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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (April 19, 2008) - Darius Butler caught a 27-yard touchdown pass with 3:09 to play to lift the White team to a 21-20 win over the Blue team in the annual University of Connecticut Blue-White Spring Football Game on Saturday afternoon at Rentschler Field. A crowd of 9,700 enjoyed the contest under warm and sunny skies.
Prior to the game, UConn head coach Randy Edsall announced the team's four captains for the upcoming season. Butler and wide receiver D.J. Hernandez will serve in that role for a second consecutive season. They will be joined by quarterback Tyler Lorenzen and defensive end Cody Brown. Butler and Hernandez become UConn's first two-year captains since Jamal Lundy held that role in both 2001 and 2002.
In addition to his touchdown catch, Butler made three tackles from his customary corner back position. The White team was led by a pair of talented redshirt freshman tailbacks as Robbie Frey gained 92 yards rushing on 14 carries with a touchdown while Meme Wylie had 83 yards on the ground on an identical 14 carries.
Quarterbacks Zach Frazer and Cody Endres split time between the Blue (first team offense) and White (second team offense) squads. Frazer combined to go 16-for-27 for 272 passing yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Endres was 14-for-26 passing for 94 yards with one interception.
Defensively, redshirt freshman defensive end Kendall Reyes was a force for the Blue squad, making 3.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks. Sophomore safety Robert Vaughn and sophomore linebacker Scott Lutrus shared the game high with nine tackles, both playing for the victorious White side.
The Blue team scored the game's first points on a 24-yard Tony Ciaravino field goal with 3:08 to play in the first quarter. White went on top 7-3 when Frazer scored from a yard out at 12:39 of the second quarter. Dixon ran for a four-yard touchdown at 6:17 of the second to put the Blue back on top at 10-7. The White reclaimed the lead at 14-10 before half time when Frey scored on a one-yard plunge with 1:54 to play before break.
The Blue team took charge of the game with 10 third quarter points to go back on top 20-14. Donald Brown ran for a 14-yard touchdown while Ciaravino added a 34-yard field goal.
The White team took the lead for good after getting the ball back at its own 39 yard line with 4:27 to play. Wylie ran for 34 yards on the first play from scrimmage and the second saw Frazer hit Butler for what became a 27-yard touchdown. Robert McClain intercepted Endres with 2:15 to play, sealing the win.
UConn head coach Randy Edsall poses before the game with honorary coaches (L-R) Bob Casciola, Ray Tellier, Larry Naviaux and Brian Usher.
HEAD COACH RANDY EDSALL POSTGAME QUOTES
“I was pretty pleased with what took place out there today. Nobody got hurt, so that is first and foremost, but I thought the players really competed very hard today. They went out there with the right frame of mind and the right intensity. I thought there were a lot of good things that took place. It gives us another opportunity to evaluate all the young men along with the other fourteen day. We will be able to see where we are at and where the depth chart will fall as we sit down and watch this film tomorrow and then sit down as a staff. All in all I was very pleased with the spring. We got a lot accomplished. I thought that the kids really did a good job. Other than one and a half practices that I wasn’t really satisfied with I thought that we really got great intensity and great effort throughout the 15 practices that we had.”
On Robbie Frey’s performance this spring:
“He’s getting stronger and the one thing I liked today was that he caught the ball a little bit better than what he had in some of the practices that we’ve had. He is a hard runner; he’s got good vision. When he sees a hole he’s got the ability to have that first to get through the hole. The one thing I thought today that he even showed, he showed some strength; he broke some tackles. A sign of any good running back is how many yards they get after they get hit and the thing that I try to evaluate on all the young men that are running backs is yards after contact. I thought that he had a couple nice runs after contact today.”
How is your passing game going?
“I thought today was better, probably, than we were at any other point during the spring for the most part. I thought that the pass protection was pretty good. I thought the ball, for the most part, was thrown on time. There were a couple that shouldn’t have been made and there were a couple throws that could have been delivered a little bit more quickly than they were. Overall, I was pleased from the standpoint that the passing game looked a little bit better today that what it did in some of the scrimmages that we had. That was a positive and I thought that there were some guys that made a good catch. It was good to see that. I thought that Kevin Poles made a nice catch. Again, I thought that Zach (Frazer) was a little bit more accurate today than what he had been. We still have to work very hard and he has to work very hard over the summer on the basic fundamentals of stepping and throwing in the direction where he has to throw it, instead of stepping one way and trying to throw the other way. I thought Cody (Endres) did some good things. Again, I think for Cody it’s just repetitions. He is still a little bit young. A couple times in the pocket, I thought that he could have stepped up. I watched the first couple sacks and I thought he could have stepped up and avoided that and got rid of the ball. Again, I think that’s just experience, but it was good to see him handle the huddle. Our passing game isn’t going to be where we want it at the end of spring due the fact that we had Ellis (Gaulden), Brad (Kanuch) and DJ (Hernandez) out. We will have work to do there just like we have work to do everyplace. We’re nowhere near where we want to be, but we made progress.”
Can you discuss Zach Frazer’s progress from the first part of spring to today?
“The process of him processing what we do is not the issue with him; it’s the fundamentals of throwing the football that are the issue with Zach. He is a student of the game. He works feverishly at understanding everything that we want to do. For him to develop into the complete quarterback, it’s the mechanics of throwing the football that he has to work very hard on this summer. We don’t have any problem with him knowing what we are doing and understanding the system, it’s executing in the passing game consistently. That is the issue that we have to continue to work with.”
Do you think you have created a monster with Darius; do you think he will be bugging you to play more on offense?
“We are going to play him on offense; he doesn’t have to bug me. He is going to play during the season. When and how will be determined by us as coaches and also the game will dictate that, situations within the game will dictate that, but he will have packages each and every week to utilize his skills offensively.”