WR Phillips leaves team

John F. Silver

UConn WR Shakim Phillips is no longer on the UConn football team.

Reports yesterday surfaced online that he was in Boston visiting Boston College — a place he attended before transferring to UConn — and this morning head coach Bob Diaco confirmed to Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant that Phillips has moved on.

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Bowl fo the Cure


John F. Silver

The American Athletic Conference will play a game in Orlando against the Sun Belt in a new game, called the Cure Bowl, the league announced today.

The bowl game will be at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, which is undergoing renovations. The Capitol One Bowl and the Russell Athletic Bowls are already played there making it three bowl games at the site.

The game is going to be associated and raise money for organizations that work with patients and to find a cure for breast cancer.

Here’s AAC commish Mike Aresco on the Sun Belt head Karl Benson on the new bowl game:

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Thoughts on the spring: Whitmer’s return

Kamal Abrams catches a touchdown pass on Saturday at Rentschler Field. (UConn Communications)

John F. Silver

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — The first thing Bob Diaco wanted to do, no, the first thing Diaco HAD to do at the University of Connecticut was change how people felt.  

It didn’t start with the media, it didn’t start with the fans. It started with the locker room.

Losing has a way of bringing out the worse in people.  When millions of dollars are on the line, when things go bad, it gets bad everywhere.

Chandler Whitmer didn’t want to do that again. He was benched after and 0-4 start — not really his fault — about wasted away. He never wanted to put with this and when the season ended he had every choice.

He was graduating, so he could have transferred to any Division I school out there as a graduate student. An experienced quarterback on the market? It would have been a free for fall.  He could have just given up football and entered life as he puts it.

Or, he could have stayed at UConn.

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UConn ends the spring

John F. Silver

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – On Monday the University of Connecticut won the men’s basketball NCAA national championship. On Tuesday, Connecticut won the women’s championship.

On Saturday, the Connecticut football team debuted under first-year coach Bob Diaco at the annual Blue and White Spring Game.

Talk about a tough act to follow.

Chandler Whitmer continues to make a bid to win his old job back as he threw for 163 yards and a touchdown at the annual Blue and White Spring game before roughly 7,000 fans at Rentschler Field on Saturday.

The White team defense defeated the Blue offense 46-37 led by linebacker Jon Hicks’ eight tackles. Defensive end Angelo Pruitt added a sack and a tackle for a loss as did B.J. McBryde, who had a sack and a tackle for a loss.

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Spring Spotlight: Quarterbacks

John F. Silver

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — UConn quarterbacks will have their final practice of the spring today with the Blue and White game.

Right now, Casey Cochran and Chandler Whitmer are the 1 and 2 with Tim Boyle three according to QB coach Don Patterson.

Cochran’s intelligence and decision-making has been the difference this spring.

Here’s Patterson on each of the QBs. To read more of this story, click here

Spring spotlight: UConn’s O-Line

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn. –When UConn offensive line coach Mike Foley wants to show his young offensive line how he wants things done he takes a trip to the film room.

In the library, archives or whatever system the football program lies the answer to UConn’s woes.

It wasn’t that long ago that UConn used to dominate on the ground. An All-American season by Donald Brown was followed by having to 1,000 yard rushers in one season, followed by another All-American season by Jordan Todman.

Blocking for those guys?

Just a couple of NFL players and draft picks. So, when Foley has wanted to show his team how to do some blocking, one of the first things he does is go to the film room and show them.

“If we are running a double team, I will go get a clip of Donald Thomas and Beatty double team and say ‘this is how I want it to look,” Foley said.

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Some spring football: QBs and OL progressing

John F. Silver

The Final Four and championship run of the UConn men’s and women’s basketball team happened at a good time for the UConn football team.

Head coach Bob Diaco has breathed some much needed life and energy into the program, and with spring practice going on during these historic run of the women’s and men’s team, being off the radar is what the football team needs.

The Spring Game is Saturday at Rentschler Field at 3:30 p.m.  The media during practices, which haven’t been open, have been a scattered reporter here or there.

Even during Wednesday’s media availability for assistant coaches, only a handful of media came out.

The UConn football team has enjoyed its spring practice in anonymity, which takes the pressure off.

But, late August is coming, BYU is coming, and with basketball done and the success of the teams, the onus is on the football program to produce.

Everyone knows it, no one is running away from it.

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Relations board: Northwestern players can unionize

John F. Silver

It’s one of the biggest stories to come out in college athletics in some time.

The National Labor Relations Board has said Northwestern football players are employees and can unionize. This designation opens up issues on compensation and college athletics that could fundamentally transform college athletics. It’s complicated, but if the players are employees, and can collectively bargain, it sets up a showdown on what the nature of amateurism is and what piece of the pie college athletes should share in.

It’s a ground-breaking ruling, and sure to head into the court system. The implications for college athletics is extraordinary.

Here are the specifics from ESPN.

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The impossible perfect bracket

It’s an enticing number. Get a perfect bracket, win a billion dollars. Essentially, you got to get 63 games correctly once we get into the Round of 64 for the NCAA tournament.

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