It's only UConn's first game; so let's relax

Storrs - Last week at this time, UConn football was the Feel Good Story Du Jour. Dennis Dodd at wrote that UConn had better players than Michigan. Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN picked the Huskies to win the Big East. It was all McFadden and Whitehead ("Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now.")

Then came Saturday's proceedings at The Big House. Denard Robinson ran. The defensive line wilted. The fandom gasped. It was all Aerosmith ("Dream On.")

Now it's a new week. And questions abound about the erstwhile Feel Gooders. Did we overrate them? Will they ever win again?

The truth, as always, is in the middle. So somewhere between McFadden & Whitehead and Aerosmith is Pink Floyd ("Careful With That Axe, Eugene.")

Indeed, UConn coach Randy Edsall sees no reason to deliver a State Of The Huskies address to the media or to his team. Bill Parcells used to harrumph about the same thing, refusing to "take his team's temperature" every day.

"They know," Edsall said.

They know that all the goals and hopes and dreams of 2010 are still right there, largely untouched, the 30-10 loss at Michigan not withstanding. The West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati games are still at Rentschler Field. They are still 0-0 in the Big East. The Orange Bowl did not revoke their invitation.

"You can't put all your eggs in one basket for one game," Edsall said.

It's reminiscent of a classic Bobby Bowden line from many years ago when he sent two clichés into a crossing pattern: "If you put all your eggs in one basket," he said, "you're barking up the wrong tree."

Edsall called last Saturday's game "the most difficult road game we've had in my 12 years here." That's more significant than it suggests, given that Edsall isn't one to talk in extremes.

Nor is he a proponent of those "losing isn't always a bad thing" laments. Losing isn't far north of death for some coaches and fans, especially the ones who waited nine months for the season. But Saturday's thank-you-sir-may-I-have-another isn't necessarily the worst thing that's ever happened to the program.

Michigan sure did expose some of UConn's warts. So now they have three months to correct them. Maybe if the Huskies opened up with a bakery item (cupcake, cream puff) this voyage of self-discovery wouldn't have left port yet.

"It put us in a lot of situations," Edsall said. "We went down 21-0 and could have folded our tents. … We found out a lot about our character, personality and attitude."

Edsall cited past performance as the best evidence. There was that one night in West Virginia a few years ago when the Mountaineers started scoring and didn't stop until the referees signaled "touchdown," 66 points later.

"We just kind of took it," he said.

Not Saturday.

The Huskies went from 21-0 to 24-10 with the ball inside the Michigan 10.

You can build on that, no?

There's just no need to be Gloomy Gus at this point. Nothing's really happened, except they lost a road game to a desperate program before 113,000 people.

Nothing's going to happen this week, either. The Huskies play a Paycheck Game against Texas Southern, an overmatched school from Houston that lost to Prairie View last week. The key to this game is whether the bus driver can deliver the Huskies to the field safely.

Edsall said he needs to see his players tend to "little things" better. And since most of us aren't versed in distinguishing good little things and bad little things when we watch a football game, we'll have to wait for Temple on the 18th for a chance to make more proclamations.

Or at least enjoy the sunshine and the home opener on Saturday.

So there. Michigan is over. A bakery item awaits this week. Nothing's been decided.

Decaf, anyone?

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.


Loading comments...
Hide Comments