Huskies Continue to Battle Injuries

Injuries continue to take their toll on a UConn football team whose depth is already thinner than Mary-Kate Olsen, while coach Randy Edsall contemplates some personnel changes heading into the Huskies' final road game of the regular season Saturday at Pittsburgh.

Edsall confirmed Monday what he had been fearing since the Huskies' 45-13 loss at West Virginia last Wednesday night: Freshman fullback Lou Allen and special teams standout Jimmy McClam will not play Saturday at Pittsburgh.


Allen broke the middle finger on his right hand late in the game Wednesday and is out for the season, according to Edsall. Allen rushed for 259 yards and two touchdowns, including one against the Mountaineers, in his first season of action. McClam hurt the ACL in his left knee covering a punt in the third quarter Wednesday and is out indefinitely.


Edsall said he will know "later in the week" whether McClam will need surgery on his knee, or if it would be wiser to let the knee heal naturally. McClam is a true freshman who filled in admirably for Larry Taylor on kickoff returns after Taylor tore the ACL in his right knee at Cincinnati on Oct. 15. McClam also had begun to grow into his role as the hawk on punt coverage as well.


With Allen out of the picture, the Huskies are left with depleted numbers in the backfield. "We're down to 2 1/2 backs," said Edsall, noting that the lone fullback still standing, true freshman Anthony Barksdale, is slated for shoulder surgery immediately after the season.


Edsall said juniors Terry Caulley and Cornell Brockington would alternate at running back, though that probably means that Caulley will see the majority of the action, with Brockington filling in when Caulley needs a breather, since that has been the case all season anyway.

No matter what, however, UConn will not use a true freshman running back such as Donald Brown or Andre Dixon just to provide token depth for the final three games.


"I will not burn another freshman's redshirt," Edsall pledged.


Another true freshman whose redshirt did get burned, Dennis Brown, will compete with redshirt freshman D.J. Hernandez for the starting quarterback's job this week.


While the quarterbacks are neck and neck, the punting situation has a clear-cut leader: Chris Pavasaris. The sophomore walk-on has passed sophomore Shane Hussar on the depth chart after Hussar's inconsistent kicking finally convinced Edsall to make a change.

"Right now my starter is Chris Pavasaris," Edsall said. "It's his job to lose this week."


Pavasaris, a left-footer, took over the punting duties late in the first half against West Virginia and got off three kicks that averaged 41.0 yards. Two of the punts had good hangtime, while the third was partially blocked yet still managed to roll 37 yards.


Hussar has averaged 39 yards per punt this season, but hasn't shown the ability to put any touch on his kicks, which has agitated Edsall on several occasions. 

UCONN Playbook Top Stories