Coming off win over Temple, UConn football looking for more against Tulsa

Published on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 22:46
Written by Neill Ostrout

Journal Inquirer

STORRS - Comparing scores in college football can be at times a waste of time.

The so-called transitive property, which theorizes if Team A beats Team B, and Team B beats Team C, that Team A should throttle Team C, is almost always fallible.

Take the UConn football team’s opponent this week, Tulsa.

Entering its game against Houston last week, Tulsa was coming off a 62-28 loss to lowly Tulane and had lost four straight games.

Somehow, though, Tulsa pounded mighty Houston 45-17, scoring 38 straight points.

“Yeah, it definitely jumped out to me,” UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs said as the Huskies prepared for their first game against Tulsa on Saturday at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. “Houston has developed a reputation for being a really good football team, so this makes you instantly really respect Tulsa. What they did this past weekend was very impressive.”

UConn coach Randy Edsall didn’t admit to being as shocked.

“I don’t think anything surprises me anymore,” Edsall said. “You saw it last week all over college football.”

Edsall’s alma mater, Syracuse, was a prime example. The Orange stunned defending national champion Clemson.

“I put on the Clemson-Syracuse game Friday night. My wife and I were watching it and I said to her ‘Clemson, they don’t look like they’re ready to play,’ ” Edsall said. “Right after it started, I could see.

“That’s the tough challenge we coaches have, to make sure your guys are ready to go each and every week,” Edsall added.

UConn (2-4, 1-3 American) is coming off a mild upset of Temple. Edsall doesn’t want his team to be too satisfied with a lone league victory, nor be too worried that Tulsa (2-5, 1-2) is on some kind of major roll after beating Houston (4-2, 2-1).

“Sometimes they don’t understand how good teams are. And whatever happened the week before, what you did or what the opposing team did, doesn’t matter,” Edsall said. “You have to go out and prepare that following week.”

The unpredictable nature of the game is fun, unless you’re on the losing end of those shocking scores.

“That’s why football is so great. You never know what’s going to happen, week-in and week-out,” Shirreffs said. “If you went by ‘Oh, this team beat this team, and this team beat this team,’ you’d get lost. The season is so crazy. You never know. It all depends on that day,” Shirreffs said.

Shirreffs was asked if Edsall mentioned the Syracuse victory to his players at any point this weekend, whether to motivate them or simply to boast.

“He didn’t say anything about it,” Shirreffs said, “but I’ll bet he was watching the game.”

Changing secondary

As has been the case every week, UConn tweaked its lineup of defensive backs in the depth chart for Saturday’s game against Tulsa.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Coyle and true freshman Jordan Swann were both rewarded with spots in the starting lineup based on their performances against Temple last week.

Coyle steps ahead of Omar Fortt, while Swann, who replaced an injured Jamar Summers against the Owls, will now start opposite Summers this week. Senior Tre Bell will come off the bench.

Freshman Brayden Brown and sophomore Marshe Terry are the other starting defensive backs in the Huskies’ two-deep.

Edsall mum on injuries

Defensive end Connor Freeborn was injured in the Huskies’ win over Temple but Edsall did not reveal how severe the sophomore’s injury was or how long he might be out of action.

Freeborn was on the sidelines in shorts and a T-shirt after his injury Saturday, and seemed in good spirits. Wide receiver and kick returner Kyle Buss was also injured against the Owls but Edsall again was resistant to provide any updates on Tuesday.

When asked if Buss was injured, Edsall replied: “Could be.”

In part because of Freeborn’s injury and because of the emergence of freshman Darrian Beavers at linebacker, senior Cam Stapleton has been moved back to defense end. Stapleton is listed as the backup to Windsor’s Cole Ormsby on this week’s depth chart.

Extra points

Tulsa is last nationally in run defense (319.0 ypg) but Edsall isn’t exactly expecting his team to waltz all over the Hurricane. “Doesn’t mean anything,” Edsall said. “We’re not very good on defense, either.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports, UConn on Wednesday, 18 October 2017 22:46. Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2017 22:49.