Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Question-and-answer with The UConn Blog

The following is a question-and-answer session with Andrew Porter who owns the excellent The UConn Blog.

   1.    I've made a number of trips to the old Memorial Stadium in Storrs. Tell us about Gameday at Rentschler. I don't think many UMass fans have been there. The UMass band is going to make the trip. What's the Husky band like these days?

The Rentschler experience can be a mixed bag. On one hand the lack of an on-campus stadium can cut down on atmosphere. On the other, the location is nice for anyone driving and access in and out is about as easy as you can get for a big stadium. The tailgating setup is nice too with a repurposed airport used as the grounds. The stadium itself is less than a decade old and sightlines are good from wherever you sit. As for the band, here's their preview for the year.

        2.    Last year UConn struggled to throw the ball. Do you expect the passing game to be better or can the Huskies ride Lyle McCombs to a successful season?

The passing game better get better if UConn wants to improve this season. Luckily, things seem to be headed in the right direction with transfer Chandler Whitmer replacing last season's starter (and current back-up) Johnny McEntee. Obviously Whitmer still has to prove himself against live competition, but all reports suggest he's a big step in the right direction. Either way McCombs is still going to be a handful for opposing defenses.

        3.    Don Brown. For UMass fans that's like hearing Wyatt Erp just road into town. I think the Huskie defense is about to become one of the top units in the Big East. What's your take on Brown's second year?

I'm very excited about it. Brown's defense was the best part of watching UConn last year and his aggressive style really connected with the fans. There is a lot of experience on the defensive side of the ball as well -- look for corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson to be a big factor along with linebacker Sio Moore. Sophomore linebacker Yawin Smallwood also stands to have a big season.

        4.    Speaking of the Big East, do you think the league is stable now? What is your prediction for UConn's year?

The league is stable.... until someone gets a better offer. I'm excited about Mike Aresco the league's new commissioner who has a TV background and is a UConn alum to boot. With that said if the Big XII came calling for Louisville or if the ACC found a way to give UConn an invite I'm sure either school would bolt in an instant.

        5.    Coach Pasqualoni has been saying good things about UMass. What's is your feeling about an annual series with the Minutemen? It would be a money maker for both schools.

I have no objection to an annual series with UMass as long as your transition to the FBS goes well. UConn usually plays a MAC team anyway so the Minutemen would certainly fit on the schedule. If there is an issue I'd imagine it'd be with location -- those MAC games are usually played in East Hartford and I don't know how UConn would feel about travelling.

        6.     Tell us how think Thursday's game will go.

I don't know if it will be a blowout or just a win for UConn, but I think it will certainly be one of the two. That's not a knock on UMass, just a recognition of the fact that your program is in a transition period. I hope you guys give us a good game. I imagine our defense will be stout either way, it really depends on what the offense can do. If Whitmer turns out to be effective in the offense I could see things getting ugly.

        7.    Good luck to the Huskies on the other eleven games on your schedule!

Thanks, you too.  

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