Dennis Brown to Start Against West Virginia

Randy Edsall said it might be a gametime decision on who would start at quarterback Wednesday when UConn plays at 18th-ranked West Virginia. But Edsall had seen enough of the competition between Dennis Brown and D.J. Hernandez over the weekend to make the announcement Monday.

"Dennis Brown is going to start, backed up by D.J.," Edsall said during the weekly Big East teleconference.

Edsall didn't say whether Brown had beaten Hernandez out by having a better practice week, or if Hernandez simply isn't ready to play again after breaking a bone in his left wrist at Cincinnati on Oct. 15. But the Huskies' coach did make it sound like Hernandez, a redshirt freshman, could use more time to heal. "I don't think he's close to 100 percent at all," Edsall said. "He only had a screw placed in his wrist, what, eight-nine days ago."

After watching Brown complete 18 of 35 passes for two touchdowns and one interception in his collegiate debut, a 26-24 loss to Rutgers nine days ago, Edsall has grown more confident in the true freshman's ability to lead the offense.

Edsall especially liked how Brown grew more confident and efficient as the game against the Scarlet Knights went on.

"He has to understand that all he has to do is follow the game plan that we set out for him," Edsall said. "He doesn't need to win the game by himself. He's just one of 11 players out there."

This will mark Brown's first road start, and it comes in a hostile environment: West Virginia's notoriously rocking Milan Puskar Stadium. Edsall has no doubt Brown will maintain his poise in an unfriendly atmosphere, however.

"I like all the things about him," Edsall said. "He has the ability to be a good quarterback at this level." Edsall has tinkered with the linebacker rotation. Sophomore Danny Lansanah will start at outside linebacker after a less than impressive outing as a middle linebacker, in place of the injured Taurien Sowell (ankle), against Rutgers.

With Lansanah outside, injury-plagued sophomore Ryan Henegan will start at middle linebacker with walk-on freshman Anthony Rouzier in reserve. Redshirt freshman Johnathon Smith is going back to a reserve role backing up Lansanah at outsider ‘backer.

Senior linebacker James Hargrave broke his thumb in the Rutgers game and has been practicing with a splint on it, Edsall said. He listed Hargrave as probable for Wednesday.


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