Edsall names Pindell UConn's starting quarterback

UConn quarterback David Pindell (5) warms up before Sunday's open practice at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. (Gavin Keefe/The Day)
UConn quarterback David Pindell (5) warms up before Sunday's open practice at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. (Gavin Keefe/The Day)

East Hartford — Junior college transfer David Pindell arrived at UConn as a strong contender for the starting quarterback job.

Coach Randy Edsall, on Sunday, declared Pindell the winner.

Pindell will be in charge of the offense when UConn opens the 2017 season against Holy Cross on Aug. 31 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

"I just saw the way that he's come in and handled the offense and what he's done," said Edsall before putting his team through a public workout at Rentschler. "He's still got work to do, as they all do. But I think it was time to sit down with the offensive staff and talk with them and evaluate all the things that we've seen so far. Now we've made the decision and we're going to move forward."

From spring workouts until now, Edsall and his staff evaluated all six quarterbacks on the roster. Only two players had previous experience at UConn.

Redshirt senior Bryant Shirreffs ran the show for most of the last two seasons. Donovan Williams replaced him as the starter for the last three games in 2016. But Williams, now a sophomore, switched positions a few weeks ago, moving to wide receiver.

Pindell, Shirreffs and freshman Marvin Washington took the bulk of the snaps during preseason camp. Washington was held out of practice on Sunday so he could take care of some obligations.

Edsall's top choice became clearer after a long scrimmage on Thursday that featured about 160 plays.

The timing of the move allows the offense time to grow into a more cohesive unit before the season opener.

"Now you give (Pindell) the next two and a half weeks for those guys to start to jell and to mesh and to really get comfortable with each other," Edsall said. "I just felt there was enough there to be able to make the decision at this point and time. I was kind of hoping I would be able to do that."

"... We'll have the offensive line and have everybody in place... Now we can start to tailor some things that we know he does well."

Pindell, a junior, has the physical tools to run Edsall's uptempo offense.

Playing in a similar system at Lackawanna (Pa.) Junior College last season, Pindell threw for 2,424 yards and 31 touchdowns while completing 63.6 percent of his passes. He also showed off his mobility, running for 459 yards and eight touchdowns on 94 carries.

"His skill set matches what we're looking for and what we want to be able to accomplish at that position," Edsall said.

Pindell takes over an offensive attack that sputtered last season, averaging just 14.8 points per game while competing in the high octane American Athletic Conference. The Huskies scored only 16 points in the last four games. Shirreffs and Williams combined to throw just eight touchdown passes and had 11 interceptions.

A newcomer to the program, Pindell will be thrust into a leadership role.

"He's a relatively quiet young man who's very prideful," Edsall said. "He wants to be the best he can. He's a very diligent guy. He's a guy that will spend the time on the field, in the meeting room, watching film, doing the things necessary that it takes to be a quarterback.

"And he's a guy that has the ability to throw the ball and also a guy that has the ability to run the ball. He gives you a lot of different dimensions maybe some other people don't."

News and notes

• About 2,500 fans turned out for Sunday's open practice. ... Instead of naming captains, Edsall formed a  leadership council. Players voted for 10 members — Hergy Mayala, Alec Bloom, Ryan Crozier, Matt Peart, Luke Carrezola, Alec Bloom, Tommy Myers, Junior Joseph, Vontae Diggs and Jason Thompson. The council will meet weekly with Edsall. "It's absolutely great," Myers said. "It gives a lot of guys that opportunity to lead the team and steer people in the right direction." ... Redshirt freshman Cam DeGeorge has been named the starting right guard. ...  Australian Luke Magliozzi, who'll compete for the starting punter's job, finally arrived at UConn on Thursday after a long journey. He was stuck in Canada for a week waiting for his visa prior to coming to Storrs.

g.keefe@theday.com

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