STORRS - Junior quarterback David Pindell has been through more than a half-dozen practices since he was named the starter for UConn football, and the coaches say his performance has largely been good thus far.
“I thought he’s done some good things and there’s still things he’s getting used to,” head coach Randy Edsall said.
The Lackawanna Junior College transfer is picking things up quickly, his coaches insist, though they sometimes overload him with information.
“He’s been here three weeks. I have to keep telling myself that,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “We’ve thrown a lot at him.”
Pindell said he was glad to receive the backing of the coaches not long after arriving on campus, but said being named the No. 1 quarterback won’t change his effort.
“It was nice but there’s always work to get after. I was anxious to get better, no matter who was the starter,” Pindell said.
But did he receive a good deal of congratulatory messages after being named the starter?
“Yeah, but I try to stay off social media. I don’t want that to overwhelm me or go to my head,” Pindell said.
Edsall says he’s noticed Pindell getting just a bit tight at times in practice.
“I talked to him after practice and I told him ‘Just go have fun. Just enjoy it,’” Edsall said. “He wants to be perfect. He wants to do so well. But you can’t play like that. You have to play loose.”
Every once in a while a team, or at least half of it, will have a lackluster practice. Sunday’s workout was that for UConn.
Well, the team’s defense played rather well. It’s offensive counterpart, however?
Edsall seemed, ahem, miffed at his offense.
“That’s putting it mildly. I won’t use the word I was really feeling,” Edsall said. “Yeah, the offense was bad today. That’s the worst practice we’ve had in the 20 we’ve been out here.”
Edsall, who usually moves about between position groups on both sides of the ball frequently, stopped his offense as a whole at one point in the practice to offer them a few choice words.
Edsall yelled at his offensive line to “set the tone!” He screamed at his quarterbacks to “play with a sense of urgency!” And he bellowed at his wide receives to “get off coverage!”
He then had some harsh words for his new leadership council, a group of players that are the de facto captains of the team.
“Where’s the (damn) leadership? Where’s the (damn) pride?” Edsall barked at the offense.
After the workout was over, Edsall admitted that such practices sometimes occur during seasons and he’s at least glad it game in the middle of preseason camp and not just before a big game.
UConn had something of a surprise guest at football practice on Sunday. Oh the Huskies knew some college officials would be on hand to call penalties and run the show during their team periods, but few knew one of those men in stripes would be a former Husky.
Luke Richmond, an Ansonia native who played quarterback at UConn from 1997-2000, is now a college football official. He officiates game for the Mid-American Conference and the Big Ten.
On Sunday, he served as the center judge during a practice on the same field on which he used to practice.
“He’s in better shape now than when he played,” joked Edsall, Richmond’s head coach for his final two years in Storrs.
“I started yelling and I told him ‘I hope you didn’t get the shakes or anything when you heard that,’” Edsall said.
Richmond joked that hearing Edsall yell did bring back a few painful memories, but later admitted he was glad when Edsall was re-hired to lead the Huskies in December.
“I was very happy. I thought we needed stability,” Richmond said. “I was not able to see many games but the ones I did see were pretty tough to watch. When I heard he was coming back I was very happy.”
Richmond says a friend asked if he wanted to officiate a Pop Warner game nine years ago and he soon became hooked on the part-time job.
“It turned into a passion, something I truly love to do,” Richmond said.
Richmond, 39, is in his third season with the MAC/Big Ten group and will be moving up to lead a crew as a referee this season.
“It keeps me involved in football and it’s like being on a team. There’s eight of us out there on that field. We all have strengths and might have weaknesses, but we all gel just like when you play
Philippe Okounam, a sophomore defensive lineman from Chateauguay, Quebec who injured his knee during practice last week, had surgery to repair the injury and won’t play this season. Edsall said the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Okounam suffered a torn LCL (lateral collateral ligament. “He’s probably done for the season,” Edsall said. … T.J. Gardner, a linebacker from Windsor, suffered a concussion recently and was practicing Sunday with a “non-contact” red jersey on. Edsall said the 6-2, 229-pound freshman should be back participating fully in practice Thursday. … Wide receiver Hergy Mayala made a nice diving catch on a deep throw from Pindell during Sunday’s practice.