. It’s been a great summer but I am ready to get back to covering the Huskies.

It’s impossible to describe the difference in the feeling among the UConn Football Family. The return of Randy Edsall has energized everyone. Without getting into specifics, let’s just say the last three years were difficult for everyone. Those days are over. Edsall may have changed some of his thinking as far as formations and schemes but his core values and beliefs remain the same. There is accountability among the players, they understand they won’t be given a position without earning one.

At Sunday’s weekly press conference, Edsall said he still believes the game is won up front. That means the much maligned offensive line will have to perform. There is one newcomer, right guard Cam DeGeorge. Tommy Hopkins has been moved out to right tackle after an injury plagued 2016 ,while Trey Rutherford has moved into the starting left guard slot. Along with left tackle Matt Peart and center Ryan Crozier, this group has to produce for the new spread offense to be successful.

Of course, the other big change is David Pindell taking over the quarterback reins. The juco has impressed Edsall with his poise and his ability to run the offense. He is soft spoken but is starting to take on a leadership role. Pindell has played in this style offense before and seems ready for the challenge.

There is depth at tight end with Tommy Myers, Alec Bloom and Jay Rose and at wide receiver where as many as eight players could see regular action. There may not be one receiver who has as many receptions as Noel Thomas but several could fill the void including redshirt freshmen Quayvon Skanes,Keyon Dixon and Mason Donaldson, converted quarterback Donovan Williams, converted tight end Tyler Davis and returing vets Hergy Mayala, Tyraiq Beals and Aaron McLean.

Edsall has been impressed with Arkeel Newsome, saying he is in better condition and has worked hard but a steady #2 back has to emerge. Newsome just can’t play every down and Nate Hopkins or Jason Thompson or freshman Kevin Mensah has to step up.

There are seven true or red shirt freshmen on the offensive two deep. You will see young players get their chance and I think it makes sense. See what the kids can do now.

Wednesday, I will post my thoughts on the defense and special teams .

Our second Coaches Show of the year is Wednesday from 6-7 at Grille 86 in Storrs Center. Because it is the night before the game, Randy will be on for the first ten minutes via the phone. Then, we will preview the season with my broadcast brother Wayne Norman and Mike Anthony from the Courant and Neill Ostrout from the Journal Inquirer…

It should be a good year and we are all looking forward to bringing it to you.

 

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