BACK TO WORK: After taking a week off for spring break, the UConn Huskies returned to practice on Tuesday, looking to keep that energetic edge that kicked off the team’s initial three practices.
“I think overall, it went OK,” head coach Paul Pasqualoni said. “There’s no question we were a little bit slower today than the first three practices. I’m sure that hanging out at the beach, I’m sure that laying around, you start to lose the training a little bit. But we didn’t hold back. They knew that we were going to come back and get right back into it. There was a lot on them, not only the physical part of it but the intensity part of it and the mental part of it. They tried hard today (Tuesday) and they’ll be better on Thursday.”
A LITTLE BANGED UP: Kicker Chad Christen was on crutches Tuesday, recovering from a recent surgery. His spring is done but Pasqualoni feels that he should be 100 percent for the fall.
“We had to do a little bit of surgery on Chad and everything came out good. He’ll be ready to go for the season,” Pasqualoni said. “We didn’t want to take a chance of going into preseason camp having anything wrong with him.”
Christen’s injury was a recurrence of the groin injury that he suffered the week before the Cincinnati game, which forced Pasqualoni to burn the redshirt on freshman kicker Bobby Puyol. Looking at the MRI after Christen re-aggravated the injury, the decision was made to have the surgery.
“He was doing fine. He was kicking a PAT (extra point) and it happened again,” Pasqualoni said. “Just warming it up, kicking a PAT. It was almost the way it happened the first time. He felt the strain. We rehabbed it and he was doing well and then he kicked the PAT and it happened again, so we said, `that’s it.’ We didn’t want to take a chance.”
Left tackle Jimmy Bennett was not in pads Tuesday but did participate in some workouts with the offensive line.
“Jimmy’s recovering (Bennett had off-season shoulder surgery) and we’re not going to go too fast with him,” Pasqualoni said.
TAKING NOTES: Staples High coach Marce Petroccio watched the Huskies practice with interest Tuesday, just one of several high school and college coaching staffs that were allowed to spend the day with the UConn coaching staff.
“I was awake at 4 a.m. to come up here and spend the day,” Petroccio said. “This is always a great day.”
During his time at Syracuse, Pasqualoni developed a solid relationship with several Connecticut high school coaches by letting them watch practice and ask questions of the coaching staff. Now that he’s here at UConn, Pasqualoni is doing the same thing.
“We feel like the University of Connecticut is the flagship institution of the state, that goes for football, too,” Pasqualoni said. “And if the coaches in the Northeast want to come in and research football, talk about football during the spring, we have a regular meeting schedule for them. They can study film, watch practice, see what we’re trying to teach. We want them to feel like we’re a resource for them.”
Brown assistant head coach/secondary coach Abbott Burrell — brother of former UConn basketball player Scott Burrell — was also in attendance Tuesday, as were coaches from LIU-Post, Southern Connecticut and Trinity College, and New Rochelle (N.Y.) and Somers (N.Y.) high schools.
“We enjoy talking about football. We learn from them, they learn from us,” Pasqualoni said. “We just feel that it’s good for the game.”
Coming off a 10-1 season at Staples, Petroccio was scouting the Huskies in hopes of coming up with some new tricks for next season.
“I open with Xavier (on Sept. 12) in the FCIAC-SCC Challenge,” Petroccio said. “I need all the help I can get.”