The Huskies were back on the practice field today for the 5th day of camp and immediately, a tone was set out of the gate from new head coach Jim Mora. After several drops by receivers in routes on air, specifically a nine-yard hitch, Mora got on the group.
“I don’t like to yell,” Mora said following practice. “Sometimes that’s one of the ways you can motivate, to challenge them. Sometimes it’s scripted to see how they’ll react, other times it’s not and it just comes out. I’ve said this since I got here, the thing I appreciate about this team is their lack of entitlement and willingness to work for it. They don’t get down when you get on them, they rebound from a tough drill, rep or practice and they come back with great enthusiasm. To me, those are the qualities you are looking for in a young team.”
Mora singled out Keelan Marion as a player who stepped his game up following the issues early.
“After I jumped on them, he was the one I noticed rise up,” Mora said. “Yesterday it was Darius Bush. The whole group needs to do that.”
The receiver corps has gotten a lot of praise as they are perceived deep on paper, but let’s not jump the gun.
“I need to see more,” Mora continued when discussing the group as a whole. “I need to see more consistency, see them catch the ball consistently, see them run routes consistently and separate from defensive backs consistently.”
The quarterbacks and receivers are still looking to build rapport as several players have been in and out of the lineup with small tweaks, but no major injuries; Cam Ross being one.
“One of the problems we are having right now is we have had some minor injuries at receiver,” Mora said. “Some pulls and strains, so there is a lack of consistency for the quarterbacks in terms of who they are throwing to and I think that’s really affecting them.”
Ross met with the media post-practice and convincingly said he’d be ready to go come August 27th.
Ta’Quan Roberson ran with the 1’s for the 2nd consecutive time the media has seen camp. He made a beautiful throw in the red zone in 1:1’s, dropping the ball in the bucket for Keelan Marion, who beat Chris Shearin on the rep.
Roberson is clearly someone that commands attention, as he is the one breaking down huddles with the offensive unit and demanding more, when more is needed. Did have to step away for a bit in the middle of practice, but from a rep perspective today, it was Roberson (1), Zion Turner (2), Tyler Phommachanh (3).
Speaking of Puma, he had a great day during the opener of camp, his first since coming off ACL surgery just 9-months ago.
“I talked to Tyler about this today,” Mora said. “That first practice, he looked really strong. In the subsequent practices, he didn’t look as strong. He came out here the first day, he wasn’t fatigued at all; he was able to plant, throw, rotate his hips and get his body into it. The next couple days, I think a little fatigue set in, so he wasn’t quite as accurate and there wasn’t as much force on his throws.”
“Without looking at the tape, today I sensed he was starting to build that back,” he continued. “I told him that he needs to find that blend of patience and pushing yourself and we have to realize that you are still rehabbing. I’m not at all discouraged, I just want to make sure that we make the right decisions with him going forward so he can make the progress and not have a setback.”
STORMS SHIFT PRACTICE INDOORS
The clouds opened up during the first half of practice and with storms in the area, the decision was made to move practice indoors.
Running back Brian Brewton has seen a lot of work with the first team offense out of the backfield.
First team offensive line today: Valentin Senn (LT), Noel Ofori-Nyadu (LG), Chris Fortin (C), Christian Haynes (RG), Chase Lundt (RT).
True freshman D’Mon Brinson stepped in front of a Jacob Drena pass and went the other way. Brinson and Isiah Davis are looking like two young corners to keep an eye on for this program going forward.
True freshman LB Donovan Branch continued to see time with the 2nd team defense today. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him earn some playing time this year, should he maintain his current level of play.
Noe Ruelas, the Connecticut high school record holder with a 56-yard field goal, looked good. Ruelas, who attended Hall in West Hartford, said playing for UConn is a dream.