UConn football seeing improved Newsome as season nears

Published on Monday, 28 August 2017 22:24


STORRS - He’s been playing, and been productive, in the UConn backfield for the last three seasons but Arkeel Newsome may have saved his best for last.

“I think he’s improved quite a bit from the spring,” head coach Randy Edsall said of the senior running back from Ansonia. “I think he’s done a good job of getting stronger, being in better condition than what I saw in the spring.”

Edsall was asked if he expects to give Newsome the ball more than he touched it in past years. The coach wouldn’t commit to that, but said he trusts Newsome when he’s called upon.

“I know he can do what we’re going to ask him to do. How much and how often will depend on the people we play and what we think the strengths and weaknesses are of that opposing defense,” Edsall said.

Looking for a punter

Edsall has yet to make a call on his starting punter. When asked on Sunday who would punt Thursday against Holy Cross in the opener in East Hartford, Edsall playfully pulled a quarter from his pocket and flipped it in the air. “It says ‘I don’t know right now,’ ” Edsall said with a smile.

The Huskies’ two options are Luke Magliozzi, a true freshman from Australia who only arrived on campus and in the country this month, and Brett Graham, a redshirt freshman from State College, Pa.

“That probably could be a game-time decision,” Edsall said. “Or it could be a situation where we punt them both. As of right now, it hasn’t worked itself out where I can say one guy is over the other.”

Magliozzi has never played American football but may have a slight edge.

“He has the best up-side in terms of the strongest leg, height and hang time with his punts,” Edsall said.

But these last few weeks have been Magliozzi’s first time receiving a snap from center and kicking with a rush in his face.

“He’s never punted in a game before. In any game,” Edsall said. “That’s something I have to keep in mind.”

Huskies relatively healthy

The only significant injury the Huskies are dealing with is linebacker Vontae Diggs’ knee issue.

Diggs, a senior and likely starter, was injured early in training camp and won’t play Thursday against Holy Cross.

He may be on the field the following week when UConn hosts No. 19 South Florida in the American Athletic Conference opener.

“He could be ready for South Florida. Could be,” Edsall said.

“I just know this: he’s chomping at the bit to get out there,” Edsall added. “He did a little bit of individual work (Sunday).”

Edsall did mention one other player Sunday who was limited by an injury. Reserve defensive back Abiola Olaniyan, a freshman from Woodberry Forest, Virginia, sustained a high ankle sprain last week.

Extra points

Holy Cross went 4-7 last season. … UConn and Holy Cross have played 28 times, beginning in 1916, but haven’t met in 32 years. The Huskies won the last meeting 22-2 in 1985. … UConn is 11-4 in openers since moving to Division I-A (FBS) in 2002.

Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports, UConn on Monday, 28 August 2017 22:24. Updated: Monday, 28 August 2017 22:27.