So when UConn coach Randy Edsall sees the 2-0 record and the 5.5 average per play he is relatively happy with the results. The object as Edsall sees it is to move the ball and win, and undoubtedly the Huskies have done that in two games.
There is one thing missing from that equation and that has UConn nation standing on edge. The passing game, which has been the focal point since the loss in the Meineke Car Care Bowl last year, hasn't lived up to its end of the bargain.
Through two games the stats are nondescript. Quarterback Tyler Lorezen has thrown four interceptions — he had six all of last year –and zero touchdowns. Lorenzen has passed for 270 yards in two games and has an 82.30 efficiency rating. The wide receiver corps hasn't had anyone standout and even the offensive line has lagged at times.
Then there is the bane of every college football coach – questions about the play calling. The brunt of the criticism from fans, message board writers, call in show participants and of course the media has been the conservative play calling. The Huskies rarely throw the ball deep and don't exactly tear up big chunks of yardage. The most common term referred to the Huskies play calling is "vanilla."
When asked about the play calling at Tuesday's weekly media day prior to Saturday's game against Virginia, Edsall immediately defended offensive coordinator Rob Ambrose and the job he has done.
"I don't have any problem with any game (Ambrose) has called," Edsall said. "We are 2-0. The game runs through me. Put the blame on me. I am the head coach, don't criticize my coaches, the buck stops right here."
The Huskies through the ball 22 times against Temple while rushing it 54 times. There were remnants of Tropical Storm Hannah that flooded Lincoln Financial Field.
"If someone wants us to throw the ball in the weather in that mess they should go check themselves in the hospital and get examined," Edsall said. "We have to be more productive in the passing game. I know that is what we have to do. Are we going to throw it 60 times a game? No. We are not going to do that. We are going to take advantage of our players and our abilities to try and score as many points as we can."
What it comes down to is personnel for the Huskies. If they had the type of players and athletes to throw the ball all over the field Edsall would do so. But, the recruiting of wide receivers and the quarterback position (Lorenzen came in as a JUCO transfer last year, backups Cody Endres and Zach Frazer have a combined five college passes) has lagged behind other positions on the field in recent years. The Huskies have a true freshman in Mike Smith and a redshirt freshman in Kashif Moore in the top four on the depth chart. There isn't an accomplished wide receiver in the unit, and Lorenzen has struggled with rhythm and timing in the first two games.
That has forced the Huskies to go with their strength which is running the ball, regardless of how ugly it looks.
For Edsall, results, not looks, matter most.
"Our society is flash and glitter and everything," Edsall said. "It's all about flash and looking pretty. Bottom line, I am trying to win games. I am trying to make best decision I can to help our team win games. Hopefully, we will continue to do that."
Edsall couldn't help commenting on the questions however. UConn is 2-0 and will host Virginia on Saturday night. The defense hasn't allowed a touchdown and offense has moved the ball consistently, albeit slowly.
"It's amazing that you have to have this conversation at 2-0, it's amazing. We were 9-4 a year ago, but, hey, that's the world," Edsall said.
RB Andre Dixon (ankle) and DE Lindsay Witten (shoulder)will all try and practice later this week and try and play Saturday. Witten didn't travel to Saturday's win over Temple as his knee didn't respond to treatment. Dixon played several plays spelling Donald Brown, but after his only carry walked off with a limp and is not 100 percent.
There is good news on freshman running back Jordan Todman's status. He returned to practice Sunday and may be available on Saturday. That decision will be made later in the week. As for how he will be used Edsall wouldn't say.
Edsall; "The Buck Stops Right Here".
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