UConn's Casey Cochran takes snaps during one of the Huskies' spring practice sessions.
The Huskies enter Week 2 of spring practice, days after their first official scrimmage. The news took a back seat to the "Where Will Oriakhi Go?" drama that is currently playing out but the UConn football team has its own roster issues.
On Saturday, the quarterbacks -- all five of them -- got to show off their skills in game situations. The candidates: incumbent Johnny McEntee, sophomores Scott McCummings and Michael Nebrich, transfer Chandler Whitmer, and big-time recruit, freshman Casey Cochran.
So how did it go?
"You know I wish today's scrimmage was all seven-on-seven because we could really evaluate the QBs," offensive coordinator George DeLeone said via the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner. "Unfortunately when you go in a full scrimmage so much of what they do is predicated and how they perform is predicated on 10 other guys. I thought at times when we protected well it looked like they performed well. When we did not protect they looked under duress but I thought they worked hard. I thought they competed. There were some good things to see but it's just so hard to see when they move around with three different offensive lines. Sometimes it's hard to assess."
There were similar problems a year ago; the Huskies defense was so far ahead of the offense that it was hard to evaluate the quarterbacks or, more generally, get anything accomplished offensively. This year is slightly different; the players have a year in DeLeone's system and McEntee, with a season's experience behind him, is presumably better equipped to handle the duties this time around. Of course, he's not guaranteed anything. The job is legitimately up for grabs.
"I thought under the circumstances they competed hard," Pasqualoni said via Conner. "What I'm looking for for them is to get the call, verbalize the call, get it out of their mouth and manage the offense, get them to the line, get us in the right play, make the right reads and I would say -- you gotta go back and grade the film -- but I don't think I'm going to see too many mental mistakes today. Now there were some technique things and a protection here, a missed block there that type of stuff, you know. …Casey got hit pretty good on the last play, missed protection but from a quarterback consistency standpoint I liked the way they prepared today. They prepared, hard, studied hard."
It's important to remember that teams have spring practice for a reason. It's a month devoted to learning and honing the playbook, sorting out the depth chart, and helping the coaches prepare for training camp in the summer. The first scrimmage may not have been particularly crisp but no one was expecting it to be. What the coaches will be looking for now is if the quarterbacks progress in the coming days. Because, ultimately, that's what will be the biggest difference between another 5-7 record battling for a Big East title.