Bits and Bytes: UConn

Coaching experience, record watches and an odd comment from UConn are just some of the items in our traditional pre-game fare.

BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Sat 10/8/11 12:00 PM

Morgantown, WV

Mountaineer Field
Record: 4-1
Polls: 16/19
Last Game
B Green W 55-10
TV: Big East
Sirius: 92
Web: BlueGoldNews.com
Record: 2-3
Polls: NR
Last Game
W Mich L 31-34
Roster
Press Release
Season Stats
2011 Schedule

Series: WVU 6-1
First Meeting: 2004
Last Meeting: 2010
Roster
Press Release
Season Stats
2011 Schedule

Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast


BREAKING THE ICE

Eight different players have scored their first touchdowns in a Mountaineer uniform this year. Can you name them? Answer at the end of this column.


ORLY?

In this week's edition of its football game notes, UConn boldly proclaims, "UConn is the only founding school that is currently playing football in the league and scheduled to do so in the future."

While that is technically true, it's also technically true that ESPN is a journalism source.

No idea as to what UConn's intention is in including such a statement – and in italics to boot. Is it tweaking Pitt and Syracuse? Trying to counteract the statements of its president concerning conference realignment?


WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

Lat year UConn kick returner Nick Williams led the nation with an average 35.3 yards per return. He took two of those all the way back for scores, and was the most explosive part of the Huskies' offense.

This year, though, the second-year player is averaging just 21.6 yards per return, with a long of 37. Obviously, Williams didn't lose his knack for returns during the offseason, so what has happened? I've often contended that there's a synergy to kick return teams – a blend of talents that sometimes comes together to make the return squad special. Certainly Williams has a great deal of talent, but there has to be credit given to his teammates from a year ago as well. Maybe, this year, that magic just isn't there.


LOADED WITH EXPERIENCE

West Virginia's defensive coaching staff is often applauded for the fact that it has three members who have been coordinators – Jeff Casteel, Steve Dunlap and David Lockwood. UConn, though, counters that with even more across the board. The Huskies have four coaches (Paul Pasqualoni, George DeLeone, Don Brown and Mike Foley) who have been head coaches, and another two (Hank Hughes and Joe Moorhead) who have been coordinators.

When next season rolls around, fully half of the existing staff will have at least 30 years of college coaching experience. To date, there's a combined 196 years of experience on the UConn sideline. Wonder how many combined plays they've witnessed over the years, or how many hours they've spent on practice fields?


GENO SMITH RECORD WATCH

Smith's assault on the Mountaineer record books may become a standing item in this space. In addition to his ability to erase just about any single game passing record at any point, the junior QB is poised to erase a number of season records, and is marching up the career charts as well.

  • With 154 yards of total offense, Smith (5.011) will pass Avon Cobourne (5,164) for seventh place in career total yardage.

  • Smith (4,781) stands just 392 passing yards from Major Harris (5,173) on the career passing yardage list. Smith is currently tied with Dan Kendra for seventh place on that chart. Smith also trails Kendra by 38 passes on the career pass attempts list.

  • Pass completions are also under attack, as Smith (411) is just 17 behind fifth-place Chad Johnston (428).

  • Finally, a really good day could push Smith (37) into a tie for sixth all-time with Harris (41) on the career touchdown pass list.

    Any one willing to bet that Smith won't own all of these records by sometime next year?


    TIGHT WITH THE OFFENSE

    At Syracuse, Pasqualoni ran a multiple offense that ranged from option to pro set, but one common factor was a tight end that could catch the ball and make linebackers cover in the passing game. While the Huskies aren't that versatile, Pasqualoni's fondness for the tight end is still on display in the form of Ryan Griffen, who has 12 catches for 228 yards this season.

    Griffen splits time with John Delahunt at the position, but the latter is more of a blocker, having garnered just one catch so far this year. When you see #94 on the field, though, look for possible passes heading his way.


    ANSWER

    It's not just freshmen on this list, as it includes one senior, three juniors and a sophomore.

    Devon Brown (Sr.), Terence Garvin (Jr.), Shawne Alston Jr.), Ryan Nehlen (jr.) and Ivan McCartney (So.) join freshman running backs Vernard Roberts, Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie as first-time crossers of the goal line this season.


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