Former Husky standout Sweitzer makes UConn radio debut
East Hartford — Ken Sweitzer admitted being nervous and excited hours before making his debut as a sideline reporter on Thursday.
Sweitzer is part of the UConn IMG Radio Network broadcast team for football this season, joining veterans Joe D'Ambrosio and Wayne Norman.
"I'm psyched to be on the sidelines again," Sweitzer said before Thursday's season opener against Maine at Rentschler Field. "I'm a little nervous. By the third game, I'll be fine."
As a former Husky great, Sweitzer also is part of the UConn football family.
He holds the distinction of earning All-Yankee Conference honors at three different positions — wide receiver in 1979, quarterback in 1980 and 1981 and punter in 1981. He also was the Yankee Conference Player of the Year in 1981 and still ranks fourth in total offense and passing yardage in school history.
A long-time season ticket holder, Sweitzer has been around the program for years. His wealth of knowledge should come in handy in his sideline duties.
"He has the perspective of a former player, the perspective of an outstanding quarterback," said Norman, whose first year broadcasting UConn football games in 1981 came when Sweitzer was the star quarterback. "He'll really be able to break down why quarterbacks are effective or ineffective. And he's a good communicator.
"I think he'll fit into the broadcast perfectly. ... We'll work him in slowly, because he doesn't have the broadcast experience. I think he'll be a very positive addition."
To prepare for his radio debut, Sweitzer spent a lot of time watching the Huskies during preseason. He also asked his broadcast teammates a lot of questions.
"I really like what I see," Sweitzer said.
It was a homecoming for Maine assistant coach Michael Ryan, who's in charge of inside linebackers. He's in his third year at Orono.
Ryan graduated from Bacon Academy and graduated from UConn in 2011. After attending Salve Regina in Newport for one year, he transferred to UConn and worked three seasons as a student assistant with a focus on defensive line and inside linebacker.
As a member of Randy Edsall's staff, Ryan went to three bowl games, including to the program's first and only Fiesta Bowl in 2011.
His assistant coaching career also includes stops at Trinity College and Bates College.
UConn opens the season with three of its first four games at Rentschler Field.
After visiting Navy for their American Athletic Conference opener Saturday, Sept. 10, the Huskies host Virginia and Syracuse from the Atlantic Coast Conference. For the Huskies to achieve their goals, it will be vital for them to take advantage the favorable start.
"We have a massive undertaking, a spectacular schedule for 2016 that we're incredibly excited about," Diaco said during preseason.
News and notes
Diaco has high expectations for tailback Arkeel Newsome, a former Ansonia standout who's rushed for 980 yards in two seasons: "He's an electric player, so we've got to get him the ball. When he gets the ball, he's hard to tackle. ... He's bigger than he's ever been and faster than he's ever been." ... Converted quarterback Tyler Davis, a redshirt freshman tight end, made his first career catch in the second quarter, gaining nine yards. He had two receptions for 21 yards in the first half. ... NFL scouts from the Bears, Bucs, Lions, Broncos, Giants, 49ers and Redskins were in attendance. ... It was the first meeting between the two New England football programs and former Yankee Conference foes since 2007. UConn has won three straight games in the series and leads 39-31-3 overall. ... The Huskies entered Thursday's game with a 10-4 record in season openers since moving to Division I-A in 2002.