UConn football: Jones out for the year

John F. Silver

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Senior cornerback Byron Jones will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes surgery on his shoulder UConn coach Bob Diaco announced on his postgame conference call on Friday.
Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies cornerback Byron Jones (16) during the second half against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. South Florida Bulls defeated the Connecticut Huskies 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies cornerback Byron Jones (16) during the second half against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. South Florida Bulls defeated the Connecticut Huskies 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jones has been dealing with shoulder problems and aggravated it during the first half of a 31-21 loss to East Carolina.

He will have surgery soon and is out for the final six games of his career.  Jones has UConn’s only two interceptions this year including one on Thursday in the end zone.

“Byron was playing through a small issue there,” Diaco said. “That, then exacerbated himself last night to the point that it needs to be addressed. If it doesn’t get addressed it will be something else.Right now, an isolated thing that needs to be fixed.”
Jones’ injury and rehab will be able to get him ready for the NFL Draft workout season. Jones, a terrific athlete and character player at 6-foot-1, has had a lot of interest of NFL scouts. Diaco said that Jones will be able to be 100 percent plus by the offseason.

“He’s very highly thought of,” Diaco said. “Executives that are in the building think highly of him. This will help him from a time frame standpoint. He will be full speed, not good as new, better than new when he has a time to show his wears.”

The Huskies’ thin corner depth takes a massive hit.

Right now, true freshman Jamar Summers is next man up with John Green, a converted wide receiver, another corner. It also looks like Diaco will take the redshirt off of freshman Brice McAllister and prepare him to play. McAllister is from Suffield Academy and was switched from running back to corner this summer.

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Postgame news and notes: Huskies put scare into ECU

Greenville, NC, USA; Connecticut Huskies running back Ron Johnson (3) runs with ball during the 3rd quarter against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The East Carolina Pirates defeated the Connecticut Huskies 31-21. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Greenville, NC, USA; Connecticut Huskies running back Ron Johnson (3) runs with ball during the 3rd quarter against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The East Carolina Pirates defeated the Connecticut Huskies 31-21. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Seniors Byron Jones and Geremy Davis hobbled off at the half for the Huskies.

They never returned.

In place, UConn head coach Bob Diaco put in the young-ins. There was sophomore Noel Thomas at wide receiver, redshirt frosh Thomas Lucas at wideout. On the defensive side, true freshman Jamar Summers was in getting an education with sophomore and first-year defensive back John Green also getting time.  On defense, freshmen Forlunso Fatukasi and Cole Ormsby played big roles. True freshman linebacker Luke Carrezola had some major snaps.

UConn is young, that’s not news. UConn has been young since camp broke in August and the growing pains of youth is what the 2014 season is all about.

The beauty of youth though is that one day it suddenly clicks, that’s at least the hope.

UConn almost had it on Saturday at No. 18 East Carolina.

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Recap: East Carolina 31, UConn 21

Result:  No. 18 East Carolina had more than it bargained for in a 31-21 win over UConn on Thursday night in Greenville, N.C.

Need to know: UConn (1-6, 0-4)nearly pulled off a monumental upset, with the game tied in the third quarter after an 88-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Whitmer to Deshonn Foxx. The Huskies had several chances to take the lead, but ECU pulled away late. A 33-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter gave ECU a 24-21 lead, and then, the Huskies’ defense couldn’t get off the field as ECU clinched the game with a  Breon Allen 9-yard touchdown left with 1:38 left in the game. It was an eye-opening performance in the loss nonetheless as UConn was a 28 point underdog and nearly shocked the 18th ranked team in the nation.  The Pirates (6-1, 3-0) ran 100 plays in the game, amassed 580 yards of offense. Shane Carden had 39-for-64 for 445 yards and two touchdowns.  Justin Hardy had 14 catches for 186 yards while Cam Worthy had seven catches for 138 yards.

For the Huskies, Chandler Whitmer had his best game in two years passing 18-30 for 303 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for one himself.  The Huskies played a ton of young players with upperclassmen Byron Jones and Geremy Davis leaving at the half with injury. UConn lost for the fifth straight game, but likely had its best performance of the season considering the opponent.  The offensive line gave Whitmer time and the Huskies had some chances to steal the game.


Links: Box score | AP Recap

Next up: The Huskies head home to play Central Florida on Nov. 1 at Rentschler Field.

Reporter’s notebook: Random thoughts and tidbits

John F. Silver

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — UConn heads to East Carolina on Thursday.  

It’s a game that at one time would be treated with great fanfare, but I think now there is some dread on UConn fandom’s behalf. Doing some advance homework, ECU has over 3,300 yards of offense and 274 points scored, UConn is less than half that at 77 points and just a shade over 1,500 yards of offense.

Connecticut Huskies head coach Bob Diaco reacts during the second half of a game against the Temple Owls at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Connecticut Huskies head coach Bob Diaco reacts during the second half of a game against the Temple Owls at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

How is UConn supposed to compete? That’s why you should be tuning in on Thursday for the game in what will be a litmus test for UConn’s defense, and a benchmark for the Huskies program.

UConn head coach Bob Diaco said this week that he has all the ingredients and infrastructure in place to have a championship program. He didn’t like the question, but then gave a great answer to it.

“Infrastructure here is strong, puzzle pieces are here,” Diaco said. “(There are) frustrating mechanics that need to get worked out to have a top flight program. There is no an immovable force. There’s enough things, nothing here will be preventing us from becoming a championship program. That is exciting. Recruiting is going great. There is a lot to recruit too.”

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UConn football: Defensive strides

Temple Owls quarterback P.J. Walker (11) runs the ball against Connecticut Huskies linebacker Cole Ormsby (57) during the first half at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Temple Owls quarterback P.J. Walker (11) runs the ball against Connecticut Huskies linebacker Cole Ormsby (57) during the first half at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn — UConn head coach Bob Diaco looks at his defense and likes what he sees, but he is far from happy.

What?

Diaco criticize the defense? Hasn’t he looked at the other side of the ball?

Yes, he has, but for those with great talents, great things are expected.

UConn football will always be a defensive team. The Huskies went against the trend when they hired a head coach in getting Bob Diaco. If you haven’t heard, offense is all the rage in college football and offensive coaches and play-callers get jobs.

But, if UConn is going to win at the FBS level, be the top team in the American Conference it’s going to do so defensively. The Huskies are in their infancy under Diaco, a former defensive coordinator and that influence is all over the team.

While the offense struggles in nearly all places from execution to identity, the UConn defense knows what it is, and where it is going.

The Huskies are 1-5, but in the last five games have held all their opponents under 302 yards of offense. The defense is ranked No. 4 in the nation in first downs allowed (95), No. 17 in the nation in total offense surrendering 325 yards per game, 28th in rushing defense at 121.2 per game and 18th in the nation in third down conversion percentage defense allowing only 31 percent of conversions. The Huskies make teams move the ball and generally get off the field when given the chance.

But is this a Top 20 dominant defense?

No. No one knows that more than Diaco.

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Commit No. 18: WR Hergy Mayala (Trinity-Pawling, Pawling, N.Y.)

John F. Silver

UConn is hitting the skill positions hard on the recruiting trail this year. The Huskies received another commit at WR as Trinity Pawling receiver Hergy Mayala has given his commitment.

Mayala is the second receiver in a week — the other Tyraiq Beals of East Orange, New Jersey — to commit to UConn. The Huskies also have two other wide receivers in Aaron McLean (6-6) and Frank Battle (6-5) in the fold for next season. That’s four wide receivers added to a position that is a strength on the team and has young players going forward.

Mayala is another bigger receiver at 6-2 and 191 pounds, though not the size of McLean or Howard.

He’s the 18th commit on the board for the Huskies, who are now expected to fill the 25 scholarship limit for 2015.

2015 commits

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