One day ahead of Saturday’s scrimmage, it was back to shells as head coach Jim Mora gave the team a lighter and a bit shorter practice as they kicked off the 2nd full week of camp in Storrs. Lighter, but much more competitive. Over the first week, at least during the open sessions for the media, the defense was ahead, winning each day. Today, the offense had their best day, by far.
QB Ta’Quan Roberson was very strong throughout, including a 65-yard TD to a streaking Keelan Marion on a post that was an absolutely beautiful throw, connecting with his wideout in stride. After practice, Mora talked about Roberson’s progress.
“I think that every day he has become more accurate and learned how to take something off his throws,” he said. “You guys that saw him in the spring, everything was a fastball and his accuracy suffered because of it. Now, he’s learning to have more touch with passes; when does he need to fire it and when does he just need to make the layup. That’s been the thing I’ve seen improvement on; therefore his accuracy is better and he’s throwing a more catchable ball.”
It’s also clear that true freshman Zion Turner is making an impression as well. After his first college practice, Mora was giddy at times when talking about Turner. A week later, he seems even more impressed with the Florida native.
“He took some reps with the 1’s today,” Mora said. “He’s been getting more time there. I’m not going to lie to you, the guy jumps out at you, he makes plays. That’s what we saw in high school and after 7-days, to see it here, that immediate, I’ve been around some young quarterbacks that came in and were really talented guys, came with a lot of acclaim and they didn’t adapt and adjust as quickly as he has. Now saying that, he still makes some mistakes, but he is progressing very, very rapidly. He is an impressive young man.”
Not to be left behind, Cale Millen had a strong day as well, going for what should have been 8-for-9 and a TD during two-minute near the end of practice.
The play of the quarterbacks so far this camp is exactly what you want to see, multiple players letting their play put themselves in legit conversation for the starting role.
OFFENSIVE LINE UPDATE
The Huskies top line today was once again Valentin Senn (LT), Noel Ofori-Nyadu (LG), Chris Fortin (C), Christian Haynes (RG), Chase Lundt (RT). Starting center Jake Guidone, who is still out with a lingering minor injury, is expected to be ready well before the season opener.
Outside of that consistent starting group, two guys making a run for playing time at the tackle positions include Danny Antolovich and Ben Murawski. Alabama transfer Dayne Shor hasn’t practiced since last Saturday, but is close to returning.
“Dayne, the second day of practice, he hyperextended his knee,” Mora said. “He’s working through that and is close to being back; he’s really working hard to get back on the field. In the limited time we were able to see him here, this last week, you could see the talent, it was evident. He hasn’t played a lot of football lately and he has to get in football shape, but you could see the talent.”
WIDEOUTS NURSING TWEAKS
The list of wide receivers missing time has grown, as today Cam Ross, Nigel Fitzgerald, Aaron Turner and Kylish Hicks were working with the training staff during practice. While none seem to be a significant injury, they are missing critical time building rapport with the quarterbacks.
“Those guys are twitchy guys,” Mora said after practice. “They are like race cars, they are finely tuned. They are like the space shuttle sometimes, if all systems aren’t go, they aren’t going to take off. I think you just need to be careful with those guys. If they have a strain, the last thing you want to do is have it turn into a significant pull where they miss a lot of time. These guys run a lot, I don’t know if it’s being careful, as much as doing the right thing, making sure we get them as close to full before getting them out there. I wish they were out there every day.”
VICTOR ROSA MAKING PROGRESS
Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year Victor Rosa had his best day of camp in front of the media, at one point earning a ‘nice job 22’ from Mora after finding the edge on a run. He’s gotten more and more confident and that’s translated to production.
“I think Victor Rosa is coming on, for a true freshman, seven days in,” Mora said. “Early on, he looked like a true freshman and then we had a live short-yardage and goal line period and he was kind of like a couple plays feeling it out and then you could tell he said, ok, now I think it’s a little different at this level and he upped his game.”
RB WILL KNIGHT ENTERED PORTAL
Transfer running back Will Knight has entered the portal, but it sounds like the door is open if he wanted to return.
“Unless he withdraws his name from the portal, right now he’s on the market a little bit,” Mora said after practice.
MEDIA PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Tuesday is the next availability at the normal time, with the first open scrimmage of camp for the media happening next Saturday.