Aug. 6, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut football team continued its preseason camp on Tuesday with its first day in full pads. The practice was also the first one open to the public and fans are also welcome on Tuesday, August 13 (3:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.) and Saturday, August 17 (8:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.). Both practices will be held on the practice fields behind the old Memorial Stadium and new UConn Basketball Development Center site and are off of Alumni Drive. Parking for these practices will be available for free in "D" lot. In case of inclement weather, please check UConnHuskies.com for updates.
Here are some quotes and video following Tuesday's practice.
Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni
"I liked it. We've had shoulder pads and we had full pads today. For us, we practice full speed regardless so I liked it. The kids would rather be in pads, work in pads, so to work in pads is great. It's part of preseason camp. This is our fifth practice and our fifth install. As you could see we worked situational today, which was red zone. We worked third down, we got two minute coming in we got goal line. What I'm telling you is to work in pads, with the amount of information they've got in their heads and the amount of stuff that we're doing is a lot. So they have to be able to handle the intensity of being in pads, and all the assignments and all the information and all the technique. This is what preseason is about -- the fundamentals and techniques and to push yourself when you're starting to get a little bumped up and a little bruised and that will start to happen now with the pads on. But overall I think the enthusiasm, the focus on what they're the doing, we have a lot of young guys who we're throwing a lot at and they're hanging in there and doing some pretty good things."
On the red zone offense: "Well, the first play we scored so that was good. We're working on concepts down there. So, it's the first day you put them in, and you go ahead and have a team work period, it's not exactly a scrimmage but it's like a scrimmage. We did some good things down there. We turned the ball over, we can't do that. Those plays kill you, so that's all stuff we go in tonight, hopefully they have a nice dinner, they get a treatment, they get a shower, they get refreshed for an hour and then we start over again and this is what we start on. We put the film on and we go back all through it. They'll work hard on it and we'll get better. "
On running backs outside of starter Lyle McCombs: "I want to see what each of them can do. I thought Max (DeLorenzo) showed he's got a little wiggle today on that screen pass, had a couple nice runs. I think Joe Williams shows he's got some speed. Josh Marriner has to learn what to do, Martin Hyppolite is really hanging in there. He's practicing, he's in full pads, he's not slowing down and he's confident in what he's doing. That's all really good news for us. We're trying to give everybody enough reps where we can get ready to have a scrimmage in a couple days. "
On tight ends: "I'm pleased with Spencer Parker and Sean McQuillan. I think they're really doing a pretty good job. The younger guys are hanging in there. Tommy (Myers), we've thrown a lot at. He's pretty athletic, he shows you he's pretty good at running a route, pretty good catching the ball. He has to work on his blocking. That's something that probably wasn't as big a factor in high school but now it's a huge factor. We're going to have tight ends that can run and catch."
On Chandler Whitmer's interceptions: "I'm concerned no matter if it's Chandler or anyone. If you turn the ball over, I'm concerned. Those are things that we'll go in and watch the film and get it corrected. As we move through camp, we've got to do a better job taking care of the ball than we did in the red zone today."
On Julian Campenni's physical fitness: "He came back in really good shape. So far it's only five days but Julian is working at a very dependable level. He just has to keep doing it for the next six months and we'll be all set."
Quarterback Chandler Whitmer
General thoughts: "Today was alright. The defense did a good job but, fourth day, a lot in, pretty much the whole offense is in so we're working on getting that done and putting everything together. It's a process but we're getting better."
On his running backs: "We have a lot of guys, Lyle's done a great job, Max is doing well, Joe is very explosive, strong running back. We're all working to get better and they're working hard."
Running back Max DeLorenzo
On Coach Pasqualoni praising his practice: "I thought I personally did pretty well. I knew my assignments and tried to execute them well. I had a few MAs but I think as a whole today wasn't our best day. We've got a two-a-day tomorrow and a scrimmage Thursday so we need to pick it up and get ready for Thursday."
On team's physical fitness: "I think we're in good shape. We had the conditioning tests the first day of camp and obviously it's hot out here. Throwing these pads on shouldn't be a big difference to us."
On how it felt to hit in full pads for the first time: "It felt good to get hit a little bit. Get hit on the ground, hit with your legs. That cold tub is going to be packed tonight."
Linebacker Yawin Smallwood
General thoughts: "I felt like it was a great practice. Guys came out here and competed, and that's one thing these coaches wanted from us to come out, get lined up and do our jobs and just compete, and I feel like we did a great job of that."
On being in full pads and hitting: "It definitely feels good. I was a little worried at first but I just came out here after the first hit and felt comfortable and going to keep going along with the process."
On young players filling roles on defense: "They're definitely picking it up. One of the things our coaches always talk about is the next guy up in line. I feel like these linebackers are going to be just as good as Sio (Moore) and Jory (Johnson) if not better, so that's the mindset we're taking in."
Defensive lineman Jesse Joseph
On being in full pads for the first time: "It felt great, it's like a whole new experience all over again. It's something I've been doing for a long time, after missing spring ball I'm now able to let it all go. I just need to get the rust off me a little bit but other than that it's all coming back slowly but surely."
On young players filling roles on defense: "A lot of guys are stepping up pretty good. A lot of defensive lineman stepped up last year and saw time as young players, and even linebackers like Ryan Donohue, he's doing a real good job so I'm not really worried about that. With the talent we lost last year, I say we've got a whole bunch of new talent that's ready to step up."