UConn's Edsall staying true to promise

Storrs — Some of it is tangible evidence, like productivity on the field.

It's the intangible evidence, however, that has turned Randy Edsall's job as UConn's football coach into more of a balancing act.

How else do you explain his decision to take quarterback Zach Frazer off the depth chart this week in favor of the new starter, junior Cody Endres, and redshirt freshman Mike Box.

The decision to start Endres, who came off the bench in the second half of last Saturday's 45-21 win over Buffalo and passed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, was easy.

"I saw (Endres) delivering the ball on time," Edsall said Tuesday as the Huskies turned their sights to this Saturday's game against Vanderbilt at Rentschler Field (noon, SNY). "I saw him making throws. I saw a team with more energy. … That's what I saw."

The decision to move Box ahead of Frazer took more than numbers into account, although the bottom line is something Edsall has promised his players and UConn's passionate fans since Day 1: to get the best players on the field.

"As a coach, as you see things go on and they're not happening the way they should," Edsall said, "are you going to sit there and let it happen and not do anything about it? You're not going to do that in your business.

"You're going to do something to change it … to spark it, to tweak it. Sometimes those are tough things, but those are the decisions you have to make, and in my mind we've got the best lineup we have in order for us to win games at quarterback right now."

Edsall, after consulting with his offensive staff, made the decision Sunday.

"This is the way we're going," he said. "I feel good where we're at with the depth chart. … I had a conversation with the guys on Sunday, all three of them, and told them exactly where we were and where they stand.

"You know, he (Frazer) maybe didn't agree with it, which you understand, but he understands this is the decision we made and we've got to go on. I told him you've got to be ready to go. You never know when your number could get called again."

But should something happen to Endres against Vanderbilt?

"Mike Box," Edsall said matter-of-factly, "is going into the game."

Edsall also made two other similar decisions involving seniors. Starting middle linebacker Greg Lloyd was replaced in the middle by veteran Lawrence Wilson against Buffalo, allowing sophomore Sio Moore to get on the field as an outside backer. And Tuesday, Edsall said sophomore Erik Kuraczea of Ansonia will take over at left guard for senior Mathieu Olivier.

"You don't look at who is a senior or who is a junior, you get down to who are the best guys," Edsall said. "Our guys know that. They know the best guy is going to play and that's how we have to look at it. If we look at it in any different way, to me, you're not being fair to your football team.

"They might not agree with them, but those are the decisions that we made."

• Reserve tailback Kelmetrus Wylie suffered a season-ending left knee injury during the Buffalo game, prompting Edsall to move redshirt freshman Martin Hyppolite back from linebacker to tailback. If leading rusher Jordan Todman (left elbow) is unable to play again this week, Hyppolite would be the No. 3 tailback behind Robbie Frey and D.J. Shoemate.

c.banning@theday.com

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