STORRS - UConn held its first workout in full pads Monday afternoon on the steamy grass practice fields on the west side of campus. And head coach Randy Edsall spent much of the workout adding some heat of his own with sharp words for players who weren’t performing up to par in his mind.
“The heat’s great. We might have to play in it. It’s a little bit of adversity. You have to fight through it,” Edsall said. “You find out more about guys on a day like this in terms of how they fight through things.”
A few players made their mark during the team periods of Monday’s workout. Safety Tyler Coyle, a sophomore from Windsor, had a pass-break-up and an interception on the first two plays of a 9-on-9 drill.
At the end of the workout, the Huskies put each of their first three offenses and defenses in a two-minute drill.
With the first-teamers, wide receiver Hergy Mayala caught a long touchdown pass on the final play to set off a brief celebration from the offense. But the “game-winning” score was wiped out by an offensive pass interference penalty as Mayala was called for a push-off, prompting the defense to cheer loudly.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Marvin Washington led the second-team offense to a score in the two-minute drill, running the ball in on his own in the final seconds.
Four true frosh with 1st-team D
During much of Monday’s practice, four true freshmen played with the first-team defense - cornerback Ryan Carroll and defensive linemen Travis Jones, Jonathan Pace and Lwal Uguak.
Edsall downplayed some of the placements this early in the preseason.
“Where guys are right now, don’t put too much credence in any of that stuff. It’s practice (number) five,” Edsall said.
Jones, the 6-foot-4, 350-pound Wilbur Cross-New Haven graduate, is perhaps the most intriguing player the Huskies have welcomed to the team this season.
“We just have to get him to come off the ball a little bit quicker,” Edsall said. “Because he’s a big human and he’s very athletic for a guy his size.”
Wide receiver T.J. Vernieri will no longer play because of lingering injuries. But the junior from Long Valley, New Jersey, isn’t leaving the program. Edsall said Monday he’s staying on as a student assistant coach. … Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Caleb Thomas (fever) was limited in Sunday’s practice and did not participate Monday.