Lawrence Wilson Out to Impress

STORRS – Redshirt freshman linebacker Lawrence Wilson spent all spring working with the first team at weak side linebacker and when he left for the summer the coaching staff had a message for him.

"Coach Edsall told me at the end of spring to come in with my mind right and shoot my goals high," Wilson said. "Anything can happen and be ready to play."

 

Starter Ryan Henegan was out for all of spring practice with mononucleosis and Wilson stepped in. About two weeks into camp Henegan suffered a knee injury, and once again Wilson was there to take his place.

 

Those reps in the spring paid off.

 

Wilson made his first appearance of his career on Saturday leading the Huskies with 10 tackles including 1 ½ for a loss in a 45-14 win over Duke. Wilson, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., was pleased with his first career start.

 

"I feel I played pretty good and pretty hard," Wilson said. "Most of the tackles came from watching film on Duke and knowing what they were going to run."

 

Wilson was one of two Huskies linebackers making their career debuts. Wilson was on the weak side while Brookefield's Scott Lutrus was manning the strong side. Grizzled veteran in senior Danny Lansanah was in the middle and there to help his young teammates along.

 

"I think they played well," Lansanah said. "With their first start they ran around and made plays. They picked up the game plan well and are quick learners."

 

Wilson has bided his time last season learning under the tutelage of Lansanah and Henegan. The 6-foot-1 220 pound Wilson, who was also recruited by Alabama-Birmingham, showed very good speed on Saturday against Duke and a nose for the ball. He had a chance at recovering a touchdown in the endzone after a forced fumble by Julius Williams, but was a little too anxious and let it squirt out of  his grasp resulting in a safety.

 

That is just one of things Wilson has to work on as he gets his second career start against Maine this Saturday.

 

"I'm going to look for (Lutrus and Wilson) to play better," UConn coach Randy Edsall said. "I think the more snaps they get, the better they will become.  Working the fundamentals and techniques is how you get better."

 

Wilson knows his time as a starter for this season is on borrowed time. Henegan is progressing and while he likely won't see time this week, eventually he will be back to full health. Wilson is fine with that. He wants to impress in his spot duty and show the coaching staff enough that they can find a way to get him back on the field.

 

"Ryan Henegan has been here five years and knows the system better," Wilson said. "If he comes back and that happens that I have to deal with it."

 

Wilson is also going to have to keep his emotions in check. He has family that lives in Danbury and Stamford and they are going to be in attendance on Saturday.

 

"I am excited to get the first home game," Wilson said. "Danny Lansanah said it was going to be a lot better than Duke. There are a lot more fans."

 

 

Players to start a Husky Walk

 

UConn will begin a new tradition Saturday with a pregame ritual that they hope will help become a staple in year's to come.

 

The Huskies will debut a new pregame ritual by participating in a "Husky Walk" prior to its home game on Saturday night, allowing fans to cheer on the Huskies as they first arrive at Rentschler Field.

 

The walk will be held about two hours prior to kickoff. Thus, the inaugural event on Saturday will occur at about 5:00 p.m. with the team's game against Maine slated for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

 

UConn's team busses will unload for the Husky Walk near Gate D. The team will walk along the road on the east side of the stadium (near the FanFest and blue parking lot) from Gate D to Gate C before entering the stadium at Gate C. Fans are encouraged to arrive in advance of the 5:00 p.m. start time to line up along the path and cheer on both the team and a procession that will also include the UConn cheerleaders and marching band. Paw prints are being painted along the walk route which will begin with the team coming through a large "Husky Walk" banner.

 

Notes:

 

*** Mike Hicks will start at right guard replacing Lawrence Green, who was injured in Saturday's win over Duke. Hicks lost out on the starting right tackle job to Dan Ryan this summer. Donald Thomas will

be at left guard, replacing Green's spot.  

 

*** Henegan will likely be out for Saturday's game, thought Edsall cryptically alluded to the senior linebacker not starting. It's unlikely he plays after being left in Storrs for Saturday's opener.

 

John Silver is the UConn football team beat writer for the Manchester Journal Inquirer. Read John's UConn blog at silversdailydish.blogspot.com.

 


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