Edsall in No Hurry to Name Starting QB

Any UConn fans interested in getting down and dirty in a good old-fashioned quarterback controversy are out of luck, at least for the next week or so.

The Huskies (4-3, 1-2) have more than a week to prepare for Big East leader West Virginia, so coach Randy Edsall is in no hurry to say whether true freshman Dennis Brown will remain at the helm, or if redshirt freshman D.J. Hernandez, who could be healthy enough to play after cracking a bone in his left wrist two Saturdays ago, will be UConn's quarterback.

"We'll have to wait and see," Edsall said about Hernandez. "I don't know anything yet. I'll have to see D.J. on the practice field first."

Edsall was told by the doctors who performed the surgery on Hernandez's wrist that Hernandez would be able to get back on the practice field nine days after surgery. That was last Monday, putting Hernandez back on the field this Wednesday and giving him a week to prepare for the 18th-ranked Mountaineers, if everything goes according to plan.

Hernandez may not get another crack at the starting job, however. On Sunday, Edsall had generally positive things to say about Brown, whose first career start came Saturday in the Huskies' 26-24 Big East loss to Rutgers at Rentschler Field.

"He kept his poise throughout the game," Edsall said. "I was impressed with the way he took his team down the field for a touchdown after the safety."

Edsall thought Brown committed some mistakes that are common among true freshman quarterbacks, especially in the first quarter when the Huskies failed to get a single first down. But Brown did more good than bad when all was said and done. Brown finished 18-for-35 with two touchdown passes and no fumbles. His only interception came on a desperation heave in the closing seconds.

"For the limited time that we had to get a game plan together for him, I wasn't disappointed with how he did," Edsall said. "I wasn't pleased with everything he did, but I wasn't disappointed either. He went out and he wasn't intimidated. He grew quite a bit. The more he sees things, the better off he'll be."

Edsall has more immediate problems in areas such as the offensive line and at linebacker. The seventh-year coach had to refrain from criticizing his offensive line more than he already had after the game Saturday, when he quipped that he "just wanted to keep (Brown) alive."

"Thank God that he's mobile," Edsall said Saturday.

The blame shifted to the defense Sunday in the wake of Rutgers' 508 yards in total offense, 238 of which came on the ground. The Scarlet Knights obviously found far too many holes for Edsall's liking.

"I didn't think they played real well," Edsall said of the linebackers, specifically citing middle linebacker Danny Lansanah and outside linebacker Jonathon Smith. "When the guys up front get realized, usually a linebacker with savvy can compensate for that. I didn't think Jonathon and Danny played real well as far as the running game is concerned."

Edsall said he was pleased with redshirt freshman Jimmy McClam's performance returning kickoffs and covering punts. He also said Trey Tonsing's snap that ended up becoming a safety was a good one, and that Brown "tried to do too much" before catching the ball.

"He didn't understand the situation as far as where we were on the field," Edsall said.

In other news, linebacker Ryan Henegan (concussion) was the only Husky to suffer an injury Saturday significant enough to be listed as questionable for the West Virginia game. ... Edsall said a nerve in running back Terry Caulley's right knee is "fatigued" and the junior could use some rest. Caulley rushed for 26 yards, his lowest total of the season, Saturday. Edsall blamed the offensive line for Caulley's struggles against Rutgers, then added, "I don't think he'll ever be 100 percent." ... Edsall said he doesn't plan to play sophomore defensive tackle Afa Anoai at all this season. Anoai has been bothered by various nagging injuries. Anoai did not redshirt as a freshman in 2004.

UCONN Playbook Top Stories