Oct. 11, 2011
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut football team returns home to Rentschler Field for a 3:30 pm BIG EAST contest against South Florida on Homecoming this Saturday. The Huskies (2-4, 0-1) and Bulls (4-1, 0-1), coached by former UConn head coach Skip Holtz (1994-98), are tied with four wins apiece in the all-time series. Each team fell in its conference opener, with Connecticut losing at West Virginia, 43-16, last week and USF falling at Pittsburgh, 44-17, before its recent bye week.
Saturday's game will be televised live on SNY and the BIG EAST Television Network. Live game audio can also be heard on WTIC 1080, 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 getting ready for the second half of the season. Obviously, Saturday against
Is B.J. Daniels a bigger challenge than the other quarterbacks you've faced this year?
"Yes. There's no question that he is looking to scramble. He and the receivers have great chemistry. When he starts scrambling, they start looking for him and they'll break their routes off to get back into the direction he's going. Once he starts to scramble, it's hard for (the secondary) because you don't know what's going to happen. Everyone just starts running and turning. It's chaos, but it's pretty organized chaos."
How do you feel the secondary played against WVU?
"In regards to (Byron Jones) and (Ty-Meer Brown), I thought they came in as two young kids against a top 20 team on the road in a big game and I thought they fought and they held their own. Could they do a few things a little bit better? Absolutely. I think Ty-Meer has got a lot on his plate being a safety, getting lined up right, directing the adjustments on the back end. He did a good job. He's going to do a better job as time goes on. I don't think it's a job too big for Ty-Meer. It was a high level team to break them in on, but in the big picture of things it was positive."
What kind of a kicker is Dave Teggart?
"(Dave Teggart) seems to compete on these long field goals. We were going to pooch punt the (ball) on Saturday and as we were thinking about it, the wind stopped. We were watching the flags at the top of the stadium and at the top of the goal posts and they stopped. We thought that if the TV timeout didn't last forever, we can get him out there and maybe we can kick this ball before the wind starts up again. The TV timeout was killing us to tell you the truth. He went out there and he hit it. That's a pretty impressive kick. He's made some good kicks this year and is pretty consistent in practice. On Sunday, right after the game, we work pretty hard on (point after touchdowns) and field goals. He hits the ball really solid and his mechanics and his footwork are really good. The operation up front, the snap and the hold, has been fairly consistent."
Is the team discouraged at this point in the season?
"No. I don't think they're discouraged. I think there's a lot on the film that we're encouraged about. If practice on Sunday is any indication, they come back out and practice well. I expect them to be up and enthusiastic and getting ready for a big game on Homecoming to play
Were there signs in the running game that you liked?
"Sometimes it wasn't real impressive, but from a consistency standpoint and the number of times we ran it, there were some good things happening there. We didn't come out with any big runs.
Is this team's run defense as good as the numbers indicate?
"Other than a 14-yard zone play, which should have never come out of there, I thought the defensive line played solid football up front. They did a pretty consistent job. Our guys are working hard on run defense. This will be a real test this week because we're adding a big factor to the run game, in B.J. Daniels. There's another element to defend this week. We will find out a little bit more about our run defense this week."
Is there a sense of urgency around the team?
"We have felt that sense of urgency since the Fordham game every single week. These games are all precious games and they're all important games. My approach to this has always been, if you play a 12-game schedule, it's 12 one-week seasons. I've never been able to look past the next game. I don't think we can do it. We have to put everything we have into the preparation to win these games. The
Where do Tebucky Jones and Geremy Davis fit in to the wide receiver corps?
"(Tebucky Jones and Geremy Davis) are still learning what it takes to be wide receivers at this level. The multitude of formations and how we line up is something we can't take for granted. They're young guys and that's been tough on them this year. They're both a work in progress. If they can focus on the details, they'll have a chance to become good wide receivers."
Were you concerned with the pass protection on Saturday?
Can you address why the offense struggles after the defense gives it good field position?
"We've got to do a better job in the red zone. There has been a variety of reasons. At the end of the day, it comes down to execution and making a play and getting the ball in the end zone. We need to run it better down there too."
#18 Johnny McEntee, RS Junior, QB
Reaction to the
"We went in (to
How did your third quarter fumble change the game?
"I think (the fumble) gave (
"They're probably one of the most talented teams in the BIG EAST. They have a really good defense, but they're beatable. If we work hard this week, I think we can come out with a win."
What is the general mood around the team?
"We've just got to tell each other to look past (Saturday's game). We have four losses right now, but I think we can still come out with a productive season. Looking at the schedule, there's no team that we don't think we can beat. We've just got to put it all together on the field."
On the team's offense in the first half at WVU:
"I think we moved the ball really well in the first half. We couldn't get in the end zone. We could only go for field goals. We need to get our red zone offense going."
#38, Dave Teggart, RS Senior, Kicker
On coach saying nice things about him:
"That's good for this week, I'm happy. I've had a couple ups and downs this season. To have a good week is a great momentum builder. I just want to put as many points as I can on the board for the team. These guys are out there killing themselves and I just want to provide as much of a cushion as possible."
On missing first field goal and making others:
"You have to just forget about it. It is the nature of the position. You're only as good as your next kick. If you dwell on the ones you miss you will be pulling your hair out. It's frustrating but the one thing a kicker has to be able to do is get it out of your head."
On the 53 yard field goal:
"At first the punting team was going out there and it was right on the edge of do we kick it or don't we. Coach asked me what my feelings were and I shook my head saying I wanted to redeem myself from the clank off the post. I was lucky enough to get a great snap and hold and was able to put it through."
On what is required to be a good kicker:
"It's all mental. Obviously, you either have a leg or you don't. It's like a golf swing. If you are able to repeat the same thing over and over it'll work."
On who he turns to for support:
"My father. He kicked at
#99, Kendall Reyes, RS Senior, DT
On challenge of upcoming week against USF:
"It's going to be a big challenge. They have been putting up 500 yards a week and can attack through the air and run the ball very well."
On being discouraged:
"We are not discouraged. We know we have a great team. We just need to clean things up and basically get right for the second half of the season."
On being a leader:
"I do whatever it takes to keep the team going in the right direction. The first thing to focus on is to have a great week of practice."
On having a chip on shoulder:
"We do have a chip on our shoulder. The team has a lot to prove. We do have a great team; we just need to prove it to ourselves. That starts with a great week of preparation. We aren't lacking confidence. Sometimes you put out a great effort and it doesn't turn out the way you want it to. We are just going to keep on working."
On USF being a rival:
"Every game in the BIG EAST is basically a rival. All the games usually go down to the wire. Anyone can beat anyone. It definitely feels like a rivalry in that sense."
#85, Geremy Davis, RS Freshman, WR
On the WVU game:
"It was tough. We were in (the game) for the first half. We have to believe we can come back from only one touchdown. Even if I am not in the game, I can still try and keep the spirits up on the sidelines. We have to try and stay focused."
On WVU atmosphere:
"It was loud and very hard to play. It was something I have always wanted to play in. I have always seen it on TV and it has always been a dream to play in an atmosphere like that."
On the mood of the team after the game:
"Everyone was down, but we can't stay like that. We move straight on to the next game. We can't be sitting around and pouting."
On freshman year:
"It could be better. I am so grateful for my time here. I need to take advantage of the reps I am getting."
#4 Twyon Martin, RS-Senior, DT
Are you getting enough pressure on the defensive side in the passing game?
“We try to make a team one dimensional. If we can stop the run, then we can start to focus mainly on stopping the pass. A lot of the hard work we do in practice has shown in the games for stopping the run. We have to pick it up in the pass to be a total defense though. We can always get more pressure to take some of the load off the guys at the back end (Secondary). We can make life a lot easier for the entire defense. It’s something we have to work on throughout the week.”
Are you happy with the physical play from the D-line? Are you physically beating teams or is it more of the scheme? What leads to teams getting points lately?
“Honestly, I feel that physically we are able to play with teams and beat them up. It’s not just the scheme, or the physical part of it, it’s a loss of focus maybe. Guys aren’t in the right places at the right times or not doing their jobs. It’s one or two plays that make a football game. There have been a few plays in the past few games that have killed us. Not finishing the fourth quarter. Getting third quarter shutouts. Honestly I think they (
Are you discouraged by what happened last week and being 2-4?
“A team that’s 2-4 will feel some type of discouragement. Me, Kendall and some of the other seniors have been in this position last year. We are trying to rally up the troops. We’ve been here before. The season’s not done till it’s done. We’re just trying to focus on the next game which is USF and try to win that one.”
Is there a positive to take out of losing on Saturday, knowing you have
“We thought we had a really good shot at
On USF quarterback B.J. Daniels.
“He’s a great quarterback. Similar to Geno Smith. Not quite of a pocket passer, but he can use his feet and escape. I know going into this game they average over 220 rushing yards a game. That’s going to be a tough one.”
How do you stop him?
“Same way we try to stop everyone. By working hard at practice. Focusing on the little things. The defensive line watches a lot of film trying to pick up tendencies. That’s what we need to focus on.”
#16 Tebucky Jones Jr., RS-Freshman, Wide Receiver
On adapting to college two years in.
“In high school you’re used to dominating on the field every Friday. Coming into college especially at an FBS school, everyone’s faster, everyone’s stronger and quicker. The game is more technical too so you have to become smarter. Whether it’s studying the playbook or reading defenses and coverages. Basically the speed of the game.”
What’s been the biggest adjustment and the hardest part for you?
“I actually think it’s more of the mental part of the game. Adapting to a large playbook and reading defenses and preparing and studying the opponent. In high school, you can just go out and dominate physically without having to think too much.”
Do you talk to your dad about the struggles and trying to keep your head up?
“He told me before I came here that it would probably be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Week in and week out, he tells me to stay motivated. I’ll have my ups and downs but keep my head up.”
Who do you go to on the team when you are trying to stick with it and keep that mentality?
“I really look up to the captain Kashif Moore. He’s in the same position as me as a receiver and he’s been through it all really. I look to him when I have trouble or when I have to ask someone a question or if I’m just feeling down. He’s been through everything I’m going through now.”
Why aren’t you performing right away like the way you know you can?
“I mean, I know I had an off game at