UConn hoping for perfect practice in spring
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 22:04
In the famous words of former NBA all-star Allen Iverson, “We’re talking about practice, man. We’re not talking about a game. We’re talking about practice.”
That is basically the sole subject of discussion for the UConn football team as they completed their tenth of 15 spring practices on Tuesday. Now the Huskies are just under two weeks away from playing in their annual Blue and White game. Although UConn has completed all their practices, with the amount of repetitions they do in their drills, it feels like each one is done over 20 times.
Repetition has been a theme this spring for head coach Paul Pasqualoni in his second season with the Huskies.
“They got to learn their assignments and they got to learn their plays, but really they got to learn how to play their position. That’s number one in the spring and that’s number one in preseason,” said Pasqualoni. “This is the time of year; you got to do it now. If you don’t think you got to do it now then you are fooling yourself.”
He stressed the importance of these practices in helping players build strong fundamentals, learn their assignments and learn their plays before they reach the season because once the team reaches that point, fundamental mistakes are unable to be corrected that late into the year. His policies live up to the old adage of “practice makes perfect.”
“Practice went well today,” said running back Lyle McCombs. “We should look good going into preseason camp.” Last season, in his first year for the Huskies, McCombs rushed for a team-leading 1,151 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He earned Big East second team honors and his 275 carries were good for 13th in the FBS. McCombs also added 172 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown last season.
“Practice is all about the mental aspect,” said McCombs. “It’s more about learning the playbook. Coach knows guys are going to work hard physically, but it’s all about the mental aspect of the game and that’s what Coach preaches.”
Now going into his second season for the Huskies, McCombs looks to improve upon his accomplishments in his freshman year and expand his role as a leader. “My goal this season is to be a leader for this offense and give the offense the gas it needs to score a lot of points,” said McCombs. The Huskies averaged 24.3 points per game in 2011, which ranked 82nd overall in the nation. “We did not necessarily score as many points as we should last year so I am trying to be a leader, trying to motivate and get guys going.”
Pasqualoni describes these practices as a house. The metaphor works as a building process for this team; in order to build a strong house, you need a strong foundation, which he applies in practice. “I just hope we’re pouring a good concrete,” Pasqualoni said.