UConn football coach Randy Edsall spoke on Tuesday to discuss the Huskies’ game against Syracuse this week. Here are some news and notes from his weekly presser.
Injuries Mount in Secondary
Last week against URI, UConn lost two members of the secondary to injury in Tahj Herring-Wilson and Marshe Terry. Those two did not practice today while Tyler Coyle also went down with an undisclosed injury during practice. However, Edsall did not want to discuss the topic so early in the week.
“We’ll know by the end of the week who’s playing, who’s not playing,” he said. “No need to talk about injuries today. Just wait until the end of the week and see where we’re at.”
Later in the game, a URI player ran out of bounds into the UConn sideline and straight at Huskies’ tight end Zordan Holman. Holman braced himself and the Ram player ended up on the ground. No penalties were called and Edsall jokingly said he didn’t quite remember the play.
“My memory goes every once in a while. I think coaches have that problem,” Edsall said. “I saw something happen over there and I looked at him. We talked about it.”
The coach used the incident as a way to praise Holman and described him as a key glue-guy on the team.
“I love having that kid around, he makes me smile and laugh,” Edsall said. “You talk about a guy that’s good for your team, he keeps everything loose and light but he’s a kid that likes to play and all those sorts of things.”
With the four game of the season approaching, the coaching staff needs to make some decision on which freshmen they will decide to redshirt. New this year is a rule that allows players to play in four games without losing their eligibility.
Edsall noted that Terrence Ganyi will be redshirted. The Montreal, Quebec native joined the team in August, which means he missed most of the offseason program and was already behind.
“He was in a difficult situation coming down from Canada and coming in when he did,” the coach said. “It’s just better for him right now that he doesn’t have to worry about football. We’re going to redshirt him now, he’s not going to travel because again, I want him to get more comfortable from an academic standpoint.”
While he didn’t specifically mention any other names, Edsall said the decision to redshirt other players will be related to academics but also what’s best for both the program and the players themselves.
“There might be some freshmen who academically, it might be better for them to not be playing,” he said. “There’s some decisions I might have to make after this game based on some of these guys if they’ve played four games because I have to do what’s best for this program but what’s best for the young men.”
Special Teams Strength
While talking about how many freshmen are playing on defense and the process of learning how to be good college players, Edsall slipped in some pretty effusive praise about the team’s kicking unit.
“Michael Tarbutt is as good a kicker — leg strength — that I’ve been around. But it’s between the ears with him,” Edsall said.
He continued: “You’ve got the best operation in the country with [long snapper] Brian Keating and [holder] Brett Graham. You haven’t seen them mess up with a snap and hold once yet.”
This season, Tarbutt has made his only field goal attempt — a 44-yarder against UCF with plenty of room to spare. He’s also hit all 11 of his extra points. It isn’t a huge sample size and none of the kicks have come in high-leverage spots but it’s certainly a positive sign for Tarbutt, who struggled at times last season.