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Lutrus' Three Interceptions Lead Defense in Football Spring Game

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (April 14, 2007) – Redshirt freshman linebacker Scott Lutrus (Brookfield, Conn.) ran back two of his three intercepted passes for touchdowns on Saturday to lead the White Team (Defense) to a 80-46 victory over the Blue Team (Offense) in the annual Blue-White Game on Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field.

The game was played with a modified scoring system in an offense versus defense format. The offense could score traditionally and via first down, while the defense could score by drive stop, turnover, touchdown and sack.

Lutrus ran a total of 158 yards with his three interceptions. Two of the three interceptions were for over 50 yards, with his longest interception return being 91 yards. He also had nine tackles one shy of the team lead.

Sophomore Robert McClain III (Lusby, Md.) was the leading rusher of the game with 109 yards on 18 carries, including a game-high rush of 31 yards. Sophomore Andre Dixon (New Brunswick, N.J.) also cracked the century mark in rushing with a total of 100 yards on 21 carries. Dixon also had two catches for 69 yards and one touchdown.

Junior quarterback Dennis Brown (Miami, Fla.) threw for 241 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions on 17-35 attempts.

The defense recorded seven sacks on Brown and Matt Vollono (Annapolis, Md.), including two each for Cody Brown (Coral Springs, Fla.) and Lindsey Witten (Cleveland, Ohio). Zak Penwell (Fairbanks, Alaska), Alex Polito (Reading, Pa.) and Rob Lunn (Penfield, N.Y.) also recorded sacks for the defense.

Danny Lansanah (Harrisburg, Pa.) posted a game-high 10 tackles followed by Donnell Ford (Dania, Fla.) and Lutrus making nine.

Sophomore Terrance Jeffers (Lawrenceville, Ga.) caught seven passes for 118 yards receiving, while junior tight end Martin Bedard (Laval, Que.) had 69 yards receiving on five catches.

Junior Steve Brouse (Selinsgrove, Pa.) made two catches for 16 yards and one touchdown on the afternoon, while former quarterback D.J. Hernandez (Bristol, Conn.) made his public debut at wide receiver with two catches for a total of 46 yards.

Prior to the game the Huskies announced their captains for the 2007 season. Senior Dan Davis (Plainfield, N.J.), junior Darius Butler (Tamarac, Fla.), senior Larry Taylor (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Lansanah, Hernandez and junior Keith Gray (Worcester, Mass.) were named the leaders of the 2007 squad.

The Huskies begin their 2007 campaign when they travel to Durham, N.C. on September 1 to take on Duke.

Former UConn and Detroit Lions Head Coach Rick Forzano poses with former UConn quarterback and current Detroit Lion Dan Orlovsky

Post Game Quotes

Head Coach Randy Edsall 

Opening Comments

I thought the guys put up a good effort today, and the biggest thing for me is the fact that no one got hurt. I feel that is attributed to the fact of being a stronger team and by practicing inside for 14 days making our conditioning pretty good. When you get into a game like this you are never going to be as sharp as you want to be, but there are some guys who made some good plays, guys who made plays consistently and then there were some who did good thing early on and then leveled out a little bit. Overall I was pleased with the effort and I have been pleased with what took place this spring. Now we have something to build on and work on to carry us through the summer months and get ready for when we have to report on August 5th. In general, I thought it was productive and a very good spring and now we can go back to the drawing board a little bit, putting things together knowing what we have got going into the fall.

On Scott Lutrus:

He had a tremendous day. When we recruited Scott and watched him on film we saw a man who we thought was a very good athlete. We went to see him play a playoff game and we were even more impressed by him. He dominated the league in high school as a running back, but we had him in mind as a linebacker. We thought he would have a chance to play, but I decided it would be in our best interest to red shirt him, because we thought he could develop into a very productive player for us. And now I am glad we did. The thing about him is he is one of the hardest workers on the team. He is a guy who studies the games, and has a good feel for it. Today, a couple of the plays he made were the result of him just doing his job, reading things and reacting. 

On what Coach Edsall wanted to accomplish in the spring:

The objectives to me for the spring that were more important were, one, to have a solid group of leaders. It is not so much the fact that we have six captains; it is the fact that we have a bunch of kids that are leading themselves first and foremost. When someone falls into that category other people see that and other people begin to follow. And that is one thing that has impressed me about this freshman class. Ever since they got here they have been leading themselves, and also have a great work ethic. The other thing that was important was chemistry among the team. We wanted to come closer together as a team through the spring. I see closeness in the team that I have not seen in a while. We also wanted to become more football savvy. We wanted the players to understand and learn more than just their own position. I do not think you can be the kind of player or team that you want to be if you just focus on your job and your job only. Lastly, I wanted them to be more intense and hungry to win in everything they do, from the academic area to the football field. 

On Dennis Brown’s performance:

I thought he started off okay, and then I thought he leveled off. He was up and down a little bit, and one of the things I noticed he tried to be too perfect out there, instead of letting things happen. He has got all the ability that you are looking for in a quarterback, he just has got to understand that not every play is going to be a great one.

On the kicking position:

That is a situation were David Teggart, Desi Cullen and Tony Ciaravino will be involved in competing for the PAT and field goal position. Desi will be our punter for sure though.

Scott Lutrus, LB, RFr.

On the game:

“It was a nice day and we were playing against ourselves. It was a good day over all both teams worked really hard and we just brought what we had. It was a fun practice.” 
On your three interceptions:

“To be honest, I don’t really know how they all unfolded. I was just out there making my reads and I was just in the right spot in the right time. Luckily I was in the right spot and I grabbed it.” 
Do you look at today’s game as a confidence builder?

“It’s a great day, but we’re playing against ourselves.  It’s like a practice but it’s a mental booster going into the off season. I’m looking forward to what we have to do to get better on things. We have lot of work to do, but yeah, it is a good confidence builder going in.” 

QB Matt Vollono

Would you consider this your Super Bowl?

“Looking back on today, it all happened so fast.  I didn’t actually start taking a lot of reps until Tyler went down.  Last Saturday’s scrimmage was my first big day and it went well.  Today was nerve racking for the whole first half.  Coming from high school and playing in front of a total of about 200 hundred people, to coming here and running out to seeing thousands of people, was nerve racking. During the second half, I got used to it and came out much better.  I played much better the fourth quarter.” 

Do you consider yourself today’s Rudy?

“Yes sir.  I came in here with a shattered ankle, worked my tail off to get better and that really set me behind.  All spring I’ve been working hard in the weight room.” 

QB Dennis Brown

Can you tell us about the message you left on Matt’s voicemail last night telling him to not be nervous?

“Matt and I are really cool with each other and we kind of have a competition the day before the game and at practice.  Come game time, were teammates.  I’m pretty close to him so I call him.  I didn’t sense he was that nervous.  He’s been sitting around and learning everything.  I just wanted to leave him a message, tell him he’s going to do fine, and show him that I’m behind him.” 

On his performance:

“I did pretty good, but I wish I came out a little better than I did today.   For the position I played, I threw two interceptions and gave up six points.  I need to do better and help the team out more.  Offense and defensively, we did pretty good.  The offense had a couple of big drives and I’m kind of glad it worked out this way because it will give us something to work at going into the Fall.  I’m going to work a lot harder and digest that film, but this game is out the door and I’m not even thinking about it anymore.” 

DE Julius Williams

What are you thought on your progress this spring and moving to Defensive End?

“I think it’s coming along pretty good.  I played a little Defensive End in high school, so it wasn’t that big of a transition.  I had to bulk up a little bit and gained about 20 pounds.  Right now I’m about 260.  It’s just a matter of playing football.  I’ve been a football player since I was six years old, so it’s really not much of a deal to move around.  I told Coach I was up for the challenge and whatever came with it.”
D.J. Hernandez, WR, Jr.

On the team:

“I just enjoy helping guys that are here with the program. When I was a freshman some of the older guys took me under their wings. When you see the kind of talent they have you just want to see them improve. Anything I can do to help I’ll do it.” 
On being announced a captain:

“I’m just honored to be in the position I am in. we have six captains and I’m glad to be one of them. I’m going to try to give what it takes to lead this team in the right direction. It’s not going to be easy; but nothing is easy. We’re a family and we’ll get through it.”

Sophomore WR Terence Jeffers

On today’s game:

“We were having really good springs. I just wanted to go out there and make plays when the opportunity presented itself.” 

Do you feel that you have the number one receiver spot?

“No, every week it could change.  You could have a good week this week then a bad one the next. So I have to keep working there is never a chance to settle yourself.” 

Senior DT Dan Davis

How does it feel to be voted captain?

“It is a great honor that the team and the coaches want me as one of the team leaders.  It gives me the motivation to go out there and be the best person and player that I can to help the team.  I feel honored.” 

Did you expect being named captain?

“I did not expect it but I think because of how I went about myself since freshmen year.  I was tried to say and do encouraging things to help the team out.  I think I expected it a little because I am always positive.” 

On the defense:

“They became consistent and I think that is one thing that our defense needs the most.  I think this year from that we are going to improve a lot because we can be a very good defense if we play at our best every game.  That is something that we are going to work on in the summer and until the first game of the season.  I think that this team is tougher then we were.  We always wanted to be a tough team that went after the other team.” 

Senior OG Donald Thomas

Last year you got a chance to start, how much to did that open up for you?

“That gave me a big opportunity coming in the last two games and being able to start especially Louisville.  Competing against some of the best after my second start gave me a big confidence boost.”