Edsall expects more from his UConn football team

There is no easy fix as Randy Edsall rebuilds the UConn football program. The head coach continues to make changes to his starting lineup in hopes of finding the right mix to end a four-game losing streak. The Huskies visit Temple on Saturday in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn, File)
There is no easy fix as Randy Edsall rebuilds the UConn football program. The head coach continues to make changes to his starting lineup in hopes of finding the right mix to end a four-game losing streak. The Huskies visit Temple on Saturday in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn, File)

Storrs — UConn coach Randy Edsall expected an ornery team to show up for Tuesday's football practice fresh off an embarrassing loss on Friday.

Let's just say that Edsall wasn't thrilled with his team's reaction.

"I was disappointed," Edsall said. "I wasn't happy with the way practice was today. I just know this: If it's me, and I just came off getting beat, I'd be coming out there and somebody would be paying the price. That's something we've got to instill because I didn't see that today.

"I think the guys know me, I'm going to tell it like it is. And I was disappointed today because I didn't see that. How do you change that? Recruiting. Get the guys in here that have that kind of an attitude and that have kind of demeanor.

"We've got some freshmen like that. But I wasn't happy with the way they responded today."

Five games into Edsall's second stint in charge, the Huskies (1-4, 0-3 American Athletic Conference) obviously have their share of issues, especially on defense. They allowed a school-record for points in a humbling 70-31 loss to Memphis on Friday. It was their fourth straight defeat, giving up at least 38 points each time.

Some Huskies had another point of view as far as the way practice went on Tuesday.

"I thought the mood at practice was good but the focus has got to be 110 percent," quarterback Bryant Shirreffs said. "Each day, we've got to get better. Obviously, the effort that we're putting in isn't showing the results that we want. And not putting in any more effort certainly wouldn't help the cause."

Edsall continues to make changes — some based on injuries and others on performance — to try to find a successful mix.

Only three players on offense and six on defense have started all five games. UConn visits Temple in Philadelphia on Saturday (noon, ESPNEWS).

No one's job is safe.

"As a coach you've got to take a look and say, 'If that guy is not getting it done do you have somebody else on your roster who can go in and do that,' " Edsall said. "I think that I demonstrated it when I was here before and now coming back, that if you don't perform, you're not going to be out there.

"I did it for Donald Brown. I did it for Dan Ryan. I did it with a bunch of other guys. All of a sudden, if guys aren't performing, sometimes guys need a wakeup call, or sometimes guys just aren't good enough. So what you do, you try to find the guys that are good enough and give you the best opportunity to go out and win. That's really what we're trying to do.

"I'd love to have the same 11 starters all the time but our situation isn't dictating that right now."

The secondary will have two new starters from the previous week as redshirt senior Tre Bell and freshman Brayden Brown move into first-team roles. Bell started the first three games before being replaced by Brice McAllister.

McAllister is expected to be out a few weeks after having hand surgery on Wednesday. Tahj Herring-Wilson also is sidelined for at least this week's game due to "a leg issue."

It will be Brown's first career start.

"I am excited about Brayden," Edsall said. "He's going to be a really good player. You give him the opportunity to get in it. Other guys have had their opportunities and haven't taken advantage of them."

Other changes include redshirt freshman Quayvon Skanes taking over the punt return duties from freshman Jordan Swann.

Edsall also announced Tuesday that he will redshirt backup punter Luke Magliozzi and any other freshmen that have yet to see action.

"We have what we have," Edsall said. "What we'll do is we'll work to make them better."

News and notes

Edsall had high praise for junior wide receiver Aaron McLean. "The other day a bone popped out of his hand and they took care of it and he went back in and played. It's important to him. He wants to do good and he goes out there and practices that way every day." ... McLean recently received some good news — he's been admitted to UConn's business school. "It's a blessing," he said. ... Receiver Hergy Mayala (high ankle sprain) has returned to practice on a limited basis but considered doubtful to play vs. Temple.

g.keefe@theday.com

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