Edsall Looking for the Right Mix

STORRS --- A week into spring football at UConn, coach Randy Edsall continues to shuffle the deck to get ready for April, when the action gradually gets more serious.

Still trying to find the right combinations that provide the best depth and competition at linebacker and defensive back, Edsall moved more bodies around during the week. And when it comes to player movement, no one is more mobile than Dahna Deleston.

The sophomore who was a strong safety last season and a "Husky" linebacker (James Hargrave's old position) last week is back at strong safety once again.

"He was struggling a little bit at the ‘Husky' position," Edsall said Saturday after practice on campus. "So we wanted to put him back at the strong safety position, where he was probably a little bit more comfortable. You didn't want to go too deep into spring without doing that, so we tried to evaluate it as quickly as we could. After four days we just said, ‘Hey, I think it's time to put him back there.' "

That puts Ricky McCollum, a junior who also was converted from defensive back, into the lead at the "Husky" spot. But a newcomer has joined the race. Junior Donta Moore, back from a year's suspension, has taken Deleston's place at linebacker. In addition, redshirt freshman Glen Mourning has gone from free safety to strong safety, and junior Donnell Ford, the castle in Edsall's elaborate chess game, has moved yet again, this time from strong safety to free safety.

The news from the front lines in the quarterback wars is quiet. Senior Matt Bonislawski, sophomores D.J. Hernandez and Dennis Brown, and redshirt freshman Billy Cundiff remain deadlocked. But that's about to change, according to Edsall.

"When we come out here Monday, some guys could move up and some guys could move down," Edsall said. "Different reps get distributed based on what we've seen for those particular practices that week. Now the guys that have shown in five practices that they deserve to be with the (first team) will get those reps."

While still sorting things out on the field, Edsall and his staff took the time Friday night and Saturday to entertain about 600 participants in a coaching clinic. One spectator at the clinic was Aaron Hernandez, the star Bristol Central High tight end who already has committed to UConn. Hernandez reportedly has been hearing more and more from the top programs in the country, but remains unswayed.

Edsall made sure to give Hernandez a hug and to pass along some kind words before the high-profile recruit made it out to the parking lot.


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