Edsall Pleased with UConn's Spring Promise

As UConn enters its final week of spring practice coach Randy Edsall is already thinking of ways he can use some of the talent that he has uncovered. The coaching staff will sit down the Monday following the April 19th Blue and White scrimmage and start penciling in a depth chart. Edsall is looking forward to it.

"We have a big nucleus of guys coming back out here and when we sit down on Monday, we will start talking about the guy we feel good about offensively and defensively," Edsall said. "I will feel good coming out of this whole thing as we go into the summer."

Edsall is enthusiastic for good reason. This past spring has been different than any other.

While past springs have been consumed by position battles – namely quarterback – or have become an introduction to the playbook, this spring practice is more of an advanced immersion course in UConn football.

The defending Big East co-champions have 18 starters returning, 10 on offense, losing only lose six players who saw major time last season. Add in a highly regarded recruiting class brought in last summer coming off a redshirt year and UConn has been humming along this spring like a well oiled machine.

"In our nine years, we have more in offensively and defensively than we have had in the other nine springs we have had here," Edsall said. "It is a bit of on overload. We wouldn't go into a game with everything we have now. This year, it's who can do certain things. We do have more guys who can help us in certain situations. There are certain guys who are just special teams guys."

For much is his tenure at UConn Edsall has been trying to build up the base. The base is there, now, perhaps for the first time, Edsall has an opportunity to mix and match that base as he sees fit.

The move of senior corner back Darius Butler from stalwart defensive back to sometime wide receiver is the most publicized experiment but hardly the only one this spring. Edsall has always resisted such exotic moves instead wanting to concentrate on the basics. After 10 years however a funny thing has happened – the team has the basics down.

Edsall has depth, talent, and for the first time an opportunity to exploit it. Butler's move would have never come if Edsall wasn't confident that Butler or the rest of the secondary could handle such a move physically and personnel wise. There are other options Edsall is considering. The wide receivers are weak, but with depth at running back there will come situations where Donald Brown and Andre Dixon will be in the same backfield. On defense, with a bevy of defensive ends with speed, the Huskies could maybe have a pass rushing scheme to get all that speed on the field. That would put ends Cody Brown, Julius Williams, Lindsay Witten and perhaps either Marcus Campbell or Kendall Reyes on the field at the same time -- setting up a monster pass rush. There are other schematic adjustments the Huskies can also use with such experienced and versatile personnel.

At every position, Edsall is mix and matching trying to find out what his talent is capable of and where he can use it.

"This spring has given us the opportunity to do see some of those things and look at these guys," Edsall said. "We can come out with who can help us in certain situation. We can be more situational oriented than past years."

Lorenzen questionable for spring game

* Quarterback Tyler Lorenzen rolled his right ankle at the end of last Thursday's practice and missed last Saturday's scrimmage. He is questionable for the spring game and if he is at all limited is likely to sit out.

"He doesn't need it," Edsall said.

In his place, Notre Dame transfer Zach Frazer moves up the No. 1 spot while Cody Endres will be with the second team. Frazer has flashed the talent that made him a high school All-American, but has also struggled with his mechanics that drew the coaching staff's ire. He is will ahead of Endres in the quarterback battle however as injuries and sickness have limited Endres' practice time.

Even if Lorenzen is out, the Huskies will play a full spring game instead of last season's hybrid format.

* Edsall put the gauntlet down on the wide receiver position on Saturday. The Huskies are without their top three receivers and the play of the rest of the contenders hasn't overwhelmed Edsall. Incoming freshmen receivers Michael Smith, Gerard Sheppard and Brian Parker are going to have a chance to play immediately.

"Every one of those three freshmen coming in is going to have an opportunity," Edsall said. "They will be put in the fire right away. I can pretty much guarantee that right now. If guys want to make a statement, they got three more days to make it. If not, there are going to be some long faces."


UCONN Playbook Top Stories