UConn football team's defense takes hit as senior linebacker Diggs injures knee

Published on Tuesday, 8 August 2017 23:58
Written by Neill Ostrout

Journal Inquirer

STORRS - The UConn football team’s defense took a hit last week when senior linebacker Vontae Diggs injured his knee.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Diggs was walking with a brace on his left knee during Monday’s practice and said after the workout that he had suffered a Grade 2 MCL tear.

Diggs will have his knee scoped Thursday and he will be out action for perhaps a month. But Diggs said he wants to return sooner than that, and plans to play in UConn’s opener Aug. 31 against Holy Cross.

“He’s not sulking, he’s not pouting. He’s out here helping to coach up the younger guys now,” UConn coach Randy Edsall said. “Hopefully he’ll be back quicker than expected,” Edsall said.

Diggs made 84 tackles last season and is UConn’s leading returning player in that category.

“It’s tough because he’s a guy that has experience, he’s a guy who has played. He’s a veteran who has been around,” Edsall said.

The Huskies were already lacking depth at linebacker after senior E.J. Levenberry, a projected starter, injured his knee during spring practice. Levenberry is holding out hope that he will be able to play at some point this season but the Florida State transfer could be forced to miss the entire campaign.

As for Diggs, he spent his day Monday cheering and prodding his fellow linebackers throughout the practice.

“The best I can do now is use my voice. That’s what I’m doing,” Diggs sad.

Quarterback pecking order

With Donovan Williams having moved to wide receiver, the quarterback situation with the Huskies is becoming clearer.

Junior college transfer David Pindell was with the Huskies’ starters when the team periods of Monday’s practice began, but senior Bryant Shirreffs also spent a good deal of time with the first team offense, so Pindell’s position is hardly set in stone at this point.

“You have really three guys who are competing. We’ll see where it goes,” Edsall said. “You saw today that there were a lot of moving parts, different guys with the first unit, the second unit, the third unit.”

Freshman Marvin Washington was the only other quarterback to see playing time during the team’s mini scrimmage Monday.

“I thought today was probably the best practice we’ve had so far,” Edsall said when talking about the quarterbacks.

Freshman Jordan McAfee was not in pads during Monday’s practice after suffering a concussion late last week during practice. Edsall said the Everett, Massachusetts native is currently going through “concussion protocol” and will be out of action at least until Sunday.

Extra points

UConn is trying to determine who the backup to starting tailback Arkeel Newsome will be. Redshirt freshman Nate Hopkins seems to be making some strides. “I feel like it’s really up to me how much I play or don’t play,” Hopkins said. The Huskies lost a running back last week when sophomore Tahj Anthony-Wilson left the program. … UConn will have a practice open to the public, weather permitting, on Sunday at 3:15 p.m. at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford.

Posted in The Bristol Press, General Sports, UConn on Tuesday, 8 August 2017 23:58. Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2017 00:01.