UConn Breaks the Seal on the 2008 Season

STORRS — University of Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall has been playing a game of musical linebackers in his head this summer. When the music stopped, sophomore Greg Lloyd found himself in the starting lineup.

Lloyd had won the starting middle linebacker job before the first summer practice on Friday. Because Edsall desperately wanted to get Lloyd in the starting lineup, he scuttled the plan to move East Hartford native .

Dahna Deleston from safety to linebacker and move sophomore Scott Lutrus from outside linebacker to middle linebacker.

Deleston, a senior, is back at safety. Lutrus, a sophomore, is back at outside linebacker. Lloyd will be a starter. Best of all for Edsall, everybody was on board with the decision.

"I contemplated this all summer and looked at where we are and where we are going, and right now, we think Greg is further along than anybody else at the position,'' Edsall said. "We feel with Greg in the lineup we can take our defense to an even higher level than a year ago.''

The 6-foot-1, 214-pound Lloyd, who relies on speed more than power, was easy to spot at the outdoor practice field on Friday.

Only the sun was beaming more than Lloyd.

"I'm happy and most grateful to be named a starter,'' Lloyd said. "It was great news. It means I have to set the bar even higher now. I got was I was working toward. Now I'll have to work harder to show I deserve this.''

The 6-1, 211-pound Deleston, one of the team's top tacklers in 2007, seemed somewhat relieved that he would be going back to a position where the three-year letter winner has plenty of familiarity.

"It was a bit of a surprise, but I'm glad to be back to a position where I have a lot of experience,'' Deleston said. "I'm not upset at all. I can move a lot faster at safety. I feel a lot quicker at that position. And I know they wanted to get Greg Lloyd on the field.''

Lutrus, who can lay more wood than a cabinetmaker, is happy enough to be somewhere on the field where he can just hit somebody.

"I was starting to get comfortable at the new position, but the move was fine with me,'' the 6-2, 225-pound Lutrus said. "I'm not part of the coaching staff that makes the decisions, but I know that Greg Lloyd is a hell of a player.''

All the scholarship freshmen were at the first practice. Nine walk-ons are also part of the team. The only positions that appear truly up for grabs are at wide receiver and kicker.

Edsall liked what he saw from the freshmen, but wasn't about to anoint any of them as impact players just yet.

"I like what they bring to the table,'' Edsall said. "How quickly they sit at the table and eat, I don't know yet.''

All the other news of note involved defensive players. Sophomore defensive end Mike Cox is still recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of spring practice. His summer practice time will be limited.

Redshirt junior defensive tackle Brandon Dillon is enrolled in summer sessions and is eligible to take part in practice. He saw action in 10 games in 2007, but wasn't enrolled at UConn during the spring.

Redshirt freshman safety Aaron Bagsby had knee surgery on Thursday and will miss all of the preseason. He played only in the 2007 season opener against Duke before sitting out the rest of the year with knee problems.

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