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Meet the Press: Previewing the Connecticut Game




Nov. 8, 2010

Dave Wannstedt Press Conference
November 8, 2010
Connecticut Week

 

 

Opening Statement:

“I think that if you look back over the years, at least since I’ve been here, our game with Connecticut has always been a very challenging one. They are similar in a lot of ways to us from the standpoint that they’re a physical football team and they run the football very effectively. They have one of the top rushers in our conference and in the country, which is not new for them. It’s a philosophy that they have. They play the 4-3 defense very similar to us from a schematic standpoint.

 

“Again, if you look back over the past couple of years at this game, whether it is at our place or up there, it has always been a very tough and close game, back-and-forth.


 

 

 

“Their win last week was a huge one for them, beating West Virginia. We all know what a good football team WVU has. It’s not a secret how that happens. Right now they’re the least penalized team in the Big East, they lead the league in interceptions and they’ve given up the least amount of sacks. There are some true statistics and facts that support the success that they have had and the challenges that we have come Thursday night.

 

“Our guys have been good. We gave them a day or two off. I thought that we were a little quicker yesterday. I like our energy and focus in practice. We just can’t get ahead of ourselves. We need to take it one day at a time. We’ll go up there and see if we can get back on track and play as good as we’ve played.”

 

 

On Greg Romeus seeing playing time this week:

“The decision is real simple. He has practiced. He will be listed as questionable. It will be a game-time decision on how much he plays, if he plays and how much we do with him. He is working, and we’re just taking it a day at a time.

 

 

On the factors that will go into whether Romeus plays or not:

“It’s a little bit of everything. It’s how he feels, if he’s in game shape and his technique work. There are a lot of things that we’re evaluating on a day-to-day basis.”

 

 

On the consistent success of the Connecticut football program:

“They’ve done a great job of recruiting players. They have talented players that they develop from the get-go. If you look at some of the players that they’ve put in the NFL the last few years, they’ve done as well as any other school.

 

“Their style gives them a chance to be successful. When you can recruit good backs, run the ball and put together a solid defense, you’re going to have a chance to win every week regardless of who you’re playing. That’s been their philosophy and that’s what has helped to make a difference.”

 

 

On the consistency of UConn quarterback Zach Frazer:

“I don’t know what happened on the front end when they made the change with Frazer initially. When they had the young quarterback, Michael Box, playing against Louisville on the road he obviously wasn’t ready for that situation, and that affected him.

 

“Now that Frazer is back in there, he’s a good player. He has game experience, can make all the throws and he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. When you look at the quarterbacks that we’ve faced over the past couple of weeks, he’s as experienced and confident as any of them.”

 

 

On the benefits of a bye-week:

“I think that the number one thing that we got out of it was a little bit of rest. I was anxious to see how we would respond coming back from a little bit of rest, but the guys were good. I thought I saw some quickness back. At least in their minds, guys were (upbeat) and that was the theme — ‘I feel good, I feel quick and I feel like I got my step back.’”

 

 

On receiver Devin Street:

Devin Street is a size-receiver that can run. It’s difficult to find those guys. You either have big guys that can catch, but they can’t stretch the field or you have smaller guys that are quick but get beat up. Devin has size and he can run.

 

“The one thing that has surprised me is how well he has progressed from a learning standpoint from learning the system and carrying it over from practice to game time.  A lot of these young kids are redshirt freshmen, and you’re always hesitant to put them into certain situations because it may be too much for them. Devin has made plays in almost every game, home and away.

 

“I think more defenses have taken notice of him.”

 

 

On the game atmosphere at Rentschler Field:

“It’s on top of you. They have a very enthusiastic crowd. We’re expecting a lot of noise. We had noise at practice yesterday, and we’ll have it today and tomorrow.

 

“From being up there two and four years ago at night, we know that if you let them, the crowd is really going to get into it.

 

“I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to keep our focus. We’ve played some road games, at Utah and South Bend, where we’ve had full houses. We hope to take some of that experience up to Connecticut.”

 

 

On the competitiveness of Big East play:                                                                                    

“Hopefully it’s a lesson to everyone — coaches, players and media — that every week is a new week. You’re only as good as the game that you’re playing. What we did last week really doesn’t matter. We rushed for 300 yards last week, and all that matters is that we rush for 300 yards this week. I think that’s the challenge that every team faces.

 

“I think when you see things, like what happened last week, it really doesn’t matter. How does Louisville go up there with a backup quarterback and running back and beat Syracuse at home, especially when Syracuse has everything? It didn’t matter to those kids on Louisville’s team what was on the line. All that matters is that guys had the opportunity and they went in and performed.”

 

 

On UConn running back Jordan Todman:

“He’s one of the fastest backs in the country. He runs with his pads very low, and that challenges you from a tackling standpoint. He’s not one of those upright runners who goes up in there and gives you a clean shot at him. He runs with his pads low which forces you to use really good technique when tackling him.

 

“He has really good hands. They’ll throw him the ball on a lot of screens and flare passes. He’s a complete back. He’s not one of those guys that you can really zero-in on and say ‘when he’s in the game he’s only going to run three plays.’ They’ll throw it to him as much as it is handed to him.”

 

 

On UConn’s defense:

“They’re sound. They don’t give up a lot of big plays and never have. They rely on their front four and seven. Their three linebackers, as a group, I would say on record are probably the strongest as any group in our conference without a doubt. Those three guys can play. They are all athletic. They can run and complement one another. When you have a good front four, and three of the four defensive linemen are returning and active linebackers, you’re going to have a chance to play good defense every week.”