Linebacker Yawin Smallwood was a popular choice on media day.
Aug. 9, 2013Media Day Photo Gallery
STORRS, Conn. - The UConn football team held its annual media day in Storrs on Friday for the 2013 season. Here is a selection of quotes, video and photos.
Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni
Opening Statement: "You know, every year is different at this time of year you try to figure out what the personality of the team is. We've been at it a week now so it's still a little bit early but I'm pleased with the effort and the approach of this group, it appears to me after one week that they're really unselfish, working really well together. I think everyone has a mindset that they're trying to work hard to contribute to the good of the team. That's very pleasing to see.
"We've got areas as you guys know that we've got some concerns about. The defensive line, trying to replace Ryan Wirth but I think we've got some guys that have really stepped up. You got a guy like Julian Campenni who after one week, and its only one week so I'm not going to anoint him yet, but after a week has had a good a week of practice as he's had here.
"The cornerback position, Byron Jones is trying to take his play up. We really need Byron to step up and play consistently and I've really liked Byron's approach. The other guys are working hard, Taylor Mack is working hard at the other corner. I'm pleased with David Stevenson, he's practicing as well as he's practiced, Ellis Marder is out there practicing well. Javon Hadley so far for a freshman, has shown that he's not overwhelmed with being here and making the transition to here from high school. So this corner thing, we've got a ways to go on the corner position but I like the way they're working together, and at each position helping each other work you through.
"We know we have to replace two good linebackers, I like the way Graham Stewart, Ryan Donohue and Yawin Smallwood are working in there. Marquise Vann is working hard, Jefferson Ashiru is trying to take his play up. So we've lost some real talent there, just like the corner position, but again, I see them trying to contribute in any way they can.
"The wide receiver position, Shakim Phillips is practicing well, he's healthy. Geremy Davis is practicing hard. I've liked the production of Deshon Foxx trying to pick up for where we left off with Nick Williams. I think we've got a couple other young guys in there, Kamal Abrams is a wide receiver who has done a couple nice things. Young freshman Brian Lemelle looks like he has a pretty good skill set. John Green has made some nice plays on the outside. So it's the same thing, you have guys trying to contribute where they can contribute.
"I think everybody knows that we need to have more production in the run game than we had a year ago. I think Lyle McCombs is working his way out of that sophomore slump he and he'll get back to his old ways. Max DeLorenzo is having a pretty steady camp right now. He's made some plays, he's run the ball tough and he's shown some production. Joe Williams, from an assignment standpoint, has practiced as well as he has. Joe is a fast guy, he can contribute and is trying hard to get that done. I think Cole Wagner is punting well, so from a field position and special teams standpoint we're good.
"Then we've got this group of freshmen that have had a pretty good first week. We're going to work hard with them this second week. We have another scrimmage here on Thursday of next week, we had a scrimmage yesterday, ran quite a few plays. We gave the guys a chance to be out there on their own, I thought that went pretty well. There's some things obviously we need to work on and clean up and get better at.
"But we'll have another scrimmage on Thursday so we're going to try to put the pedal to the metal. We've got about 70 percent of all the offense and defense in, all the special teams in. So it will start to slow down for the younger guys a little bit. The amount of information they have to learn is just overwhelming.
"This week we'll have a chance to finish up the install early in the week. Then we'll really have the chance to devote some time and reps to the things we feel we can do well and give the kids some time and reps to really learn it. We're pleased with the first week and looking forward to having a really productive second week. "
LB Ryan Donohue
General thoughts on preseason so far: "So far I think as a team we're doing really well. Both sides of the ball are competing and I think that's what key during the preseason. You need that competition, you don't want one side of the ball dominating the other. Both sides are butting heads and the team as a whole is getting better."
On replacing linebackers Sio Moore and Jory Johnson: "We were around those guys all last season, and playing with them you learn from them, they say you learn from the best. So watching them play, trying to get my game as good as theirs or better. Individually I think you have to work on it every single day and we're getting better as a linebacker corps and we want to keep that going, keep that tradition going that we have at this university."
WR Geremy Davis
On camp so far: "It's been going very well, just getting through the grind. Camp is hard but we're all motiviating each other, being self-motivated and pushing ourselves getting ready to get back in football shape and then to get ready for Towson."
On working on new offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach T.J. Weist: "It's been great. He's a real high energetic guy, he played the postion in college. I like how he gets a lot of information from the NFL and past receivers like Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin and so on. He brings those things he learned from his college playing days and those receivers and he teaches us, which helps us develop ourselves as wide receivers. "
On increasing his team-leading production from last year: "That's my plan, I want to keep giving my best every game and help contribute more to wins. I don't want to be selfish and say `oh I need to get this many catches and touchdowns,' that's all nice but we need to win as well because going 5-7 two years in a row isn't good for the program, we're trying to go to a bowl game. "
General thoughts on practice so far: "Camp's been great. Camp's been one of the most competitive camps we've had. It's been a lot of back and forth between the offense and defense but that's what you want during camp. You don't want one team dominating the whole time because that doesn't look good for the other one. I think it's bene going very well. "
On what Weist has brought to the offense: "Energy. Coach Weist has brought unbelievable amounts of energy and I think that's the biggest thing. It's radiated through the entire offense and I think that's going to show in the way that we play." On the cohesiveness of the offensive line: "I think one of the biggest things is experience. We return all five guys that finished the season last year so inexperience isn't an issue anymore. We're all guys that have played a lot of football. Communication, we've been playing together now for half a season, all of spring ball and now the beginning of camp, so I think the communication is there. "