Huskies Preparing for Hofstra

STORRS – It's been a long eight months since the UConn football team walked off the field defeated in a 24-10 loss to Wake Forest. Not even a Big East championship ring could make quarterback Tyler Lorenzen feel better about watching the locker room of seniors take their uniform off for the final time.

That isn't the way to go out, and Lorenzen wants to make sure the disappointment of what could have been a great season slip away again.

"You never want to see seniors go out like that," Lorenzen said. "They put every amount of energy into it and we expected to go in and win. It's a burden. You don't want to see them go out with a loss."

The Huskies open up the 2008 season this Thursday when they host Hofstra, an FCS division school, at 7 p.m.

For the Huskies they walked away from the 2007 season with the best season in school history and a share of the Big East crown. Still the Huskies, with a plethora of starters returning, were picked to finish sixth in the Big East. That's not the kind of respect UConn expected coming off a 9-4 season, but it is a motivating factor.

"We still have a huge chip on our shoulder," Lorenzen said. "Last year we expected a lot, but we fell short what we wanted to do."

UConn coach Randy Edsall, who turns 50 on Wednesday, is beginning his 10th year at the helm of the Huskies. It was nine years ago that Hofstra destroyed the Huskies 56-17. That was Edsall's debut as UConn football coach. What a difference a decade makes.

"That wasn't a very good night. It was a long night," Edsall said. "A lot has changed since then. I just want them to go out and play good football, execute and have fun and get the season started on the right foot."

The Huskies may be the heavy favorites going against Hofstra but Edsall draws little from those David vs. Goliath comparisons. Thursday's game counts for bowl eligibility, and that makes it critical to any success the Huskies hope for this year.

"The kids know we only have 12 games," Edsall said. "This is just as important as any 12 we play. Week one counts just as much as any of the other 11. For us not to go out and play our best, and give best effort that would not be the mission and frame of mind that we have for our program."

The only similarity between Appalachian State-Michigan for Hofstra coach Dave Cohen is the division.

"I really only talk about our own football program," Cohen said. "That Appalachian State team had NFL draft picks and the quarterback may be the best player in the country at any level."

It was nine years ago that Huskies were dismantled by Hofstra in their final year of Division I-AA. Now, the Flying Dutchman make the return to trip to Connecticut to take on the Big East Champions.

Injury update

Running back Jordan Todman and wide receiver Brad Kanuch are out for Thursday's game. There is good news on other injury front however. Redshirt freshman safety Aaron Bagsby retur ns to practice this week and will be in full pads after missing all of fall camp with a leg injury. True freshman safety Jerome junior will not need knee surgery in his right knee while defensive end Mike Cox is targeting an October return.

Safety questions

Edsall addressed the depth at safety on Sunday with regards to backups Emmauel Omokaro and Glenn Mourning backing up Dahna Deleston and Robert Vaughn. Deleston was moved back to safety prior to camp from outside linebacker and Kijuan Dabney is slated to back-up Scott Lutrus at the Husky backer of Greg Robinson's chronic ankle injury keeps him out. With the injuries to Bagsby and Junior, that leaves the once stacked position at safety woefully thin. Redshirt freshman Jon Jean-Louis has been bothered by a hip flexor further depleting the positions.

"Getting Aaron Bagsby back will help us in secondary," Edsall said. "If Greg Robinson stays healthy we can do something with Dabney back at safety. Some of the linebacker depth and the safety spots. Those are the two greatest concerns from a depth point heading into the season."

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