photo credit: Steve Clancy via photopin cc More »

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UConn in the NFL – Week 3

Week 3 left us with some good and some bad for our UConn alums in the NFL.  A pair of former Huskies are doing quite well for themselves in San Diego.  Donald Brown had a nice game, and now with Woodhead being out for the year, and Mathews not coming back for a few weeks, he is definately THE guy in San Diego out of the backfield for the next few weeks.  Kendall Reyes had a nice game as well, getting his first sack of the season, and was a big part of a defense that held Buffalo’s running game in check.  Also, have to mention Danny Lansanah’s pick 6 against ATL.

On the negative side, injuries played a huge part of week 3 for our UConn alums.  Tyvon Branch was having a nice game for Oakland, until he left with what’s being reported as a fractured foot.  Branch missed most of last season, and this latest injury looks to keep him out for a considerable amount of time.  That’s too bad, because Tyvon was reminding us all how good of a player he is, looking really good over the first 3 weeks.  Marcus Easley also left the game with an MCL sprain.  He’ll likely be out 4-6 weeks.  Also, LB Sio Moore was inactive with an ankle injury.

Week 3 Stats:

Passing

  • Dan Orlovsky – DET: DNP

Rushing

  • Donald Brown – SD: 31 carries for 62 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 14 yds
  • Jordan Todman – JAX: 1 carry for 10 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 10 yds
  • Anthony Sherman – KC: 1 carry for 4 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 4 yds

Receiving

  • Marcus Easley – BUF: 0 rec for 0 yards
  • Nick Williams – WASH: DNP (Practice Squad)
  • Ryan Griffin – HOU: 0 rec for 0 yds, 0 TD’s
  • Donald Brown – SD: 5 rec for 27 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 6 yds
  • Jordan Todman – JAX: 1 rec for 5 yds, 0 TD’s, Long of 5 yds
  • Anthony Sherman – KC: 1 Rec for 1 yd, 0 TD’s, Long of 1 yd

Defense

  • Shamar Stephen – MIN: 0 Tackles
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson – TEN: 3 tackles
  • Sio Moore – OAK: INACTIVE
  • Tyvon Branch – OAK: 12 Tackles – LEFT WITH INJURY
  • Robert McClain – ATL: 7 Tackles
  • Dwayne Gratz – JAX: 7 Tackles
  • Danny Lansanah – TB: 4 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 TD
  • Darius Butler – IND: 2 Tackles
  • Kendall Reyes – SD: 4 Tackles. 1 Sack

Special Teams

  • Jordan Todman – JAX: 1 KO Return for 26yards, 26.0 AVG, 0 TD’s
  • Marcus Easley – BUF: 0 ST Tackles – LEFT WITH INJURY
  • Anthony Sherman – KC: 0 ST Tackles

Season Stats:

Passing

  • Dan Orlovsky – DET: DNP

Rushing

  • Donald Brown – SD: 40 carries for 81 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 16 yds
  • Jordan Todman – JAX: 4 carries for 16 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 10 yds
  • Anthony Sherman – KC: 2 carries for 8 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 4 yds

Receiving

  • Marcus Easley – BUF: 0 rec for 0 yards
  • Nick Williams – WASH/FA: CURRENTLY A FREE AGENT
  • Ryan Griffin – HOU: 1 rec for 6 yds, 0 TD’s, Long of 6 yds
  • Donald Brown – SD: 8 rec for 37 yards, 0 TD’s, Long of 6 yds
  • Jordan Todman – JAX: 1 rec for 5 yds, 0 TD’s, Long of 5 yds
  • Anthony Sherman – KC: 1 Rec for 1 yard, Long of 1 yd

Defense

  • Shamar Stephen – MIN: 4 Tackles
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson – TEN: 12 tackles
  • Sio Moore – OAK: 19 tackles, 1 Sack, 2 Forced Fumbles
  • Tyvon Branch – OAK: 19 Tackles, 1 Sack
  • Robert McClain – ATL: 14 Tackles, 1 INT
  • Dwayne Gratz – JAX: 16 Tackles
  • Danny Lansanah – TB: 8 Tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD
  • Darius Butler – IND: 11 Tackles
  • Kendall Reyes – SD: 5 Tackles, 1 Sack

Special Teams

  • Jordan Todman – JAX: 8 KO Returns for 199 yards, 24.9 AVG, 0 TD’s
  • Marcus Easley – BUF: 5 ST Tackles
  • Anthony Sherman – KC: 1 ST Tackle

 

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Huskies Need to Regain Focus Heading into Temple

@MattSchonvisky

The Huskies return to action Saturday to open the conference home slate against Temple, who are fresh off a 59-0 win over Delaware State. These are not your father’s Temple Owls (2-1, 0-0 AAC), who are averaging 40 points per game and have a win on the road over an SEC opponent, to open their 2014 campaign. The Huskies will need to clean things up not only on the offensive line, but mentally as well.

Four false starts, three of which were committed by the tight ends, was just another item that plagued the UConn offense on Friday night in Tampa. It’s just another thing that hampers winning, something I was able to ask Bob Diaco about during Sunday’s teleconference with the media.

“That was very disappointing,” Diaco said. “You had three instances of third down and short that turned into third down and long. That’s losing. Think about that, we were 0-9 on third down on the day, that we had an opportunity at the end of the game, to win the game. It’s incredible, it really is. Those are the things the guys need to see. There needs to be a higher level of detail and discipline, at the tight end position in particular, that needs to be a hallmark of how we play. We can’t do that, we can’t have those procedure penalties.”

There has been a lot of talk, including by myself, surrounding the play calling on Friday night. I asked Diaco how field position affected those decisions.

“Listen, it was a huge factor,” Diaco said. “Just so everyone knows, as it relates to play calling, I shut down the passing, I did because I believe in that. I’m watching the game, I’m watching the special teams, I’m watching the defense play. I got a chance to watch our first four passes and if I didn’t intervene then I was concerned that the game would have been 35-0, 28-0. I’m more inclined to play ping pong and win the game on defense and special teams, than just continue call plays on offense, just to call plays on offense. So based on climate, based on the early passes that I saw and based on field position being backed up as much as we were, that’s why the play pattern started to tilt, which was exactly what we needed to do, which gave us an opportunity to win the game at the end.”

Diaco was also available yesterday, during the weekly AAC conference call.

RECAPPING THE 17-14 LOSS TO USF:

“It was an opportunity to go on the road for first time with the program. In many ways, we operated really well in a lot of areas. Again, we continued to play very young, as an immature, inexperienced football team, which was by design. We never quit, never gave up and continued to fight and had a chance to win it at the end but we just couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to capitalize.”

ON TEMPLE:

“This is a really excellent Temple team, another game at home which is great and the team needs to improve after another week of practice.”

ON WR GEREMY DAVIS:

“He leads by example, always the way you want it done. He walks the walk and talks the talk. He is one of, if not the hardest worker on team. He has incredible skill, incredible talent and incredible production to go along with it. He’s a great example of how to be and how to do your business.”

ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE DEFENSE:

“We are getting better, from a leadership point it’s really good. Marquise Vann, as a leader, he’s doing a nice job and Byron Jones is doing a nice job, as is Andrew Adams, who’s really stepped up his play. Our young guys in front have the ability to lead, some are freshman, but have ability to lead. They are gaining a more comprehensive knowledge, spending more time studying the nuances of offensive personnel and their tendencies and how they attack. Each week the defense is getting better and better.”

ON THE WEATHER ON FRIDAY NIGHT:

“I think it becomes hard to throw and you get a bit one dimensional, which was case for both teams. It wasn’t the main reason why we went to that style of play. Weather like that impacts the kicking game incredibly, catching, kicking, everything becomes a problem. The football was good, the field held up nicely, but the wet ball becomes an issue and the weather is also an overall distraction. Both teams were playing in it, so the playing field was leveled that way and it was a great experience for the guys.”

ON WHAT CHALLENGES TEMPLE PRESENTS: 

“They are really explosive on offense. They present some challenges with eye key progression, guys are spread out all over, they really attack the alley and the perimeter on almost every down. They are good, physical guys that are fundamentally sound and you can see that in how they play. They are a well coached bunch of gyys that look like that are believing right now.”

We will have much more coverage leading into the Temple game today, as Diaco holds his weekly press conference with the media. 

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News Links, 9/23

Football
AAC Notebook: No. 23 East Carolina Storms Onto National Scene, Courant
St. Mark’s McLean emerging as a special talent, ESPN
Temple Now Focusing On Conference Opener Saturday At UConn, CBS Philly
National writer: Michigan football still most miserable (Top 10 most miserable), Detroit Free Press
Source: Marcus Easley to miss 4-6 weeks, ESPN

Men’s Hoops
Steve Enoch: A ‘Husky In Training’ Under Jere Quinn at St. Thomas More, Courant
UConn men’s basketball appears strong as ever on recruiting trail, Register
Isaiah Briscoe plans official visits to UConn and Missouri, Kentucky visit in the works, NJ.com
Isaiah Briscoe talks visit with Kentucky and coach John Calipari, NJ.com
Cavs notebook: No Jesus Shuttlesworth, New Philadelphia Times Reporter

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Memo to ESPN: Criminals, Malcontents Should Not Be Glorified

@MattSchonvisky

Saturday night showcased an inexplicable display by a team of producers at ABC/ESPN, who were completely out-of-touch with reality, during the broadcast of Saturday Night Football, between Florida State and Clemson.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, as the media, after all, handed the 2013 Heisman Trophy to a criminal, who, less than a year ago, was also in the middle of a rape investigation. The pawns in the chess game of covering college football, salivate and pant at the mere thought of seeing the ‘student athlete’ they have deemed, the most charismatic to ever dawn a helmet and set of shoulder pads. Pavlov would be proud.

Here are just the known incidents that Jameis Winston has been involved with:

November, 2012 – A pellet gun incident leaves 13 windows broken at an apartment complex on campus at Florida State. The complex manager is stopped from evicting Winston after a representative from the FSU athletic department promises the damages will be fully paid for.

Late 2012 – Police are called after Winston is seen stealing soda from a Burger King. The restaurant owner decided not to press charges after learning who it was.

2013 – Winston was the prime suspect in a rape investigation. That ‘investigation,’ was a comedy in itself, that had, ‘we will protect the star quarterback from one of our state schools,’ written all over it. The Florida authorities and lawyers involved, made jokes and laughed extensively during the announcement that no charges would be filed. It was a completely unprofessional act in itself, considering they were talking about a matter that involved a girl being raped.

April, 2014 – Winston was issued a civil citation for stealing crab legs and crawfish from a Florida Publix. He was actually disciplined here, being suspended from the FSU baseball team.

September, 2014 – Winston is seen making lewd public comments about the female anatomy in yet another display of his, ‘I can get away with anything’ attitude.

Despite his many failures to act like a responsible human being, Winston had never missed a football game, until Saturday night. He was suspended by head coach Jimbo Fisher, who, at this point is just an accomplice in this parody, following Winston’s latest incident. Fisher had originally suspended Winston for only the first half, you know, being a big game and all, before removing him for the entire game late Friday night.

Winston, who took the field for warm-ups in full pads and helmet, apparently didn’t get the memo. Fisher immediately ordered Winston back to the locker room, much to a bewildered reaction from the ‘stand-up’ QB.

This action, however, did not prevent Winston from being on the sidelines for kickoff and did ESPN ever fall to their knees. Any play, positive, negative or neutral, generated a prompt panning to the obnoxious reaction of the suspended quarterback.

To the naked eye, Winston received more air time on Saturday night, than any player or coach on the field at Doak Campbell Stadium. Not bad for a suspension, huh?

The story behind Winston and his history would have changed dramatically had his rape investigation taken place here in 2014, instead of a year ago. In the midst of the NFL domestic violence drama, it’s hard to believe he would still be enrolled at Florida State, especially with the four other incidents that were documented above, but why is this the case?

Do we now care more about women being the subject of violence from men than we did a year ago? That would be hard to believe.

Regardless, the decision to put Winston on camera as often as was seen on Saturday was incomprehensible. Rewarding someone who acts as selfishly as he does, is a disgrace and disservice to all outstanding citizens on the Florida State roster. Winston, the face of the program, brings down not only the reputation of his teammates, but the school as well.

As if the Jameis Winston promo shoot on Saturday wasn’t enough, fast forward just ten hours to Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN. There sits Ray Lewis, the former murder suspect, who plead guilty to obstruction of justice during that investigation, before becoming the ‘over the top in your face,’ face of the NFL during his final playing season, two years ago.

Well, the ‘Worldwide Leader’ promoted Lewis from the Monday night set last season, to the full-time NFL Countdown crew on Sunday’s.

Yesterday, Lewis preached about how to handle difficult situations when talking about his friend, Ray Rice’s, domestic violence investigation.

“We’re here because we saw a friend of mine brutally hit his wife in the face in an elevator,” Lewis said. “There’s some things you can cover up, and then there’s some things you can’t.”

Is that Lewis justifying him covering up the accounts of what happened when two men lost their life in his presence fourteen years ago?

Ray can act like a preacher all he wants, can gloat in his success and ridiculous media adoration over his play at linebacker and the belief of the executives at ESPN that his employment is a good idea, but he cannot fool America.

ESPN should be ashamed.

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UCONN Drops Conference Opener, On Road to USF

@MattSchonvisky

Bob Diaco lost his first conference game tonight in Tampa, as UConn (1-3, 0-1 AAC) fell to USF (2-2, 1-0) 17-14 at Raymond James Stadium.

With all the play calling that will be talked about ad nauseum this week, is the fact the Huskies lost the game in the first couple of minutes, once again. Left tackle Richard Levy let his man go unblocked, who strip sacked Chandler Whitmer from behind. The fumble was recovered by USF at their own 19-yard line.

Four plays later it was 7-0 Bulls in just 3:38. Head coach Bob Diaco reportedly said that play caused him and his staff to determine if the line can’t block, the only thing they will do is run.

This concurs what Diaco said at media day in August, in Newport, RI. “If we turn the ball over, we’ll just run it every play, I’m serious,” he said. “You can’t win the game if you turn it over.”

That philosophy undoubtedly cost the Huskies the game as UConn promptly went three and out and USF went on a 10 play, 80-yard drive that was capped with a 30-yard touchdown pass from QB Mike White to WR Rodney Adams on 4th and 10. Once again, safety Obi Melfonwu was a step behind, but we will have much more on that later this week(we will ask Diaco about his play again this week).

The rest of the game saw both teams pack it in on the play-calling front, but especially UCONN. A field position battle ensued that saw the Huskies begin four consecutive series inside their own 15-yard line. Apparently not wanting to risk another strip sack, the offense threw in the towel on the passing game and decided to feature a different running back, exclusively, on each set of downs.

In an effort to grasp for anything positive, Diaco is correct, the team did not quit after falling behind 14-0. The defense was spectacular, including CB Byron Jones’ 70-yard interception return for a touchdown that cut the USF lead to 14-7 just before halftime and a goal line stand midway through the fourth quarter.

When the staff finally opened it up with 1:57 to go, Whitmer led the Huskies on a 4 play, 75-yard touchdown drive, in which he hit WR Geremy Davis on a 32-yard catch and run for a touchdown.

The score brought the Huskies to within 3, with just over a minute to play. The Huskies attempted an onside kick with K Bobby Puyol, but USF recovered and an offsides was called on the Huskies anyway, so it didn’t really matter.

Diaco has stressed from week to week the importance of pre-snap penalties, which were abundant in the Huskies first road game of the year. In total, UConn committed 9 penalties for 49 yards.

The other key stat from the game is time of possession. With the game plan changing the way it did, UConn controlled the ball for just under 21 minutes, USF for 39. That will tire any defense.

Diaco mentioned prior to the game simplifying everything for the offensive line. Well, it’s no doubt, the Huskies did the same thing with the play calling.

The players can’t win the game, if they can’t do what they are good at. The coaches took their best threat, the speed and quickness of their receivers, particularly Geremy Davis and Deshonn Foxx and refused to attack down field until there were less than two minutes remaining.

For a team that cannot run the ball, it will be tough to win another game, if that is the philosophy.

In all, it was not a good night for UConn football on national television.

Report Card:

Offense – D – The players can only run the plays that are called. Running consistently against 8 and 9 man fronts is not going to succeed, but the offensive line was the main reason for the play calling. I have no idea how Chandler would have looked had he been given a chance. WR’s? Same thing. The O-line gets a 0, while the rest get an incomplete.

Defense – B – Two biggest plays of the game on this side of the ball. A converted 3rd and 16 draw play that led to the game winning field goal and the 30-yard TD pass on 4th and 10. Other than that the defense, once again, did more than enough to come out on top, including Jones’ pick 6.

Coaching – F – I don’t understand the play calling and never will. Down 14-7 in the fourth quarter, backed up in your own end or not, three straight runs, especially on 2nd and 9 and 3rd and 8 are incomprehensible.

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1st Half Analysis

@MattSchonvisky

As expected, it’s a defensive battle with the offense very hard to come by. UConn made it 4-4 on the early turnover front when Chandler Whitmer was blindsided on his second drop back, nothing he could do.

The offensive line has taken some drastic steps backward tonight. The UConn staff abandoned the passing game altogether once the field position battle started as the Huskies opened inside their own 15 yard line the final three drives of the half.

As bad as it has been offensively, CB Byron Jones returned an interception 70 yards to pull UConn to 14-7 right before the half.

Field position has prevented Tim Boyle from making an appearance, but with the offensive line play the way it is, it doesn’t make any sense to try it out.

Second half coming up, lets see if the passing game comes in play.

Prediction still holds: UConn 20-17

 

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Huskies Open Conference Play Tonight

twentythree

LB Graham Stewart (2) and S Andrew Adams (22) will have to slow down USF freshman RB Marlon Mack, if the Huskies want to come home unbeaten in conference play
Photo credit: Kallie Elizabeth – THE BONEYARD BLOG

@MattSchonvisky

The second season is about to begin for the 2014 UConn football team as the Huskies (1-2) open conference play tonight at 8PM in Tampa, against South Florida (1-2) at Raymond James Stadium, in front of a national television audience on ESPN.

The game is a chance to build upon Saturday’s performance against Boise State, which, while a 38-21 loss, displayed the progress head coach Bob Diaco has made since game one. The Huskies had the ball twice in the 4th quarter, down just 24-21, with a chance to go ahead, before committing a couple of costly turnovers late.

Weather may be a factor tonight as strong storms are rolling through the area this afternoon and are expected through the evening. The game time forecast calls for a 40% chance of thunderstorms throughout the game. Should we see rain, there immediately becomes a greater emphasis on the running game, something Bob Diaco wanted to dial back on based on his remarks with the media, on Monday.

This will undoubtedly create more pressure on an offensive line, who has struggled in 2014, to put it nicely. However, USF gives up 170 yards a game on the ground (77th in the nation) and is 102nd against the pass. Therefore, one should expect the UConn offense will be able to move the ball tonight, in both areas.

The UConn defense, on the other hand, will be facing an experienced offensive line, who will be blocking for one of the nation’s elite freshmen running backs, Marlon Mack, who had quite the debut against Western Carolina, rushing for 275 yards and 4 TD’s.

Chandler Whitmer once again gets the start at quarterback, but expect to see Tim Boyle, as well. The offense moved quite nicely under Whitmer on Saturday, including 4-for-4 in the red zone and was probably a large reason why Boyle only saw two drives under center.

This will also be a test for Diaco himself, as he is coaching in his first road game as the man in charge.

Tonight will go a long way in determining how the rest of 2014 unfolds. Will the defense continue their improved play against a very athletic offense? Will the offense make even more strides to becoming the big play machine that Diaco regularly talks about?

We’ll find all of this out, tonight.

PREDICTION: Largely due to the weather, a defensive battle, once again ensues between two opponents whose last seven (7) meetings have been decided by seven (7) points or less. UConn wins 20-17

Recent History:

2013: 13-10 USF

2012: 13-6 USF

2011: 16-10 UConn

2010: 19-16 UConn

2009: 29-27 UConn

2008: 17-13 USF

2007: 22-15 UConn

2006: 38-16 USF

2005: 15-10 UConn

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UConn Football Schedules Mizzou, Maine; Announces UMass Date

As The Boneyard’s own Matt Schonvisky reported earlier today, UConn has added Missouri to its football schedule. The Huskies will tussle with the Tigers in Missouri on 9/19/15 and the return game will be at Rentschler Field on 9/23/17. UConn also announced it has scheduled a game with Maine of the FCS for 9/3/16. Finally, the Huskies announced that the second game of the UMass series will be played on 9/2/17; the first is to be played at Gillette Stadium on 9/10/16.

The Missouri series is obviously the highlight of the announcements. The Tigers are in their third year in the SEC after moving from the Big 12. Last year they won the SEC’s Eastern Division before losing to Auburn in the SEC Championship game. They finished last year ranked fifth in both the AP and USA Today polls. This year they are off to a 3-0 start and are ranked 18th in the AP Poll and 19th in the USA Today poll.

Maine finished first last year in the FCS’s Colonial Athletic Association. This year they were ranked 22nd in the FCS Preseason Coaches Poll but have dropped to 28th following a loss to Bryant last week.

UMass was an FCS team and in Maine’s conference through the end of the 2011 season. UMass moved to the FBS starting in 2012 and joined the Mid-American Conference. However, they have announced that following this season they will leave the MAC. It is unclear whether the Minutemen plan on joining another conference or becoming an independent.

Here is what UConn’s future non-conference schedule looks like:

2015: Villanova (FCS), Army, @Missouri, @BYU

2016: Maine (FCS), @UMass (Rentschler Field), Virginia

2017: UMass, Holy Cross (FCS), @Virginia, Missouri

2018: @Boise State

2019: Illinois, @Indiana

2020: @Illinois, Indiana

TBD: a home-and-home series with Tennessee

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Boise State Game Photos: Saturday, September 13, 2014

@MattSchonvisky

Photographer: Kallie Elizabeth (@Kallie_E) – The Boneyard Blog

(Click on one picture to launch slideshow to scroll through)

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UCONN Schedules Series with Missouri (SEC)

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Photo courtesy of: @UConnFootball, @UConnHuskies

@MattSchonvisky

The Boneyard Blog was first to report an SEC opponent was on the future schedule earlier this morning, while the Hartford Courant’s Desmond Conner confirmed it was Missouri.

UCONN will play at Mizzou on Saturday, September 19, 2015 and the game fills out the entire out-of-conference schedule for the Huskies, who will also play at BYU next season.

Rentschler Field will play host, once again, to an SEC opponent, for the return trip, on September 23, 2017.

Missouri is currently 3-0 on the year and are coming off an 11-1 regular season in which they took home the SEC East crown, before falling to Auburn in the SEC Championship game.

Future OOC Schedule:

2015: Villanova, Army, @Missouri, @BYU

2016: @UMass, Virginia

2017: Holy Cross, @Virginia, Missouri

2018: @Boise State

2019: Illinois, @Indiana

2020: @Illinois, Indiana

The Huskies still have an agreement in place with Tennessee, also of the SEC, with dates, to be determined.

 

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