UConn sports

UConn football and men's basketball news and notes from writer Neill Ostrout.

Huskies prep for Buffalo trip, try to focus on football

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Buffalo quarterback Chazz Anderson, a transfer from Cincinnati, has his helmet knocked crooked after getting hit in a game against Pittsburgh Sept. 3. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

A few notes and quotes from UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni and the Huskies as they get ready for Buffalo:

– The coach had a few more words about the changing landscape of the Big East and the conference realignment.

“I think it just clearly illustrates that in this day and age, people are going to absolutely do what they think is the best thing for them to do. They’re going to take care of themselves first,” Pasqualoni said.

It’s not like it was when he was at Penn State.

“This idea of loyalty to conference, region, it’s not what it was years back,” Pasqualoni said. “It’s all driven by the TV deals, the contracts with ESPN, money.”

It probably doesn’t bother the current players, Pasqualoni says.

“Our plate is so full with the season right now, we have not discussed it,” Pasqualoni said. “They’re watching TV like everybody else and reading the paper. They’ll have their opinion on it.”

– A few changes on the depth chart this week, most of which represent what happened on the field to start last week’s game against Iowa State.

Jimmy Bennett is now listed as the starter at LT, where he began that game. Kevin Friend is now “officially” at LG and Mike Ryan over at RT.

RB Deshon Foxx is now listed as one of the kick returners, a role he filled last week against the Cyclones.

Quarterbacks Johnny McEntee, Scott McCummings and Mike Nebrich (insert your own joke here) remain tri-starters, and tailbacks Lyle McCombs and D.J. Shoemate are also in the old “OR” situation.

“We’re going to have the three quarterbacks ready again,” Pasqualoni said. “My sense is we’ll make exactly which way we go at the end of the week.”

– Some of the problems in the run game last week were perhaps the result of the offensive line switches.

“Even though Mike Ryan is a veteran and has played a lot of football, it’s hard to take a guy from the left and put him on the right and expect everything to be perfect,” Pasqualoni said.

– DE Jesse Joseph (knee) is back at practice and could play this week. Joseph and Teddy Jennings are listed as “OR” starters on the depth chart.

“It’s going to mean a lot to have Jesse Joseph back. Jesse is a real quality player. He’s one of those guys that delivers every day,” Pasqualoni said.

Jennings’ play was a big positive, however, Pasqualoni added.

“Teddy really, really played well. He played solid. We feel we have some depth there,” Pasqualoni said.

– What happened on Shoemate’s fumble last week?

“D.J., because of the ankle, hasn’t gotten the number of reps. … His footwork is off a little bit. He wasn’t as wide as he needed to be. He needed to be a little tighter,” Pasqualoni said. “He runs into (Mark) Hinkley and Hinkley causes the fumble.”

– Pasqualoni was asked about some of the turmoil and change (new AD, new president, booster mad, conference changes) in his brief tenure at UConn. How is holding up?

“Great,” Pasqualoni said with a chuckle. “As long as we’ve got a game to play that I can coach, I’m in good shape.”

– Buffalo is coached by former Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn and is quarterbacked by former Cincinnati QB Chazz Anderson.

– The Bulls have already played a Big East team this season. They lost to Pittsburgh 35-16 on Sept. 3.

– This is the 19th meeting between UConn and Buffalo, and the Huskies hold a 14-4 series edge. Their last meeting came last season when the Huskies won 45-21 at Rentschler Field. That game was tied 14-14 at the half.

– Buffalo has exactly one win over a BCS opponent in its history, a 34-11 win over Rutgers in 2002.

– Buffalo LB Khalil Mack leads the nation in tackles for loss (7.5).

Jim Barbar (play-by-play) and John Gregory (color) will call the game on SNY, if you need to know. The incomparable Joe D’Ambrosio and Wayne Norman are on the case, as usual, on WTIC-1080, too, of course.

Categories: General
Neill Ostrout

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