UConn football returned to the field this weekend for its annual inter-squad Blue/White scrimmage at Rentschler Field. Despite the relatively awful weather (in the 40’s, windy, rainy) thousands of people, and a ton of football recruits, showed up to get a glimpse of what UConn has in store for the upcoming season.
You might be asking yourself, why so many people would show up on a cold and rainy day to watch a glorified practice? Here’s one reason: it was free!
For such a dreary day, the atmosphere was actually not depressing. There were scores of people tail gaiting, playing beer pong, and tossing the pigskin around before the start of the game. There was music, expensive food for sale inside the stadium, and inflatable bounce-houses for the kids…or adults who enjoy getting kicked out of giant, kid-filled castles.
There was one big problem: the websites and newspapers didn’t say when the game actually started, just that the gates opened at 10:30 a.m. For the record, the game started at noon. That would have been a useful piece of information to someone desperately needing sleep after a long night.
Before the start of the scrimmage, five former UConn players were announced as the honorary coaches with former Husky and current Indianapolis Colt Donald Brown getting the biggest pop from the crowd. The five players were also available to sign autographs before the game, much to the delight of fans who, for some reason, enjoy getting people to sign their name on stuff.
Going into the game, a lot of the sports writers were concerned about UConn’s secondary and their fears were not alleviated after watching the first few series. Wide receivers were left open by a good amount on each early scoring drive. The White Squad was left flat footed on the first play from scrimmage as Blue Squad’s Zach Frazer connected with Kashif Moore on a play action pass for a 70-yard touchdown. Look for that connection this fall. It could be a potent combination.
It was that kind of day for the secondary of both teams as the quarterbacks were able to complete pass after pass. While some will look at it as secondary deficiency, I felt the quarterbacks were very accurate and had great timing with the pass catchers.
One defensive stand out was sophomore defensive end AJ Portee. He was able to chase down a number of plays away from him. He also had a knack for getting to the quarterback, registering three sacks, two on consecutive plays.
Head coach Randy Edsall has said he wants to turn the spring game into a big event in Connecticut, eventually filling The Rent with 40,000 people each year. While that might be a ways away, the excitement generated from this year’s game could prove to be an omen of good things to come during the 2010 season.
UConn opens their season September 4, 2010 at *gulp* Michigan. Good luck with that.