UConn’s Randy Edsall Opens Up About Howard Incident

Connecticut Coach Randy Edsall Expresses Thanks; Talks About Incident

      Edsall had given his players Sunday and Monday off to deal with the tragic loss of their teammate and friend Jasper Howard who died as the result of stab wounds early Sunday morning.     Edsall had said Sunday that the team would reconvene for a meeting Tuesday morning and then get back on to the practice field Tuesday afternoon to prepare to face WVU Saturday in Morgantown.   He met with media members covering the Big East Conference again Monday.   

     "I have heard from all (of the Big East coaches.)  Our players, coaches, all of us are very grateful to everybody else who has reached out to us to offer support in this most tragic situation," Edsall said Monday.    "We are just honored and privilege to be part of this great conference and  to be a part of a group of people who care about each other so much." 

       "It will be good for us to get back on the practice field,"  Edsall said.    "We need to get back to a little bit of normalcy." 

      Edsall said there was little consideration to try and post pone the game. 

      "It would be his want and his will for us to go out there and play the game," Edsall said of Harvey.   "Jasper was a competitor and he was a guy who loved the game and he loved the spirit of the game.    That is exactly why we are going to go play the game."   

        "We will be taking Jasper’s jersey and helmet with us to all of the games we will be playing for the rest of the year," Edsall said.    "We will be wearing a sticker (JH) on the back of the helmet.   I met with the captains and gave them some options and they decided on that.

        "There are a couple of guys that I am going to have to sit down and talk with to see were they are mentally," Edsall admitted.    "Two of our guys, when this took place, had Jasper.   One had him in his arms.   The other was placing pressure on the wound and had blood on his hands.    Those two young men are pretty deeply affected right now.   I will talk to both of them each day and I will tell them if they don’t Mentally feel like playing, then that is their decision.   I will honor what ever decision they want to make and I know that will be honored by every player on the team." 

     Edsall was on his way to pick up Howard’s parents at the airport Monday as they arrived from Miami.   He was scheduled to take them to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford to meet with the attending physican from Sunday morning.    He was then scheduled to take them to UConn health center to view the body.    

     South Florida player Keeley Dorsey passed away during an off season workout session in January of 2007.    Those memories are still fresh in the mind of Bulls coach Jim Levitt.

    "When I heard about (Harvey’s passing) on Sunday,  I broke,"  levitt admitted.   "Because it brought back all of the memories of what I had to go through with our football team and with Keeley’s family.   There is no way you can describe the pain that you go through. 

      "Our team and our staff just reached out to Randy personally," Levitt added.   "We didn’t have to go through it during the season.   We had a couple of weeks when we let the guys spend time with their families.   That is what is going to be an incredible challenge for Randy and the team .

       "There is nothing worse," Levitt continued.   "It does put things into perspective.   You lose a football game and it is very difficult.  But it is nothing, nothing like losing a player.  It is very difficult."   


League Leader Pitt to Host South Florida

      Freshman Dion Lewis ran for 180 yards as Pitt improved to 3-0 in Big East Conference play with a 24-17 win last Friday night at Rutgers.  Lewis now leads the Big East and is third in the nation with 918 yards.  He is tied with Noel Devine for the conference touchdown lead with nine. 

      "I’ve been around a lot of talented freshman backs and that transition from high school to college is very difficult for most kids," Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt pointed out Monday.   "He has just handled it extremely well.   Better than I could ever have imagined.   We have played seven games and he hasn’t wavered from what he showed us last spring and in training camp.   I think it is remarkable that he has been that solid and that steady in all aspects of his life." 

      Another key for Pitt is that the Panthers are the only team in the league to have the same quarterback start and finish every game.   

     Wannstedt was asked to contemplate why Bill Stull has managed to stay on his feet all season long so far.

      "Our offensive line has done a nice job and we have tried not to do a lot of things with him holding on to the football," Wannstedt said.    "It is the first time since I’ve been here," (that Pitt has kept the quarterback healthy.)  

        Stull continues to lead the league in passing efficiency .    His 1409 yards passing is second in the league to Tony Pike.  Stull has thrown 14 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. 

       "Pittsburgh is outstanding," South Florida coach Jim Levitt said.   "They are a very physical team with an offensive line that is playing well.

       "The Pitt  running back and quarterback are both playing outstanding," Levitt continued   "And on defense, they have the best front four we are going to face up to now."        

For the third consecutive year, USF began the season 5-0. And for the third consecutive year the Bulls lost in Week number six. 

      "You have to move on and move forward," Levitt said.  "You correct the things you did wrong and get right back after in and go after it again.    That is not going to be difficult for us."

       Quarterback B.J. Daniels has started just three of the six games for the Bulls but he leads the team in both passing yards (810) and rushing yards (365.)  Interestingly enough, South Florida leads the Big East Conference with an average of 187 yards per game but they don’t have a running back among the top ten in the conference.      


Turnovers Cost Louisville Again

     Connecticut turned four Louisville turnovers into 24 points in that 35-24 loss last week.   The Cardinals rolled up a season  high 457 yards of total offense and they converted 10-15 third and four down conversions but they couldn’t overcome the mistakes.   

     Louisville has lost fumbled in nine of the last ten games. 

     "We are preaching it (ball security) every day in practice," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said.   "What we have to understand is that defenses are taught now to try and strip the ball when you are going down.   Sometimes the ball is more important than another yard.   If you are going down, make sure you secure the ball and don’t worry about that extra yard.

      "We just have to make sure we keep preaching it and do a better job of it," Kragthorpe added. 

      The Mountaineers remain last in the Big East Conference in turnover margin, but Louisville is right there near the bottom with WVU.  

      It is not a good time to be going on the road to play 5th ranked Cincinnati. 

       "There is nobody in our building that isn’t frustrated," Kragthorpe said.    "The key is to take that frustration and trying to find a way to get a win ."

     Louisville is one of the teams in the league playing a backup quarterback.    Adam Froman has taken over for Justin Burke and Froman has played well.    In the U-Conn loss, Froman was 24-31 for 295 yards and a touchdown as he completed passes to ten different receivers.   Froman did, however, throw a pair of interceptions.    

       "The thing we did do well last week is that we did have some nice drives," said Kragthorpe.   "We had a 19 play drive for a touchdown.   We had a 70+ yard drive and we had another 80+ yard drive.  What we can’t do is continue to turn the ball over."   

           Kragthorpe indicated that Froman would again be the starter this week. 

       Louisville is 0-2 in conference play with the second of two games in a row on the road coming up at Cincinnati at 3:30 Saturday. 


Rutgers Plays Final Non-Conference Game at Army

    Rutgers will have to wait another week to go for their first Big East Conference win.   The Scarlett Knights are 0-2 in the league as they step out of conference to play at Army Friday night.

     "I really like it," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said of the Army series.   "It features the two Division-1 institutions  in the New York metropolitan area.  

     "I love the fact that we are going to be playing at Yankee Stadium," Schiano added.   "We will play at Giants Stadium one year and at Rutgers Stadium and at their stadium as well.  I think it is just a great game for the area."    

       Rutgers needs to get to seven wins this season in order to get bowl elidible because the Scarlett Knights played a pair of lower division teams.    Four of their last six games are on the road including the next two at Army and at Connecticut.    


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