STORRS - UConn football coach Randy Edsall took to Twitter at 5:47 Tuesday morning to name Mike Beaudry the Huskies' starting quarterback for the opener against Wagner next Thursday in East Hartford.
“As we start with our preparation for Wagner College today, Micheal Beaudry will be our @UConnFootball starting QB. #RaiseTheBar #BlockC #Win,” Edsall tweeted.
All signs had pointed to the graduate transfer from West Florida getting the nod. Steve Krajewski will be the backup.
Beaudry (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) threw for 3,215 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2017, helping West Florida to the Division II national championship game. He missed the majority of the 2018 season with a foot injury and has at least two years of eligibility remaining after missing two of the past three seasons with injuries.
“He’s got a very strong arm, knows where to go with the ball,” Edsall said in February when Beaudry arrived on campus. “He also can create those different arm angles you have to create in order make throws.”
Beaudry, a native of Canada, played high school football at Hagerty High in Oviedo, Florida, where he was an All-Seminole Country player. He graduated high school in 2015.
“We’re just competing every day. 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,” Beaudry said Sunday.
Beaudry has taken the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense during preseason practice, though redshirt freshman Krajewski has gotten a taste of the same experience. True freshman Jack Zergiotis and N.C. State transfer Micah Leon were also in the mix, though the latter hasn’t been able to compete much because of a nagging injury.
“Everybody asks about the quarterback,” offensive coordinator Frank Giufre said with a smile on Sunday. “After we sit down and talk and look at it (we’ll decide). It’s still an on-going battle. Whenever we figure it out, you guys will know.”
Giufre, who also coaches the offensive line and is in his first season as a coordinator, believes he knows what Edsall and he are looking for when it comes to a quarterback.
“You want to see how a guy commands the offense. You want to see a guy take charge. You want to see a guy show control,” Giufre said. “Each one of these guys has positives and they have things in their game they need to work on.”
Plenty of Beaudry’s teammates have been impressed with what the native of Canada has brought to the Huskies’ table.
“He’s good at looking off people. He’s got me a couple times,” Tyler Coyle, the Huskies’ junior safety from Windsor, said of Beaudry. “But I got him a couple times, too. He’s going to be a good quarterback for us.”
Many of the players, Beaudry included, got their first look at Pratt & Whitney Stadium with an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday on the grass of Rentschler Field.
The scrimmage, which was not open to the public or media, was treated like a typical game day for the players and coaches.
“It went pretty well. I think we improved a lot from the first scrimmage,” Beaudry said. “It was nice to get out in the ‘Rent’ and be able to get that feel.”
Edsall praised the defense heartily and wasn’t overly pleased with the offense after the team’s first preseason scrimmage. It seems things may have evened out slightly on Saturday.
“I think we were hot and cold. We did some good things and we did some bad things. We need to be more consistent in every phase of the game,” Giufre said. “(Coordinator Lou Spanos') defense, they give you a lot, which is good. We had to work for any and every hard that we got.”
A final decision on who will be the team’s starting quarterback may not have been made just yet by the coaches, but the Huskies’ defense, obviously woeful a season ago, may have improved enough to where it’s hard for a quarterback to thrive when facing it now.
“I’m on the defense so I feel like that’s a good sign,” Coyle said with a laugh.
Spanos, a veteran NFL and collegiate assistant in his first season leading the UConn defense, admits he was relatively pleased with Saturday’s performance by his charges.
“We’re doing a good job. We’re trying to eliminate the big plays and trying to make the play at the point of attack,” Spanos said.