Sept. 20, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut football team visits Buffalo this Saturday, September 24 and 6:00 pm in an effort to bounce back from a 24-20 home loss to Iowa State, last Friday night. The Huskies (1-2) hold a 14-4 series lead over the Bulls (1-2) and have taken 10 of the last 11 decisions, including a 45-21 victory at Rentschler Field a year ago.
Saturday's game will be televised live on SNY and can also be heard on WTIC, the UConn Radio Network.
For a look at UConn's weekly media release, CLICK HERE.
Head coach Paul Pasqualoni held his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, below are quotes from the coach and selected student-athletes.
Paul Pasqualoni, Head Coach
"We're looking forward to having a great week here. I thought we improved in some areas last week. At the end of the day we didn't get enough points out of the turnovers we generated. We gave up 10 points on the giveaways we had. I thought that the kids played hard. There were some very impressive things on the film and we've got to get the ball to the open receiver and we've got to make those plays. It was disappointing running the ball. We've got to be able to run the ball better than we did in that game. We're looking forward to playing Buffalo. I think Buffalo has got some good players. Chazz Anderson is a playmaker. They play a three-four scheme, an odd front. Everybody is always more comfortable with the four-man front than they are with the odd front. We've got to prepare for this odd front this week. So that's where we are and we've got to have a great week and go up there and play well. Play well on the road."
What is the quarterback situation for this week's game at Buffalo?
"We're going to have the three quarterbacks ready again. My sense is we'll make a decision on exactly which way we go by the end of the week, but all three will be up, all three will be ready to play. I think all three are capable. Again I'm optimistic. I'm excited about the three of them. I think what we all have to remember is that these concepts that we're into offensively and defensively are still new to these guys. I think all three are learning the system. It's not a system anyone would learn in three games. They have each had moments where they've really good and they've each had ones where they've just flat out missed it. I'm not ready to declare who the guy is until one of them really steps up to the plate. It just hasn't happened yet."
How do you address the running game problems from last week's game?
"Part of it was the fact that we made the decision and I amended to take the left tackle and make him the right tackle, take the right tackle and make him the left guard, and go with a little bit different rotation there at the left guard position. I think what's been confirmed for me after coaching for so many years is that, even though Mike Ryan is a veteran and he's played a lot of football, it's hard to take a guy from the left and put him on the right in one week and expect everything to be perfect. We still ran the ball for over 100 yards, but we're capable of being over four yards per carry. I think it's an accumulation of things. Iowa State had something to do with it, they played the perimeter very well."
What does it mean to have Jesse Joseph return to the lineup?
"It's going to mean a lot to have Jesse Joseph back. Jesse is a real quality player. Jesse is one of those guys who delivers everyday. He is as consistent as they come. The flip side of that deal is that this was an opportunity for (Ted Jennings) to get three games under his belt, two quality opponents, (FBS) opponents. Teddy really played well, played solid. We feel that we've got some depth. We can work three guys in and out of there, (Trevardo Williams) and obviously Jesse and Teddy. That's a pretty positive thing for us as we move into the end of September here and early October."
What is your reaction to the departure of Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the BIG EAST?
"I think it clearly illustrates that in this day and age, people are going to do what they absolutely think is the best thing for them to do. They're going to take care of themselves first. This idea, this issue of loyalty to conferences, regions, it's not what it was years back. I've always been excited about the BIG EAST. I think it just illustrates that people are going to do what they absolutely feel is best for them to do. I know our institution will do what is absolutely best for the University of Connecticut."
What are the first steps necessary to get the team back on track?
"We've got to execute better on both sides of the ball. We've got to be consistent in the run game. We've got to stop these self-inflicted wounds and if we can do that, we're going to be very pleased with the outcome because the effort is there. The enthusiasm, passion, the play, the effort, those things are there. We've just got to improve and execute."
How would you asses Isiah Moore's performance vs. Iowa State?
"A couple of those catches he made were not easy catches to make. I thought his route running was improved. I thought the depth of the route and the breaks of the route were faster, full speed. I thought he played with great confidence in exactly knowing what he was doing. In a lot of ways, he had somewhat of a breakthrough night and we need other guys to step up and have that kind of breakout night."
What do you see in Byron Jones' progress?
"Byron is a very good athlete. He's a very smart player. He's becoming pretty comfortable with the role he is in as the safety. I think he's showing that he's got excellent range as the safety. He's been pretty consistent. We hope that he can maintain that consistency and that other people around him will play with more consistency. The good news is we've got him in the right spot. He's going to have a chance to be a really good safety in I-A football."
How can you better use Deshon Fox in the run game or special teams?
"We'd love to have the ball in (Deshon Fox's) hands. We weren't able to do that as much on Friday because they were playing on the perimeter so well. We'd love to get him on the returns and we'd love to get the ball in his hands a few times because he is a very fast player."
What can you say about the play of Jory Johnson?
"He's playing pretty consistently. He is one of the guys who has been able to be in that right spot, run or pass, at the right time. The ball he ended up intercepting on the (Sio Moore) pick is an effort play the whole way. He's playing with good assignment consistency and he is playing with good effort."
#57, Moe Petrus, RS Senior, Center
On the loss to Iowa State
"It's disappointing. We know we are responsible for the loss. We just need to get ourselves cleaned up and get ourselves going again. We will be ok as we move forward."
On the offensive line still learning:
"Absolutely, we are still learning. I see improvement. We are shuffling guys around the offensive line and that sometimes takes time for guys to gel and get going on the right track. We'll be better down the road. We are getting better with each game. When we lost to Vandy it was a horrible feeling in our stomachs, but after Iowa State we felt like we played better. It always hurts to lose, but it offered us hope."
On shuffling offensive line and seeing consistency:
"I know it is hard to move positions. I have switched positions on the o-line and it takes a while to get the foot work down. It takes a lot of practice, but it comes to you. Unfortunately, we are limited on the hours we can have so it is hard for guys to really gain that confidence in their foot work."
On starting fast at Buffalo:
"We seem to start fast and do really well in the beginning of the game. We need to continue with the momentum and put the game away early."
#2 Michael Nebrich, Freshman, QB
On his accuracy:
"I think that comes with the timing of all the routes. We have to keep working hard in practice. Ultimately it is up to me to get them the ball so I need to make sure during practice every rep is getting right to the receivers hands in the perfect spot."
On his opportunities:
"I'm getting some chances to get in the game and play. It is a cool opportunity. I am getting a chance to be productive, but I am missing them by a few inches. My focus this week is to work on my accuracy."
#91, Jesse Joseph, Junior, Defensive End
On how it feels to be back:
"I'm excited to be back. It is a good thing. A couple times in the locker room it has been rough to sit back, but the whole defense has been playing well. My plan is to come back and just add on to that."
On how bad his injury was:
"I'm back right now so it wasn't that bad. It was just a little thing that happens in practice. All that matters is that I am back and that I do as much as I can."
"I have no limitations whatsoever."
On thoughts of defense in first three games:
"Besides a few big plays I think we are doing real well. If it wasn't for the few big plays I think we would be about No. 10 in a few defensive categories. Our biggest goal right now is eliminating the big plays."
#3, Sio Moore, RS Junior, Linebacker
On the defense:
"We're a strong team with a good defense. It is about executing the little details. We can't be a team that is plagued by the little things. If we get beat it needs to be because the other team is flat out better than us and there is nobody on our schedule that is."
On playing the entire game:
"Good teams win by playing a sixty minute game. The way you start is the same way you need to finish. If we had done that we'd be in great shape right now."
#1, Jonathan Jean-Louis, RS Senior, RB
On feeling that he could have contributed at running back so far:
"Absolutely, I think I could have contributed at running back. There is no question in my mind. I am in a position right now where I am sitting behind people who have proven themselves during the spring. I have to wait and see when my opportunity is going to come."
On when he will play:
"It is a guessing game right now. I just have to work hard every day in practice and get my reps. Hopefully the coaches see something that makes them want to put me in the game."
On being patient:
"I have to be patient and stay hungry. Everything happens for a reason. I just have to play the role that the coaches want me to right now and wait for my turn."