STORRS, Conn. - The UConn football team returned to practice field for two practices on Wednesday as preseason camp continued. The Huskies reported last Thursday and held their first practice on Friday. After the first four acclimatization practices, the pads went on Tuesday during the fifth and UConn held its first two-a-day session on Wednesday.
UConn head coach Bob Diaco had high praise for redshirt senior safety Obi Melifonwu (South Grafton, Mass.) on Wednesday after the morning practice. Melifonwu has started 35 games over the past three seasons for the Huskies and was third on the team last year with 88 tackles. He helped lead UConn an appearance in the St. Petersburg Bowl last season as the Huskies returned to the bowl scene.
"When I first came in here, I really did not have any football knowledge," said Melifonwu. "I mean I had a little bit, but through the years you gain the knowledge and gain the football IQ. You get it from the coaches, the players and studying film. I would say my football knowledge and my football IQ continues to grow."
Diaco has been generally pleased with the pace and performance of practice thus far, including the Wednesday morning session, which was moved into the Mark R. Shenkman Training Center because of the rain.
"It was muggy, it was hot, it was taxing," said Diaco "But that's how camp should be. It's very appropriate for practice six of camp. The staff, the team, the head coach, we're excited about the work for today.
"Yesterday was the first day in pads. Practice five is the first time in the acclimatization where you can go full pads. A lot of people think when practice starts we put all of our pads on and slam into each other. It's not like that. It's two days of shorts and t-shirts to acclimatize then it's two days in uppers - just pads and helmets - and then the fifth day it's full pads. It's what we thought it would be. Guys tried hard. They were very physical and energetic."
The UConn football team will hold an open to the public practice this Saturday, August 13 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentscher Field. Admission is free and stadium parking lots will open at 11:30 a.m. for tailgating with the stadium opening at 12:30 p.m. All fans are asked to enter the parking lots via the East Gate off of Silver Lane and park in the Blue Lots between Gates C and D. Fans will enter the stadium at Gate D and are asked to leave any bags larger than 12''x6''x12'' in their vehicles and not bring in any outside food or drink. Concession stands will be open.
The practice will begin at approximately 1:00 p.m. and will features several drills and stations by position groups. Seating will be in the lower bowl between Sections 120-133. Practice will end at approximately 3:30 p.m.
A marketing kiosk will be located at Gate D for all ticket information with free UConn posters and schedule cards available. UConn staff will also be on hand for questions about season tickets, mini-plans and single-game tickets. For more information and to scout out available seats, visit www.UConn.Football.