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The UConn Fast Break - 10/5/2021
Football season is already weirder than expected, if that was possible, but we also see some upside. Hockey season has begun and basketball is on the way, thankfully.
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Football… am I right?
What a journey it has been for UConn football halfway through the 2021 slate.
We knew it would be weird, but nobody could have predicted a head coaching change, three starting quarterbacks, a pile of bad injuries, and also some close games! After an awful start, the last two losses—each by two points—have us thinking this team is at least not the worst of all time. Baby steps.
It is very easy to slide into negativity when it comes to UConn football, things have been bad for a long time. But right now the program really does have something to be excited about. Tyler Phommachanh is an intriguing talent at quarterback, someone the Huskies’ next coach can absolutely build around. He got hurt in the Vanderbilt game, but backup Steven Krajewski also played well.
The defense has appeared competent at times, despite its youth. Again, baby steps.
Noel Mazzone joined the coaching staff as an offensive analyst after Lou Spanos took over as interim head coach. The official details are unclear but he started before the Army game, appears to still be with the team, and seems to have had a positive impact on the offensive strategy and performance. It’s nice to see that getting UConn football to be decent is not rocket science.
This program’s descent started with the awful Paul Pasqualoni tenure and continued with the Bob Diaco collapse and a disastrous return to Randy Edsall. One thing those three guys have in common is they made this seem like a very hard job. Especially as Diaco and Edsall floundered, many wondered if anyone could succeed at UConn.
Under Spanos and Mazzone, at least it doesn’t look impossible.
Is Spanos making a case to keep the job after this season? Crazier things have happened. These next three games, at UMass before hosting Yale and Middle Tennessee, are essentially their last chances at a win before ending the season at Clemson, at UCF, and vs. Houston. Spanos has a solid case if he can get two or three wins the rest of the way.
UConn is favored this weekend at UMass. That wouldn’t have been the case two weeks ago - progress!
UConn men’s hockey tops Sacred Heart - The Huskies looked strong in their season opener, beating Sacred Heart, 6-3, in a game that was closer than the score might indicate.
UConn men’s hockey season preview - Everything you need to get up to speed on the #icebus season, including positional previews for the forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders, as well as some predictions.
UConn women’s basketball schedule - The women’s slate and home court assignments came out Friday. The Huskies have two Big East games on FOX and will play their first normal schedule in the new conference.
UConn men’s basketball schedule update - UConn has announced where their home games will be this season. The schedule features eight games each at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center.
UConn football just short against Vanderbilt - It was as close as could be for UConn football, but the Huskies came up short against Vanderbilt in Nashville, 30-28.
Playing time for UConn men’s basketball will be hard to come by - The UConn men’s basketball team has returned to practice and Dan Hurley believes the team will be more balanced than last season.
NIL Update - UConn women’s basketball forward Azzi Fudd has signed an NIL deal with Chipotle. Fudd will promote the “Real Food for Real Athletes” program, among other things.
Huskies in the Pros - Matt Barnes will be competing for the Red Sox in Tuesday’s Wild Card game against the Yankees, while George Springer fell just short of the postseason with Toronto.
James Bouknight doing big things in Charlotte
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An unbelievable catch by Kevens Clercius to keep this late fourth-quarter drive alive.
UConn men’s hockey had the power play working with this gorgeous goal by Ryan Tverberg.
Jordan Todman led the way with 190 yards rushing and Cody Endres was under center. Blidi Wreh-Wilson also returned an interception for a touchdown.
UConn, Great Pic
A couple of highlights from Ian Bethune’s photo log after UConn men’s hockey’s season-opening win.
With the men’s and women’s basketball schedules finalized, excitement is building for the first new-Big East season with fans. The men will host Providence on December 18th at the XL Center and the women will host Marquette on December 29th for their conference home opener.
The release of the schedule hit a little bit different this year compared to last year (COVID-19) and several years before that (AAC). This year, the excitement is compounded by conversations planning trips to Providence, Philly, Washington DC, or Madison Square Garden for big conference games—that’s what college sports is all about.
That’s what we were missing in the old conference: the buzz, the excitement of knowing we’ll be going to many home and road games, to follow a competitive team. And we’ll be back in the Garden for the Big East Tournament in March.
Dan Hurley and the return to the Big East have revived the men’s program and Geno has the women in a renaissance of their own with two young, generational stars (we think) as they look to raise another banner after a five-year drought.
It’s going to be a really fun season.
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