The Huskies showed up to play, holding a 3-0 lead after the first quarter last night against regional rival Boston College at Fenway Park. As the game continued, things began to get out of hand and it was more of the same from a repetitive error standpoint as head coach Randy Edsall mentioned he sounds like a broken record on the day after Sunday calls.
“I thought we came out ready to play and had good plans in place, evidenced by what took place in the game,” he said over the phone this afternoon. “Defensively we shut them out in the first quarter and did a good job there. We gave up a big passing play that hurt us. We gave up a long run and those are the things that weren’t good for us from a defensive standpoint. From an offensive standpoint, we moved the ball down the field and it’s the same things. We have a first down, get a holding call and then have to kick a field goal. We moved the ball again, 1st and 10 on the 13 and we can’t do anything with it as we had two incomplete passes, a one yard rush and then the holder doesn’t execute the hold, so we missed that. In our first three drives, we had the capability of getting 14 points and we only had three. In a game like that, where you are outmanned, you need all those points and you would have had put more pressure on the other team if you get up on them. The next drive, we have 1st and 10 at the 36 and can’t get a first down and we have to punt. It’s very obvious that we had a good plan offensively and defensively heading in.”
“It’s the same stuff,” he continued. “We don’t finish. Maybe we don’t have the guys that can make plays to finish or guys that can make a play to make something happen. You look at the first three or four drives of the game, we move into plus territory and then we shoot ourselves in the foot or we just don’t have the ability to make a play. Defensively we did a really good job. We gave up a 48-yard run on the second drive, but they missed a field goal. The rest of the quarter we did a good job. In the second quarter, we come out and give up a big play on 3rd and 10 and if we execute, we get off the field. That’s been an issue for us, getting off the field on third down.”
Offensively, the difference between first and second quarters was night and day.
“You tell me how we move the ball like we did in the first quarter and in the second you come out and have four drives where you are three and out and you only take up 4:17 of the quarter?” Edsall asked. “That’s something that you can do and expect to win. Defensively we had guys not keep contain and miss assignments. We gave up a 53-yard touchdown run because we don’t fit properly. We get a toss sweep and have a guy running inside underneath the block when the ball is going outside. It’s some of the same old stuff that happened.”
That was just the first half.
“In the second half we just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Edsall said. “Defensively? Same thing. We gave up a 38-yard touchdown run because we don’t fit it up and miss some tackles and then here we go again. We’re moving the ball, 1st and 10 at the plus-35 and we have a pick-six. We are not good enough to give points away, so that makes it 27-3. We just don’t get much going. We get the ball at the plus-41, have a play on 3rd and 7 and we have a guy that doesn’t go out into the route that’s supposed to and we’ve run that play numerous times. Then on 4th and 7 we have a miscommunication with the receiver and we come away with nothing.”
There were two controversial calls, the Junior Joseph target and Vontae Diggs hold that mitigated a UConn fumble recovery in the fourth quarter that Edsall said were both good calls.
“We shoot ourselves,” Edsall said. “It’s a broken record. We can’t play consistently enough for four quarters to win. Until you start playing consistently and not shooting yourself in the foot, offensively, defensively and on special teams, when you’re playing teams that have more ability than you, you can’t afford to make those types of mistakes. It’s not hard to figure out from my end. We’ll just keep working, keep coaching and try to get another win this week.”
OFFENSIVE STRUGGLES AS FIELD CONDENSES NEAR RED ZONE
The offense has continued to be able to move the ball into plus and scoring territory, but then the drives stall, as Edsall elaborated above. The Huskies turn to the run game a lot in those situations, so I asked the head coach if it’s just a matter of getting bigger and stronger up front
“Let me say this to you, Ryan Van Demark, I give him a lot of credit,” Edsall said proudly. “He went up against Zach Allen most of the day and Allen’s name wasn’t mentioned hardly at all. If I had a bunch of guys and you know what, Ryan’s not big enough or strong enough yet, but you talk about a competitor, wanting it and the attitude, he’s going to be just fine. We need to get Matt Peart to develop more of a nasty attitude. He should be a dominating player, but right now he’s not, but we’ll get that straightened out here in the offseason. It’s just that we need to get bigger, stronger, tougher and nastier up front, on both sides of the ball. We’ll get that done. We couldn’t fix all that in one year, or three months, five months or seven months. You can’t do it.”
VALUABLE ASSESSMENT TIME FOR STAFF ON QB DAVID PINDELL
The final three weeks of the season, a full quarter of a college football schedule have provided the Huskies coaching staff a good amount of game-action to be able to evaluate Pindell’s progress moving forward and put them in the best position to make a determination on that key role as the team moves forward. Edsall agreed that it has certainly been helpful.
“Any time that you get out there and get live game action, it’s always beneficial,” he said. “There are things that David did well and things he didn’t. The one thing you can’t do is turn it over. It hurts us. But I’ll tell you this, the one thing I know about David is he’s going to work at it, but he has work to do in terms of the fundamentals and techniques of the position.”
HUSKIES APPROACH TO DEFENSIVE OFFSIDES
You may have noticed any time an opposing defense jumps offsides, the UConn line stays in their stance. It’s a deliberate move and I asked Edsall about that on today’s call.
“That’s something that we do,” Edsall confirmed. “They jump offsides and we stay there and maybe the defense won’t react. We get a free get a free play and we try to take advantage of it.”
EDSALL ON FENWAY PARK AND FUTURE NEUTRAL SITE GAMES
UConn, the program, the fanbase and Edsall raved about the experience at Fenway Park on Saturday night. Despite that, however, it’s safe to say that Husky fans shouldn’t expect to see many more games moved from Rentschler Field to a neutral site.
“I thought it was a great experience and was something our kids enjoyed,” he said. “I wish we played a little bit better. I thought the experience was good, but it’s hard from the sideline standpoint, it is, it’s really hard. We’ve done that and I think that is something, a one-time experience, that is good for me. I don’t make those decisions, but financially, if they say we’re going to go somewhere and play, then we’ll do that. I thought it was a great experience, I loved it and glad we did it, but now that we’ve done that, I’d rather play the rest of our home games at Rentschler Field. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great experience and having done it in a one-time deal, it was great, the Red Sox people were great, but now that we’ve done it, I wouldn’t want to take another home game away from us to do that. That’s me talking, that’s the football coach, I’m not the guy who makes those decisions.”
MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR