UConn football inching closer to opening night

Storrs — The days are counting down to the UConn football season opener.

Thursday, Aug. 29 will be here in a flash.

The Huskies took a test drive on Saturday, participating in an intersquad scrimmage at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

It was the first time playing there for the newcomers, including transfer Mike Beaudry who's a strong contender for the starting quarterback job.

"Big," said Beaudry on Sunday when asked his first impression. "Biggest stadium I've ever been in. It was cool. The grass was amazing. It was a fun place to be."

The Huskies went through their normal game day routine, from pre-game warmups to halftime breakdowns.

"It was definitely good just to get back in the rhythm of things," said redshirt junior Tyler Coyle said. "We definitely treated it like a real game."

Reviews of the scrimmage performance depended on the source.

"It went pretty well," Beaudry said. "I think we improved a lot from our first scrimmage. It was nice to get out in the Rent and be able to play and get that feel. It was just good overall.''

Offensive coordinator Frank Giufre gave a more critical assessment regarding his unit's play.

"I think we were hot and cold," Giufre said. "We did some good things and we did some bad things. We just need to be more consistent in every phase of the game. We have to be more consistent. Got to get everybody on the same page and everybody has got to continue to work.

".... I like how we're progressing and how we're working. We've just got to continue. I'm not satisfied. But we'll get there eventually."

With the season opener less than two week away, coach Randy Edsall has yet to announce his starting quarterback.

Beaudry and redshirt freshman Steven Krajewski are taking the majority of snaps with the first team during workouts. The Huskies are looking to replace David Pindell who led the Huskies in both passing and rushing last season.

"We're competing every day," Beaudry said. "At the end of the day, it's not my choice. So I just go out there every day and try to be the best I can be and improve every day. Starter or backup, you have to prepare the same way."

Giufre isn't giving any hints about the starter for the opener.

"Everybody asks about the quarterback," Giufre said. "After we sit down and talk and look at, it's still an ongoing battle. Whenever we figure it out, you guys will know. We're still working through things."

On the other side of the ball, first year defensive coordinator Lou Spanos is stressing an aggressive approach. He wants his Huskies to have a sense of urgency and be in attack mode.

Spanos has noticed a big difference from the start of camp to now.

"The guys have been buying in," Spanos said. "They've been training hard and really working hard. We're doing a better job with angles to the ball and doing a better job of competing at the ball in the running game and also in the pass game."

The Huskies are still in the relatively early phases of a massive rebuilding project. Their young players gained valuable experiences during last fall's dismal 1-11 season.

They'll get their first measurement of their growth on Aug. 29 when they host Wagner in the 2019 season opener.

"Everything is coming together solidly and we're getting ready for round one — Wagner," said redshirt sophomore Luke Magliozzi, a captain. "I'm excited and I know the team is as well. We'll see how that goes."

g.keefe@theday.com

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