You're right Matt

The recruiting story did get delayed while I was doing some other stuff. Going to try and do it to run for the holidays. Maybe tomorrow. I will tell u when it's up.
It's nothing earth-shattering, just a quick look at the guys slated to come in.

So close

Too much inside, too much Ray for CCSU to handle. Not sure what the final will end up being here, but not that it was MUCH closer than the score will indicate. Great effort.

still hope

But Ray just nailed 2 threes in a row to put RU up 44-39, inside 10 minutes left. Good news: CCSU within 5 at Rutgers. Bad news: It was up 6.

Halftime update

CCSU up 28-25 at the half.
Huge sequence right before the break: Rutgers cuts it to 1, then presses. Dowdy breaks it, goes all the way, hits Gabby on the wing for a jumper, which misses. But Bailey gets the board and puts it back. Rutgers then misses a 30-footer at the horn. CCSU has all the mo again, which they might not have if Rutgers had been within one or gotten the lead back.
Ray's shooting keeping Rutgers in it. CCSU MUST control tempo, break that press, and avoid turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

Holy shnikey.....

I'm watching the game and will check in at various points, but for now I'll just tell ya the CCSU women are giving Rutgers all it wants. It's exactly the game CCSU wanted, turnovers, ugly, defense, on the floor scrapping for balls. CCSU was just up 5, now 3, late in the first half.

more mail!

First, LOVE doing this. Give me more at
Ok, first let's tackle the can of worms I opened. This is the reason I don't give opinions more often, because they get twisted. For example, I was asked today if Central had a chance to get into the AE.
No. Stop the madness. You're talking about teams that have much bigger reputations than Central, or in some cases a lot more money.
Here's all I was saying. I really believe, the more I hear, that Hofstra and NU, and maybe one more team like Delaware is going to eventually be trying to get out of the CAA, which NU NEVER should have joined in the first place. They'll need a league. They could go back to the AE, or they could join for football CCSU and Albany with a couple more. We're talking years from now, but yeah, someday there will be a new Yankee Conference. Will CCSU be in it for football? I dunno.
I continue to think two things about hoops: 1) CCSU is NOT leaving a league that's been too good to it and again, not sure its "profile" is big enough. 2) The hoops only Big East teams will eventually form their own regional power league. Gtown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, etc. Maybe that's where NU and Hofstra, with no more football, end up. And that's how QU makes its big jump, but it can only do it after some winning years. I was just trying to see it from the Q's perspective. Me personally, I'd like to see their hype matched by some wins. IF they start dominating the NEC and Moore gets them going, then that could happen. That includes their hockey team, though with me being a hockey guy, I say good for them on that program.
We'll see how it all goes. It's certainly fun to speculate. Even if some of the wilder theories drive me temporarily crazy.

Got this from an anonymous.... PLEASE send me a name or at least a handle like Hud, so I can feel like we're having a conversation. I can't do that if I don't know your name.

Here's the questions:
Many of us have always wondered why it seems as if one to three basketball players leave the program every year.Is it Howie? Do the find the school not to their liking? Is it too tough, academically?Another topic: Regarding teams that the men's BBall team plays. It looks as if the only money game this year is Northwestern. Maybe the Citadel? But, does Howie tailor the schools he's willing to play, even if it's payday, based on how close they match up? That is, I'm sure he doesn't want to get really beaten by the "majors".

And here's my answer: The answer is all of the above. Some players don't make the cut academically, something Howie and the school is passionate about. Some can't handle the program's hard-nosed approach. By the way, that happens at a lot more places than just Central. The jump from a high school game to a D1 PRACTICE can be extreme, and not for everyone. And yes, Howie is the kind of coach who demands a level of intensity, which is huge at this level. Look at this year's team. Central must out work and out hustle the opposition. That, and a little luck, is how the Devils beat Albany Saturday.
As for the schedule, it works a number of ways. Sometimes they try and play close to a player's home so his family can see him play. Sometimes, as was the case with N'Western this year, they get "bought," that is, the Wildcats pay Central to come play them. Football does that all the time.
Sometimes, when things are right, they'll play someone like UConn. That gives them money and a taste of how the tournament will be (this is just a guess, but I can see CCSU playing someone big next year, when I expect them to be good).
Do they try and tailor the schedule to the team? In that respect, yes. They'll play a tougher sked in years where they expect bigger things, but that's only a small part of it. Remember that schedules are done in many cases years in advance, particularly in football. Hoops has multi-year deals a lot of times, too. So, for instance, they had Albany locked in regardless of how this year was supposed to go.
Sometimes things change that cause schedules to change. There was one this year for example for the men, a small game that fell through. And sometimes you can get a money game like Northwestern or a game to test yourself against good competition (see Butler).
Did I get it all? :)

Bag notes

Just wanted to make clear that the mail bag preamble about the new fb league was a guess on my part, and not news. An educated guess on a few levels, but a guess. I was not reporting that it's going to happen, I was guessing it will.
more mail is already in, so we'll do that today too if I can.


Before I begin the mailbag, I wanted to chime in with a change in my previous position on a topic:
In light of recent changes to the football landscape and some people I know who know things telling me things, I do believe there will be a new football league in the next 5 years. It will take a couple years to develop, but I can see the northern CAA teams getting out and CCSU and Albany going with them. I'm not sure it's a great idea for CCSU, which will take its lumps for a while playing ranked teams a lot, but it could help in the future.
The same thing, I predict and have for some time, will happen in basketball, but Central won't be involved in that. (Quinnipiac might, however, as it could be as close as it ever gets to a jump).

Ok, mail time:
First, JJ asked about recruiting. I'll have a story on Central's signees later this week. You will like Justin Alexander. As to why a 6-6 forward wouldn't want to play at CCSU: 1) the league is thought of as a guards league, always will be. 2) A 6-6 guy, especially an athletic type, is gonna be behind Kenny. Without immediate playing time, you aren't coming.

Matt Mauro wants to know more about Joe Efese.
Matt: I think he's not quite a Ken clone, but you can picture him in that kind of mold.
To answer your question about HOW high he is on Joe E, I will tell you that Howie manages to mention that he thinks he's going to be a good player just about every time I talk to him. I think some of that is to try and help him boost his confidence, but it's also the truth. I can see him going into Kenny's role in two years.

To answer your question of why, I'll quote Howie from a recent story I wrote:

“He’s going to be a good player, but with him it’s been a feast or a mini-famine,” Dickenman said. “I don’t want to say a complete famine. He has shown up. In practice [Friday] he had nine blocks. Sometimes you have to call him out to get it out of him, but he’s going to be a good player. He asks questions and he’s learning a little more about defense responsibilities. He wants to be good.”

Lee wants to know about the penalties in Indianapolis:
Lee, I would hardly call four penalties to none a huge discrepancy. It wasn't exactly the 2002 NBA West Finals. But yeah, it is weird that Butler wasn't called for ANY. I will say that the pace of the game made it so that penalties were going to be low to begin with.
I was a little high in the sky to have a perfect view of all the penalties, but lemme go by memory.
The two facemasks, are pretty straightforward calls.
If the PI against CCSU is the play I'm thinking of, I called it in my head before the flag came.
The offside, I can't tell you if someone jumped first, I simply don't remember to be honest.
Again, I can't recall everything and I was fairly high, but I will honestly tell you that I didn't leave that game in any way thinking that CCSU got screwed. I do know that some other people did, however.

The one thing I disagreed with was Mac's call not to go for two, but I thought his answer was pretty solid.
6:44 left, CCSU scores to make it 21-16. I wanted to go for 2 to get within a FG, but Mac's theory was this: If you don't make the two and Butler makes a FG, you're down 8 and NEED the two. This way, if the D holds them to a FG, you're down 24-17, and all you have to do to tie the game is make that XP and the one after the tying score. Of course, CCSU gave up a TD on the next drive, making it irrelevant. I think you have to try and hold them to no points there and play it that way, but that's the logic he used. It's sound, even if I don't necessarily agree.

wow, lots to catch up on!

So I needed a bunch of time to catch up on work things (my OTHER job here at the Herald) and some sleep, but I'm back and ready to roll with this thing. Gonna give you a few general thoughts then post a mailbag, which I LOVE doing, so keep the email coming to

Hope you guys saw all the football recap stuff. To clear up some rumors going around, it doesn't seem like Mac will be going anywhere for the foreseeable future, but I will look to confirm that this week.

On the hoops front: BIG win for the men on Saturday. It exemplified exactly how they will win games this year: defense, rebounding above their means, and poise, meaning free throws and a lack of turnovers. Throw in some big shots and you have a win.
Big game for the women Sunday at Rutgers. No, I don't think they'll be pulling an upset, but it will be interesting because this is the kind of team you want to draw in the dance... a squad that plays low scoring, defensive games.

Ok, bag coming soon.

Don't worry

Nothing going on, no big news coming, just a nice season wrap up, which I'm working on now.

Season recap

Will have a nice season recap thing in tomorrow's paper, but there's a small chance that there's breaking news today. I hate to keep saying stuff like that, but I like giving you guys a heads up. Check the blog and like 4:30. If there's nothing there, don't sweat it (and I don't think there will be).
Either way, you'll have something nice to read tomorrow, the kids deserve it. I hope you liked the piece today. The kids were great. A depressing loss, that we'll talk about more today too, but that doesn't ruin an incredible year.

And we go

As Shaun Green says.
It's almost 10 I think, first bus is leaving, everyone else goes at 11. Cold but sunny, not much wind I think. Is it snowing back home yet?
Game's on 1410. Jason Page and T0m P on the call. Full coverage in the Herald. Unconfirmed by me: I heard rumor there will also be video on Butler's Web site.

A bit late

But I couldn't get on the net. I'm down in the lobby, paying to use write this blog! But dag nabit I promised a blog, you get one.
Today was amazing. The kids went for a light practice/walkthrough that seemed more like a bonding session than anything else. Then it was off to Hard Rock for a great lunch. I hung out with Page and Paul, the new AD, while the kids had a good time looking at the memorabilia and talking. Amazingly, the World Cup draw seemed to be a hot topic. Of course, the soccer players coming over to kick might have had something to do with that. My inside soccer source on the team says the US got a great draw and should go 2-1 0r 2-0-1 with ease and get to the next round.
From there it was off to Lucas Oil Stadium, which is, in a word, stunning. The Blue Devils (and I) got to walk on the field, take pictures in the locker room, and run through the tunnel (I let the players handle that part). The people there were all first-class, giving us a ton of thrills. So Pats fans, at least don't hate the Colts' support staff.
Btw, the 28 seems further away from that close up. Maybe that's what Bill was thinking! Ha. I crack me up.
Anyway, not to worry about all this fun and excitement. By 5pm the kids were in a meeting, and were off to do more team stuff after dinner (not before a near riot broke out in the excitement over the arrival of cheesecake.)
Jeff Marino (among others) swore that the team would be all business by tonight and ready to go in the morning.
Btw, hope you get the paper. I have a nice story about today's trip as well as a full game preview (and hoops previews!). LOTS for you to chew on.
I don't know if I'll get to blog Saturday, if I do it will be in the wee hours of the morning I think. We're coming home as soon as I finish my story and I'm not sure when we'll land, since I hear there's snow coming back home. If it makes you feel any better, it's bitterly cold here, too.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading this and the Herald site, I hope I was able to give you guys some insight into the trip. My goal was to give you an inside feel, more than just game stuff. I think I achieved that. I hope so anyway, for your sake, since you're the ones I was trying to talk to.
Will talk to you guys again on Sunday. REMEMBER THE GAME IS ON 1410! Page and Tom will have the whole blow-by-blow. A big thanks again to both for helping me quite a bit during this journey, particularly with logistics.

Greetings from Indy

Sorry it took me so long to check in, I can't get the net to work in my hotel room. I put a full report of Thursday night's activities on the Herald's Web site, please check it out.
For now I wanted to tell you that I will check in on this blog Friday afteroon. In the morning I'm going to practice, then tagging along with the team as the visit Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Colts play.
Saturday's paper will have a full breakdown of the game as well as a more in-depth piece detailing Friday's fun.
Two quick side notes: First, HUGE thanks to Tom, Jason, Steve, Chris and everyone else who helped me through a wild ride, literally and figuratively, to get here to Indy. I'd be stuck on a tar mac in East Granby without them.
2nd: GREAT win for the men tonight. I will confess, I didn't see it coming. I'm going to try and do a preview for Saturday's LIU game as well. I talked to Howie and have some extra things to mention.
Talk to you guys on Friday, please read the Herald's site and the blog so my trip is worth it! I'm here for you guys.

greetings from Indy

well that was embarassing

I apologize to anyone who was listening to the women's broadcast at halftime. I took a drink of soda right before I went on and choked literally through almost all of the spot. I went to take another drink to try and get it back and just literally couldn't speak. I apologize. I promise I sound much better usually.

men's hoop nugget

Just talked to Howie, and Shemik is expected to play Thursday night after all. Tull got hit in practice today so his status is unclear, but everyone else is fine, including Shemik.
Lineup (subject to change of course) should be Shemik, Robby, Dave, Markeys one unclear spot, possibly Joe.

1 quick response

Saw this asked... number of scholarships for fb next year expected to be 34. Eventually heading to 40.

Your news...

Judging by the postings on maybe my news will be dissapointing to some who wanted something big, like a new stadium, which I can't give you.
But I can give you full coverage from the Gridiron Classic, which I will be attending. I'll have a bunch of stories, I'll blog whenever I can, and I'll be able to give you all the sights and sounds from Indianapolis.
Wanted to make sure everything was confirmed before I told you, that's why it was held up.
On that front, as of today, everyone but Hunter is healthy. Hunter will not play.

Checking in

Hoping to have big news for you on Tuesday, but wanted to tell you that it involves our coverage, which is what I meant by your reward for being so loyal by reading the paper and the blog here as you guys do. You do a tremendous job, and it's because of you that our coverage is possible and I try so hard for you guys.
Expected it today, but should have it Tuesday. Will let you know as soon as I do.
As for the weekend: The men showed marked improvement on offense. With Shemik out (and no, I don't think it's a long-term thing at all, will let you know if that changes), I expected the offense to be awful. But Robby is playing splendidly, and Dave will only get better as he gets back in the flow. Throw in a healthy Shemik and the continued improvement of the newcomers (Markeys I think is going to be a big factor before too long), I think the offense will be ok. I'm not saying they'll score 90 a night and win the league but I like what I've seen lately and think they'll be fun to watch as the year goes along.
The women got a big win at Toothpaste U. I like what they're doing, and really, really think they're on the verge of something here. Throw in the fact that a vast majority of the kids will be back next year, and Beryl is sitting on a goldmine in terms of growth. I really think they're the next Sacred Heart in the women's NEC.
Speaking of improvement, I'm working on a story about next year's recruits, and I think you'll be pleased. Assuming Kenny comes back healthy next year, Central will actually be deep up front. When was the last time we could say that? Not since I've been covering them, that's for sure.
Football: With the holiday and the off week, we laid low on football coverage, and to be honest I'm behind even on checking the boards and my blog email (shoot me a note at Will catch up with all that, and I PROMISE tons on the football team as we get closer to the Classic. Should be fun.
Check this thing Tuesday, will let you know hopefully some fun news.
On a side note, would you guys be interested in furthering the blog part of our coverage? One of the things I want you to email me about is interest in a Twitter type deal, which I'd do much more often since it would just be quick thoughts.
Also remember I blog as much as possible during hoops games. Check especially before the games for news on lineup changes and the like. Also, I do halfitme on the radio and net for every women's home game, check that out. Hoping to do more men's stuff this year on that side.

Bad blogger

I know, I missed two promises to update. But I want you to know it's because something potentially big is going on behind the scenes that will get you guys a pretty cool reward if it works out. I will keep u posted.

Manic Monday

Ok, so Monday's the day to do a lot of catching up here. I'll talk to you guys about football and hoops. It's my day off, so I'll have time.
Wanted to say something quick though.
A word to my fellow Northeastern Huskies, who lost their football program today. We all knew this was coming, but it makes it no less sad. The program was doomed with its awful facilities (you think Arute is subpar? Have Central play its home games on a high school level field next to a regular building that serves as locker rooms, and do it all in the next town over, say Newington, but not the Newington right next door. The other side of town.) and a league that it couldn't compete in.
But those kids busted their butts like anyone else. They deserved better than a press release. The last year could have been special. We all knew this was coming, and NU should have spent the year celebrating the program's history and giving those kids a hell of a send off in the finale.
And no, before you guys start, Central isn't going to the CAA. They're not ready. Let's worry about dominating the NEC for awhile before you try to move up. When Mac talks about "doing things right," he's talking about extra touches like going to SFPA a day early, which costs money. Central did that this time, but would have to do things like that all the time to even consider moving up. Mac's got the right frame of mind for the program in that regard, playcalling aside.
By the way, just bear with the NU alum for a second while he vents: The dumbest thing NU ever did was move to the CAA. The travel budget alone is a killer (in the other sports I'm talking) and NU lost some great rivalries. Just ridiculous.
Which goes back to the argument we had last basketball season. If CCSU ever jumps, it better make sure it goes to the right place. Losing the rivalries with the other CT schools because you think Vermont is a step up in class is VERY dangerous. Part of what made that Monmouth comeback so special is that it came against Monmouth. Fit is just as, if not more, important in finding a league than competitive level.
I have to find the dream conference a friend and I made when we figured out that the Big East would someday split into football and non-football, which I promise will happen someday. Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and the like are going to be looking for leagues. Team them with the old AE schools who left the league and say CCSU and Quinnipiac. Now you're talking. You'd stay in the NEC for football, like Albany.
Ok, enough rambling. We'll talk tomorrow.


No CCSU. Gridiron Classic here they come.
I'll have to check Eastern Illinois, but my guess is they had a much better schedule.

check that

I think it's ESPNNews. I'll get the results up here asap, so don't worry if you don't have advanced digi cable.

Hey guys

Lots of football to catch up on, hoops too, just wanted to tell ya why I'm holding off.
Someone close to the process told me he believes CCSU will make the FCS playoffs today.
I'm calling BS, but I wanted to mention it's possible. Let's watch ESPNU at 3.

Maybe breaking news

Since I haven't seen this anywhere, I think I'm breaking something for you guys here. I talked to Justin Alexander's high school coach, and he told me that he did in fact sign with Central. I know all the sites I've seen had it as a verbal, but he signed a NLOI.
Can he play? I can't tell you. Could something still happen that sends him somewhere else? Yeah. But he did sign. And he's quite tall.

RR15. It's certainly a valid argument you make. I just would rather have my best player's foul trouble in the first half so I can have him for more of the second half. The way it worked out, CCSU was down big without him, but he had the whole second half to try and catch up. I'd rather that then have him pick up, say a 4th one with 12 minutes left and miss the next 8.

Breaking news

At the women's game, will have full coverage in the paper in the morning, but wanted to pass along a nugget.
I just spoke with Dave Simmons, who told me he expects to play in the next game. He looks a lot better, too.

Catching up

So I've been working so much that I haven't had time to update the old blog.
So let's run through the week since the last time I did this, then give some thoughts on the topics of the day.
As always, please give me your thoughts at

Friday: A gutty effort by the Devils, hindered by two absences. Sitting a few feet away, I watched Shemik gut out that game and am absolutely convinced that Central would have won had it not been for the 7 minutes he sat in the first half. They were down 2 when he left and played the second half I think down 1 with him the whole half. If he plays, they're at the very least in the game late, giving the shooters a realistic shot. You never know. But I think they win.
To the argument that you have to play Shemik with 2 fouls: no way. You'd rather lose him in the first half than the second. Maybe you try and steal the last minute of the half with him in, but he has to sit most of the time there. Dave coming back will be nice, too.

Saturday: What to say about the biggest comeback (in terms of importance) in school history? Great job by the defense in the fourth quarter, and a gutty effort by the offense. Again, the running game wears down the D and sets up a big play downfield. Great job by Aubrey and Josue to rescue the play, too. The key now will be Central's ability to keep focused heading into Saturday. Playing a bad team with so much on the line lends itself to a letdown the week after a big one. I think Central's seniors hold the fort and book a trip to the midwest.

Monday: The women are going to be good. Struggling to finish against two teams from allegedly better leagues isn't that bad a thing, especially since Central had both games in its sights. All that's left to do is iron out the slow starts. When Central fights for loose balls and boards and gets a spark from the likes of Dowdy, it will be fine.
The men need experience and Simmons. A win in the meantime to get their spirits up would be nice, too. There will be nights like this for a team that relies so heavily on outside shooting. No shots, no win.

Btw, I don't remember if I mentioned this during my trips to hoops practice, but if not I feel bad since I killed Central for it last year. GREAT job fixing the devil at midcourt and having it face the hard camera. It will look a million times better on tv now. I also like that the women's banner is blue. Nice way to make it different.

As for the recruiting: Getting three starters from a class is a good thing. Yes the rest of that class is gone, but sometimes that's a mutual thing. Sometimes schools like when guys they don't want leave so they can replace them with someone else.
Baskerville has played 2 games. Let's not close the book on him either way for at least another year. Talk to me at the end of next season.
This year's group: I like Deans, Vince can shoot from anywhere, and Howie LOVES Efese. I have to find an excuse to get the quotes I have from him about Joe E. into a story. He's VERY high on him. We shall see.
Lots of good rumors about next year, I'll see what I can find out.

Told you so

After FU threatened to pull away, Central has come to life in the last few minutes behind Shemik with a big assist to Markeys Deans. Down 8 with 11:57 left.

1st half thoughts

Well things were going just fine until shemik went out with his 2nd foul. After that FU went on a 14-4 run to close the half.
THeir size hurts the Devils, but FU isn't really pulling away with that advantage What happened was that CCSU scored 4 points without Shemik in nearly 7 minutes. I think if he (and everyone else) stays out of trouble, CCSU makes this a game again.

Starters set

Shemik, Rosario and Robby in back of Chris and Markeys (playing for Dave, who is sick).

Attendance report

Not a big crowd here in Bridgeport, but bigger than a Detrick house would be.
This place is stunning by the way. Beautiful, beautiful building.
Ok, on to important stuff. Shemik is in uniform and is warming up as I type. He's a go. Dave however, is not here. I have heard is he now sick, but I have not confirmed that myself. Definitely not here though. Everyone else seems to be here as I do the checcklist in my head.
I'll check in throughout the night as I can, but I'll have to write during the game as it's very close to deadline.
8 pm go time.

I can clear things up

If needed, the NEC has been kind enough to send me the tiebreakers for all the three (and in one case four) way ties in the football standings.
I won't list them all here now as they're hard as heck and a million things can still happen, but let's just say this: If I'm reading this all right, Central doesn't win many of them. There's one very unlikely one Central can win, but let's not go there yet.

Also, I will blog from Harbor Yard tonight, check this early, I should know about Shemik long before game time.

Senior day quotes

I didn't have room in my football preview since there's so many of them, but I wanted Mac's thoughts about the seniors to be on the record somewhere. So I'll print them here.

“James, Aubrey and Anthony have all been here five years,” McInerney said. “Aubrey’s been great here and the year he got hurt, we might have run the table that year. James Mallory is special. He’s got a chance to be the school’s all-time eading rusher and what’s he’s done academically is tremendous. And Anthony is going to graduate and has done well.”
“Marcus Dorsey has been wonderful. Nick was at my first press conference, he's a local kid who's done great and Hunter Wanket did just a fabulous, fabulous job. What he’s done since he’s been out has been special.”
“Tyler Rossnagle and Greg Grochowski have been great, and willing to do whatever we ask. Ray Saunders, Danny and Robert Rodriguez are terrific and good in school and Matt Tartaglione has been wonderful in school and in the games.”

Mail time!

First off, HUGE thanks to Brad Carroll, Ryan Pipke and Andrew Lovell for all their help with the special section. Brad made it look great, and Ryan and Andrew both wrote things to take some of the weight off my shoulders.
Hope you'll all pick it up and bring it with you to the game Friday, or read it before listening to Bruce and Marc. Not sure if all of it can even be webbed, so give it a read please! You'll enjoy it and we worked hard on it.

Thought, in the spirit of the start of the year, I'd tackle some questions I've seen around the web.

Is Shemik Thompson still the primary PG this year?
Yes, if he doesn't play Friday's it's because he's been sick all week. I didn't mention it in the preview because I was writing about the long term. I know he was out of practice this week, so Paul's report today is accurate. Though knowing Shemik, if he can walk he'll play.

If so, if Bailey plays well while Thompson is ill will it allow Howie to move Thompson over to SG?
Maybe in some cases, but not often. You're more likely to see Shemik and Joe or Vince. You want Shemik to be in charge, and you'd like to avoid a freshman PG. Not saying Devan won't be good, but PGs are like QBs. The older the better.

Where will Ptacek play and what happened to Tull?
Ptacek will mostly be a wing/forward/3rd guard, so he's not really bothered by who the second guard is. I don't think you'll see much of Tull early. But I think he can absolutely be a player down the line. Bailey will play early, as will Deans.

Where will Rosario play?
Remember Microwave Johnson? Vince will be shooting. A lot. Howie told me specifically that he doesn't want Vince driving the ball much, so you won't see him running the point much. Plus I saw him make a shot in practice from the sideline before he started regularly draining NBA threes.

A depressing weekend

Wanted to catch up with some thoughts on the weekend before I go back to working on hoops previews. (Not sure exactly the schedule for the week, but I can promise you lots coming.)
As for football... what a gut-wrenching setback. Hard to place too much blame on the offense, it scored 27. I will say that I didn't understand those early decisions by Mac in the first half that led to TOs... but in the end it came down to "live by the sword, die by the sword."
I don't think it's fair to rip Central for winning a host of close games this year. Did their running, conservative style allow for some close game? Yes. Did it help them win a bunch of games late? Absolutely.
Think of it like a boxer: fans like Mike Tyson, who knocked people out but couldn't last in a long fight. Lennox Lewis, who jabbed his way through 12 boring rounds, won almost all his fights. He just ran into a right hand against Rahman.
That's what happened to the Devils. The opposition threw one final, desperate haymaker and connected.
If Central makes that one last stand, we're talking about a gutty effort to win a road game despite a rash of illnesses. Instead, we're lamenting possible end of what was once a run to a title.
I do think Albany will show up against Wagner, as it can cause a three-team craziness situation (if they got help with a CCSU loss to Monmouth) that I have to investigate further.
The point is, I think both sides of the argument are extreme. This was a bitter loss and everyone should be disappointed since the title was there for the taking (the FCS playoffs are no longer an option either), but I don't think it means that the seven wins are meaningless. They can still get to 9 for I believe the 2nd time in school history. That IS a big deal.
Speaking of bad beats, I'm SICK for the soccer girls. They beat literally every team in the NEC, avenged their one tie with a win in the rematch, and the one loss Sunday ends their run?
Conference tournaments make money, but they are patently unfair.
Unless the Central men use them to make the Sweet 16 in men's soccer. Then I think they're great.
Kidding, of course. Anyway, I truly hope Leah Blayney and company can appreciate what they accomplished. A wonderful year by a great group. And a FANTASTIC job by the football team and all the other students who packed the soccer field for Sunday's game. Wonderful show of support. Really classy move by some of the other teams on campus.
I'll have a men's soccer follow, speaking of great kids, as well this week.


yes, I realize I named the wrong old QB for Wagner in my story today. The point is the same and the quotes are accurate, I just named the wrong QB. What other team in the world has a 22 year old newcomer AND a 24-year old backup?

That tease

This was one I had to hold onto until Saturday in part because I wanted to see how big it would become, but now it seems less severe. Early in the week there was quite the flu bug going through the football team (not to mention a couple of other teams and now your favorite beat writer just sneezed as he wrote this), but by Friday afternoon I can report that many of the players were back at practice. I was told that Thursday night and saw it for myself Friday. I wouldn't be stunned if a player or two doesn't go Saturday because of it, but the worst seems to have passed. There was one star player I was particularly worried about, but since he practiced Friday I won't embarrass him by saying he was sick.
Preview is in the paper and online, but i forgot to make a pick:
Assuming Central is healthy, they pull it together and win another close one. I think Jason Page is going and Central always plays well when he's around, so I'll say 27-21 in another late rally. If they're sick, all bets are off. But I'll give you a bonus, long-term pick: If Central wins this one, Monmouth is going down in two weeks. Coming home with one big one to go? The Devils won't miss that chance. But first things first.
That all said, I have tons of writing for the paper to do this week, so forgive me if the blogging is scarce this week. Check the paper or to make sure you see it all.

Just checking in

so you guys wouldn't think I forgot you. Obviously I'm writing like crazy for the paper this week with everything going on. Hope you're reading it all in the Herald or at
Yes, shameless plug. I have to buy my Cherry Pepsi somehow.
Wanted to clear up one misconception I've seen out there: CCSU didn't hide Ken's injury last year. Not from me, and not from you guys. They couldn't have because they didn't know about it.
Kenny didn't tell the coaching staff what he was playing through until AFTER the year. He was toughing it out. Which is admirable, even if not always the best thing to do. He told Howie after the year was over. The only thing I haven't asked, because quite frankly I didn't think of it at the time, is why it took so long from the time he told coach until when he's getting surgery. I know the CCSU medical staff and they're VERY good, so I'm sure it's a totally reasonable answer. My guess is they wanted to see if he could play through it.
Schedule for the week: I wrote a quick thing on football for Thursday's paper, soccer stuff will be in Friday's paper and a full football preview Saturday morning. It's possible there will be breaking news late week/weekend. Will let you know if there is. Not tyring to be a tease, as it's quite possible nothing comes of it, but just wanted to remind you to check here once in a while this week. And don't fret, it's nothing earth-shattering like Kenny.
Btw, I saw others have started calling his absence and the missing minutes and points the "Kenny void." I wish I could start a more pleasant trend. But maybe we can get Bruce to use it on opening night?
Also, start working on names now for next year, when a healthy, angry Kenny comes back and starts dunking on people. I vote for the "Ken Horton Revenge Tour." Simple and unoriginal, yet effective. Like most of my stuff.
Also, Lynn, if you read this, I wrote you back. Reply so I can fulfill that article request.

The replacements

Guys, I wouldn't freak out if Tull or any of the other freshmen aren't superstars on Day 1. Just because there's a need now doesn't mean we can expect the world from them right away. I've never said Tull won't contribute. Just saying it won't be fair to ask him to be Ken on Nov. 13.

Kenny update

For those who didn't see my blog Monday night (I know there wasn't much there but I wanted to get something up quick since it was big news) or Marc's report on TV on the 11 pm news, here's the full breakdown on Kenny's injury.

Apparently it goes back much further than I thought. I'd like to apologize publicly for my comments about his lack of aggression down the stretch last year. Apparently he was playing on one leg. He didn't tell me either.

As for the questions of what happens now: I can tell you 2 things from my day-long trip to Detrick on Monday (thanks to both teams for letting me spy to see what kind of plays they're running and talk to the kids). First, there's one lineup where Robby is the 4. We'll call that the "small," lineup.
2nd, you're going to see a lot more pressing and trapping on D. The idea, I think (though perhaps this was going to happen even with Kenny) is since it will be harder to score on offense, to try and make some of those points up on defense.

A couple other notes, which I'll write more about as we get closer. (And I can already hear your keyboards going... don't panic, I haven't forgotten about football. But Kenny quite frankly is the big news of the day.) First, Chris Baskerville is in phenomenal shape. Can he translate that to production? We'll have to wait and see. But if he can run and be a strong presence inside, it will help the "Kenny void," as we'll name it.

Markeys greatly intrigues me because he's bulky and has some touch on his shot. He'll need time to figure everything out though. Vince is playing much better defense than what he did last year in practice, and can shoot the ball from across the street. Joe Efese strikes me as someone who can help defensively right away, though his offense has a ways to go. If those four players all contribute in the ways I mentioned, it could cover the Kenny void.
But that shows you just how special Kenny is when healthy. It will take a village to replace him. Replacing him defensively will be the hard part.

What does this mean for the year? Honestly, I'm not ready to say. The good news is this happened now, and they have the whole year to put a plan together. It's not like losing him heading into March. I don't think they finish worse than last year because others have improved and there are more weapons with the newcomers. Coach likes these challenges, too. Now the Devils have to grind. I promise he'll get every ounce of energy out of this group. But let's just say I'm backing off the pick I was going to make for how they will do this year.
I'll have to change my player of the year pick, too.

Unrelated note: I don't remember if I posted this stuff or not, it's been a crazy week. First, soccer scheduling changes. The women will play their semifinal at 11 am on the soccer field. The 2nd semi is right after, and there. The men will play their senior day game in the evening, I believe at 6, on the football field. Also, big congrats to the XC men for their NEC title.

More to come in the paper on hoops. I wrote a follow to the Albany FB game, don't know if it ran tonight, I wasn't in the office. I'll have a football game preview in Saturday's paper, but not sure about midweek stuff because of this development and soccer previews. Of course, if something huge happens like a Hunter level injury, we'll have it.

My busiest two weeks of the year just got crazier, Bear with me. Please keep questions coming to , just don't kill me if it takes awhile to respond this week.

Big, bad news

Obvioiusly, MUCH more to come on this in the next 2 days, but I do have to share with you a sad and surprising (at least to me) turn of events.
Ken Horton, with that bad hip, is now going to miss the entire season. He will redshirt and be eligible for a 5th year in 2011-2012 (someone check my math there on the year, I'm rushing.)
But here's the good news: He is expected to make a FULL recovery and be back 100 percent next year.


Albany gets onside kick. Saunders sacks espo on first down. Long pass to McCarty on 2nd down. Espo run on 3rd down. 4th down at midfield. PICKED by Rose on 4th down. Central wins!


Albany scores with 59 seconds left, needs 2. Last year, Central missed the tying 2pt conversion with 55 seconds left. This year Albany called for OPI. on the 2pt. Ray Saunders sacks the QB on the second try, Central holds with 59 seconds left!

Down the stretch we come

UA hit a fourth down and is now driving, 1:47 left, they're up to Central's 28 or so.

It all comes down to this

CCSU punts, Albany will have a chance with 3 minutes left. Remember, they need the 2-pt conversion too. It's 31-23.

A little luck is nice

A long KO return gave Albany great field position, but the Danes miss a fg! 6:06 left, CCSU up 31-23

Big kick coming

CCSU's drive stalls in the red zone, Izzo from 28, he makes it, CCSU up 31-23 with 9:17 to go.

A couple good omens

CCSU is 35-1 when leading after 3 since 2004. Also, they've won their last 4 when trailing at half.


Aubrey's 50-yard strike to Josue sets up a Mallory score from the 1, 28-23 Central late 3rd.

Don't go anywhere

Mallory from 17, Central trails 23-21 late 3rd. GREAT show of courage. I thought they'd roll over after the last fumble. Instead they're a stop from going for the lead.

They're alive

Alondre Rush with a big pick on the ensuing drive. Central threatening.

well, the drive was nice

Central got that long drive I talked about, going nearly seven minutes, but Aubrey fumbled in the red zone.
CCSU converted three third downs on the drive. The offense looks good. just have to stop fumbling.
Meanwhile, Albany just picked up a big 3rd down. The tide is turning. CCSU NEEDS a stop or this one could get away.

Halfway home

Well the Devils were hurt by that fumble, but are still just down nine at half. The Devils have the ball to start the second half, and they will NEED to get something going early. Even if they don't score, they need some yardage to get some Mo back.
The bigger key will be stopping Vinny Esposito. The UA Qb was lethal in the opening half, torching CCSU through the air.

Turnovers hurt

McCarty, who is finiding his legs as the game goes, scores from 10 yards 23-14 UA less than 2 minutes left in the half.

Uh oh

Josue fumbles ensuing kickoff, UA driving now.

UA answers

long pass to Bush sets up UA's answer, and they now lead 16-1 4:28 left in the half.
Esposito is 11-for-13 for 151 yards in the half. Outch.

CCSU rallies

Central, highlgithed by that long pass and a reverse oto Martin for the score, goes up 14-9. Less than 7 left in the half.

The Empire State strikes back

Albany's latest march nets them a FG (bad penaltiy stopped them from having 3rd and goal on the 1) 9-7 UA, early 2nd. But Aubrey just hit Nick for 45 yards, CCSU inside UA's 30.

Starts and stops

Central did well on the ground, getting past midfield, then struggles through the air before punting.

The 1st stop of the day

McCarty was in, but stuffed twice as UA goes 3 and out starting on its own 45 and after getting 9 yards on 1st down.
CCSU ball on its own 25.

Well how's that for a response?

Mallory goes 79 yards on the first play! 7-6 CCSU. 9:04 1st. He went right up the middle and wasn't touched once he got past the 2nd level.

Good and bad news

Albany marches down the field for a 12-play TD drive tos tart, but the Danes botch the snap on the XP. 6-0 Danes, 9:22 left 1st qrt.
Aubrey on the field, CCSU starts at its own 22

First big note

It looks like McCarty won't see more than limited time, if much at all. Gannon looks good early though. Albany driving to open the gam.e

Here we go

Hope you all read my my extensive preview of this one. I'll be checking in throughout the game with news and notes. Remember per NCAA rules I really can't do play by play.


Back to the coverage debate.
So I admit I haven't been reading the message boards and comments as frequently lately (been busy with other things), or I'd have seen that a couple people knew about Hunter before I did.
Mac had told me on Saturday (by phone) that there was a big injury, but he couldn't get into details until they were sure.
So when I did my usual Wednesday practice visit, I saw him in a sling.
As for what gets covered when: I went into detail about my schedule earlier this week. And it gets crazier next week when hoops starts. Remember, at a place like the Courant has specific guys for each sport. My good friend Mike Anthony, for example, worries primarily about UConn men's hoops.
This week I will be writing stories about football, women's soccer, men's soccer, and both basketball teams. Also, I have to do high school stuff on occasion. So that's why I'm not at football practice every day. I'm a fat guy, but there's not enough of me to go around!
Hud, I didn't forget about reasking your TEs question. But between Hunter's injury and the Albany game itself, it wasn't the right time to bring the argument back up. I will though, I promise.
As for media creating interest, both sides are right. Hud, you're right that the media creates interest, but that's at the national level. ESPN has MADE the country care about football (along with gambling) more than the other sports. But that doesn't work at the local level.
That's where 4-3 is right. The crowds for both soccer programs are growing greatly over the last two years. But I can't make you guys care about soccer if you don't. I'm not important enough. Though I warn you now, I'm going to be IMPLORING you all to get to the NEC tourney in New Britain. The women are good and should be earning a title. It's the first time their tourney has been here since 2005, and I still remember the students lining the fence all the way around the field that day.
By the way, speaking of fans needing to step up: your butts better fill Arute Field Saturday. If you ever want CCSU to be taken seriously outside of New Britain, you NEED to make this game an event. This is the biggest football game in years in that building. FILL THAT PLACE. Make the tv stations care.
As for volleyball... I have the same scheduling issue every year where I see them at the start and then never get there again once soccer and football are in full swing, so my plan this year is to hold off until they get to the tourney, then do a big feature. Or have someone do it if I don't have time.
Ronny: Getting an honest answer out of a coach can be a chore. Mac knows when to not say something. And if you noticed what I blogged the other day in response to Hud's question, I mentioned that the answer he gave was kind of dancing around the question.

Sad news

I do want to give some feedback on the board thread that mentioned me, and I will, but I have to run, but I do have I believe breaking news, since I haven't seen this anywhere else.

Hunter has an injured left collar bone and is likely out until at least the postseason.
I talked to him and to others at length about him today, and I wanna say one thing before I run off for the night. (Much more about this in Friday's paper.

I've picked on Hunter Wanket's fumbles and I've even suggested at times that I'd start Aubrey at QB for various reasons. But none of that was ever meant personally about Hunter. I've had the pleasure of talking to him for 2 years now, and what I already knew was reinforced this week. There aren't too many classier kids or better leaders at that school or on this planet.

I'm heartbroken for a terrific young man, fumbles, criticism be damned.

That said, quick housekeeping before I go for the night: Aubrey to QB, Steve to the backup, and more Josue and Richie to cover for Aubrey's absence from the WR position. Those are the only changes. Boddie will be a game time decision, everyone else should be a go.

And one more word of thanks to the Blue Devil football team, which let me crash its locker room today during a pair of lightning storms. I try and stay out of those rooms, and the team rooms down stairs, as the players deserve places that are "theirs," but they covered for the fat old guy today.

Anyway, much more on football to come.

And as for the other thing, this quick thought: remember that I do as many of the other sports as I possibly can, that's one of the reasons I don't get to them till later. Also, I try and save stuff for closer to the games, as that's when it's most interesting. Remember that I can't be at practice every day to get stories like Dez does with the Courant for UConn, as I have to do desk stuff in the office, where I am now, and get to the other sports. Heck, I usually do this blog from home after I leave the office at 10:30-11 at night.

Also, I try and get an occasional day off. Today on my "day off" I went to football practice and a meeting. Now I'm gonna go out to a birthday dinner, but please remember one thing. You can rip my writing and especially my opinions, but please appreciate that I try and get as much info as I can for you guys.
That said, I love my job, I'm not complaining. Just saying, I am only one man guys!

Flood my inbox and I will ask your questions if you don't like mine.

NBA Picks

my yearly look at my NBA Picks, which will be good barring injury.
I'm an NBA nut, and this is a good place to keep them recorded for public viewing. Lemme know what you think. CCSU info below, my plan for the week is there.

Anyway, onto the picks:

1: Boston. I think they could seriously win 70.
2: Cleveland: Shaq will be better than people think. He loves when people doubt him. Their swingman is pretty good, too.
3: Philly: Size and speed will serve them well.
4: Orlando: This might even be high. HATE their moves.
5: ATL: Not that good, but a tough matchup because of their athletic size. Will win some games taht way.
6: Miami: Another better than people think team. Wade in a contract year, too.
7: Detroit: Chemisty hell, but too much scoring to be bad.
8: Chicago: Will take some time to figure it out, byt once they do watch out.

Non playoff teams in order: Toronto. Indiana (they could sneak in), Milwaukee, Charlotte, New Jersey, Washington, New York.

East Playoffs: Boston over Chicago, easier this time. Cle over Detroit, easier this time. Philly over Miami, their size is too much. Orlando over Atlanta.

East 2nd round: Boston continues the revenge tour and stomps Orl. CLE beats philly.

East Finals: Boston over Cleveland in 7 hellacious games. Rondo beats Mo in Game 7.

1: San Antonio: Best team on paper. Will health hold up?
2: LA: The champs are here, but they won't be champs again.
3: New Orleans: Okafor will help, and CP3 is there.
4: Denver: Because someone has to finish here.
5: Utah: Coaching and PG is a good combo.
6: Portland: I don't buy the hype.
7: Dallas: This scares me. I don't like.
8: PHX: If Amare is healthy this is low. If he's not, this is high. So we'll split the difference.

Non playoff teams: OKC, Clippers, G State, Houston, Minnesota, Memphis, Sacramento, who could break a record for worst team ever.

Playoffs: SA over PHX, LA over Dallas, NO over PTL, and Utah over Denver.
2nd round: SA over Utah, LA over NO.
Finals: SA over LA.

Finals: Boston over SA in 5.

Ryan Pipke's picks:
East: Cleveland, Boston, Orl, Atl, Chi, Philly, Toronto, Miami. West: La Lakers, SA, Utah, Prtl, NO, Minny, Denver LA Clippers.

East Playoffs: First round winners: Cleveland, Boston, Orl, Chi.
2nd round: Cleveland, Boston
East Finals: Cle over Boston in 7.

West Playoffs: First round winners: Lakers, SPurs, Wolves, Hornets.
2nd round winners: Lakers, Spurs.

West FInals: Lakers in Six

NBA Finals: Lakers over Cavs in 6.

Back at the keyboard

After doing some TV and other stuff, I'm back with you guys here. Look for news tomorrow from the football team, and of course, much about hoops coming soon.
Also, big weekend for women's soccer. Home with the chance to lock up the league Friday/Sunday. Will be fun.

Mail time!

I love these, please keep the questions coming. Post them here or at

Let's get right to it. I'll paraphrase slightly when necessary on the questions, as sometimes they're not written in straight question form. This is in order I got them, so we'll jump around a bit from sport to sport:

Q: Can you speculate on Ken Horton's injury?
A: I try hard not to do that, as speculation is an dangerous thing. But here's what I can piece together: I don't want to speak too much about the conversation I had with him, not because we talked about anything substantial but because it wasn't an on the record interview and I try to be careful about that, but I'll say that I left our chat at the run thinking he'd be fine. Also Howie, while his quote was understandably scary, didn't give the impression he thought it was very bad, either. Just that they'll check him again in 2 weeks. I think they'll be cautious, too. They don't need him in October. In theory, they really don't need him until December.

Q: It's so refreshing to see a CCSU hoops article, as many of us are chomping at the bit. One question though: Is there a reason Jonathan Tull was never mentioned? Is he considered a "project", more of a swingman/Aaron Hall type player? All the articles I read about him seemed to be so positive...he was one of the top rated Canadian players.

A: 1) I don't always use every quote I get for a story, so I might have skipped over something I didn't think was interesting at the time.
2) Howie might have just forgotten him, he was listing players off the top of his head, his remarks weren't prepared. It also doesn't mean that, if he's not ready now, that he won't be a factor later. Sometimes Howie likes to reserve talking about a guy until he feels he deserves it. Tull was at the run, so it's not like he was gone.

Q: Coach Mac sends confusing signals to the fans in his Open Mac spots. He (and CCSU) seem to be suffering an identity crises when it comes to his Open Mac's and first half vs second half performance.
A: I cut out a part of this question for length, but it was a good one. The edited parts mentioned quotes where Mac said he was going to open up the offense, the famous Florida trip, etc.
Quite frankly, I think Mac believes everything he says at the time he says it. I think he's working on expanding the passing game, which statistically he has. CCSU averaged 18.3 passes a game last year and is at 20.8 this year. But I think fans tend to extrapolate what he says into their own wishful thinking. Opening up the passing game doesn't mean being a pass-first offense.
And to be fair, they do run some of the Florida stuff. There's a bit of a misperception that Florida is a passing team. In fact, the two teams are remarkably similar. UF has run it 269 times and passed 141. CCSU is 300/125. Percentage wise, Central runs 70 percent of the time and Florida runs it 66 percent of the time.
But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is this: I believe that Mac, in his heart, is always going to be a smashmouth football kind of guy. Defense and running the ball will be what matters to him. He'll say those things about the passing game and means them at the time, but when he gets on the field his instincts take over. He is always going to try and grind the other team down by running the ball, then, when the defense is drawn to the line, pop a couple of big pass plays. That's what he means by passing more. That's not ever going to change. The old strategy was run until the defense is tired then run some more. So that's progress, right?
And you know what? Say what you want about its predictability, but it's worked for the most part.

Q: Does Mac take the play calling away from coach Likens when we pass the ball?
A: No. Mac does occasionally call plays, but head coaches generally leave those things to the cooordinators. That's their job. The head coach is more of an overseer. They all work together to form a game plan, then the coordinators run that plan and pick the plays to execute it.

Q: Why doesn't Central throw to its tight ends more?
Here's the one I was talking about yesterday. Mac had literally less than 5 minutes to talk yesterday, so I didn't get the chance to ask as many followups as I'd have liked, but here's what I did get. And I promise to ask it again when I get a chance.
Here's Mac's quotes.:
My question was about opening things up by getting more people involved, especially the tight ends. His response:
"I think it's about moving the football. We want to get more weapons and more people involved. For us to win championships we had to be more multiple. If we had been one dimensional Saturday (at DU) we'd have gotten beat. And for us to ever win an NEC championship that's what we have to do."
I kind of rephrased it and he added:
"We are spacing it out more. Some of it is quarterback reads."
So basically, he says he's trying to get it to everyone and sometimes the TEs (and Nick) have been open and missed. Which isn't a shot at the QBs, it happens to everyone.
Anyway, I hope this has been informative, and I'd love to do more, so please keep the questions coming.

Mailbag briefly delayed

Writing this in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Ending up writing a bunch of stuff for the paper after spending the afternoon at practice, so the mailbag will go up Thursday late afternoon/evening, maybe earlier if I get a shot around lunchtime. I've done it save for the question I asked Mac Wed. at practice, so I just have to throw it on here. I didn't want you guys to think I forgot u.
Hud, I earned my Pepsi and asked your tight end question, but because we were rushed I didn't get to do my usual followups. (I'll stick up for Mac only on the point that he's never completely ducked a question, and I don't think he did this time, I just didn't get to go too in depth.)
But I will post what I got and ask it in a more in-depth way the next chance I get.

Tight ends

Hud and all
You will have an answer to your questions in Wednedsday's mailbag coming here. I'm working on it tonight and tommorow. Got a bunch of good questions! Keep them coming, I'll do this as often as I get questions for!

Change of direction

I was going to post some football thoughts today and respond to a comment on here, but the day's events make all that seem out of place. Yes I covered a soccer game today because the girls deserve it, but arguing about things like playcalling can wait a day.
I know many of you who read this blog think of UConn as the "evil empire," but I truly hope you're understanding today. Remember that what happened today goes beyond rivalries and sports jealousies. What happened today is about a life that should have had 50-plus years to go ending over something we'll never understand, even if the "reason," as if there can be such a thing, comes out.
Also remember that football teams, particularly college ones, spend as much, if not more, time with each other than they do their own families. They ARE families. What those 104 other kids are going through, and what Jasper Howard's blood family is going through today is unimaginable.
And yet, the games must go on. And so I propose two things:
1) First, hard as it may be, try and remember that these are just games kids play. Life is more important. When they set up some kind of fund for Jasper's unborn child, think about chipping in. If you read about his family, they seem like a great group. His sister overcame menengitis.
2) Remember the 104 kids who will try and play a football game Saturday. I can't ask Blue Devil Nation to root for Huskies. I'm not asking you to root for a uniform. I'm not asking you to root for the scoreboard to say anything in particular come Saturday. But root for those kids. Root for them to find the strength to get through a week no one should, let alone 20-year old kids. Root for them to play with the passion and skill necessary to pay brilliant tribute to their friend.
Root for Jasper Howard's families. Both of them.


Great job by Hunter to lead Central to a huge win. Another gritty effort in the second half. Don't sleep on Bryant next week. Another tough road game for a Central team that has to be fatigued from expending this 2nd half energy every week. They NEED an easy one. Not sure you'll see one this year.

Big Blue

That, my friend, is a wildly simplistic, and quite frankly, silly statement.
This isn't pro wrestling, where you plan the big comeback for the end to rile up the crowd. Falling behind early isn't CCSU's "philosophy."
And as nice as it sounds, winning in football isn't about attitude. You don't dominate because you want to. It's insulting to the kids to imply that they aren't trying to win from the jump. Also, adjustments have nothing to do with a lack of preparation. You have to see what works against your opponent. You can't just decide ahead of time something will work. I PROMISE you they're trying to get things to work at the start of the game just as much as at the end.
What it is is using the run to set up the pass, and wearing down the opposition. It's actually a pair of widely used approaches. And no, I don't think it's going to work in 2 weeks, but trust me, if Central can break it open early it will. A lead wouldn't go against the Devils' philosophy.

here we go again

Central has completely taken over, it must be the second half. Fans must have been nervous after that quick score early in the half, but it seems like the Devils are on their way to taking the lead back late third.

Oy yoy yoy

So if you saw my pick in the paper today, I had Central winning big.
Seriously, i'm going to have to stop picking them, apparently I am bad luck.
About 9 minutes in, CCSU has had the ball for less than 2. But it's still just 7-7.

You asked, so I asked

Ok, while I've talked to Mac a million times this year, today I had a chance to get him with some rare down time and so I asked some of the "other" questions I've gotten from you guys that I said I would ask him.

Hud, I think this was yours, and Mac said it was a "great question." I wish I had asked it myself now!
Q: In order to create a spark, why not take the ball first since you've won every toss this year?

Mac: "That is a great question. I had a coach ask that. I like getting the ball first in the second half. How many pssessions have we scored on the first possession of the second half in the second half and scored?"
(Note from Matt: The answer is every game except William and Mary if you count Paul's kickoff return vs. SHU and 3 of 5 if you don't, as CCSU didn't score on its first offensive possession of the half.)
"I'd rather have the ball first in the second half to make halftime adjustments. You get that extra possession, supposedly, in the second half. ... I just feel like, if we're slow starters, why would I want to go three and out to start the game?"

So that's his theory. Not saying you have to agree with him, but give him credit for answering. A lot of coaches get mad when you dare question their strategy. Mac goes over it when asked.

Now, about Nick C, who Mac said he gets asked about all the time.
Mac: "Nick's doing great. Nick plays 20-30 more snaps than the other guys. Richie only plays in certain personennel groupings. Nick plays in all the personnel groupings. Fisher only plays in certain personnel groupings... Last week we tried to get the ball to Nick five times where he was the lead guy. It just didn't happen. You don't just say 'throw it to Nick.' It has to happen in the offense.... Sometimes they play cover 2 and put someone over the top on him. We have reads and if it's not there we throw it to someone else. It's not done on purpose. He'll get his share.
Nick does so many little things for us. He's our holder and he's an A at it. We couldn't win games without him. Just catching punts is so huge. You could go a lifetime without someone who catches the ball as well as him.... The guy helps us win games in all kinds of ways."

Off tow rite more about the hoops stuff (it will be more about their attitude and the style of play than the rotations, that won't be decided for some time), but I wanted to give you guys your answers.

Any more questions, you know what to do. or comment on here.

Tough beat

Sacred Heart has landed New Britain point guard Steven Glowiak. While he's not the player his brother was, his improvement over the summer helped him rise to the level of DI. I asked my colleagues here and no one here had him at that level, but Anthony saw him over the summer and thinks he's a player.
It's a steal from your rival's home town, but my guess is Central didn't think as highly of him.

Thoughts from the run

Wow. Chris Baskerville, who lagged behind the pack last year, won the race today and looks to be in phenomenal condition. Howie praised the work he's put in physically and in the classroom, and said he could get "significant" playing time. If he can use his strength and add a running game to it, he could become a dangerous 4-type for Central. Simmons, Chris and Kenny could be a very good front court.
Horton didn't run, but he told me his injury was minor. Dickenman said it will be a couple of weeks at least, however, so we'll see. Again, Kenny didn't seem at all concerned. Unless he's a great actor, you shouldn't be either.
Joe was in what Howie called "the best shape of his life," and I fully expect him to have a bounce back year in his last go around. Robby also looked good. Shemik told me he rehabbed at home over the summer and thinks he's ready to go.
Lots more over the next couple of days, including an interesting story that could be a harbonger of how the back court will work this year.

A couple of responses

Going through the board today and saw lots to comment on, but here's a couple for now while I write today's story and watch the Sox.
1) It's fun to think of football movies, but it doesn't work like that often in real life where the coach makes some incredible halftime speech that rallies the boys... certainly not four weeks out of five. He might say a couple things, but most of those talks are general, about staying patient for example, and making adjustments.
2) To that point: The second half outbursts aren't because they're "waiting" to break out good plays. It's because they make adjustments and yes, wear the opposition down. It's an ugly way to win, but it works when you can run the ball this well.
3) And they did run the play action pass. It worked twice really well in the second half Saturday.
4) Coach Likens is still calling the plays, even in the 2nd half. At the home games he's in the next box over from the press box and we can see him. And a head coach would either take over calling the plays for a year or for a play or 2, he wouldn't do it for the 2nd half every week. If he did, the OC wouldn't be the OC anymore.
5) Speaking of Likens: Lemme preface this by saying I often disagree with his calls, so I'm not sticking up for him in that way. But I will say this. Watching him through the year, he does work hard. Saying he doesn't isn't fair. He's lost a ton of weight during the season from just working all the time. (I wish that worked for me!). I had a good chat with him the other day, and I assure you he's working his butt off.
Do I wish he'd let Hunter throw more? Yeah. But it's not because he's not trying or doesn't work hard.


Saunders with a stuff on 4th down and Central will hang on for a win. Fowler as I was typing just went many, many yards for a TD run. 60 in fact. CCSU 35-14.

PA pass

After pounding it on the ground all day, play action works for 2nd time. This time it's hunter to Fisher for 40 yards and a 28-14 CCSU lead with 4:17 left.

Weird wild whacky stuff

So far in the 4th we've had CCSU drive and not make it on 4th down, RMU drive after its starting QB left with an injury, and CCSU recover a fumble. And it was Gibson, who got carried off the field earlier. Crazy.

Looking good, I think

Josue's run was the only score of the 3rd, but Central feels in control now. Lomax's second pick of the day has the Devils in RMU territory as the 4th begins. The Devils controlled the play in the 3rd, but didn't get any offensive points to show with it.

Quick start again

I was just getting ready to say that Central needed to get going after the half, and they did. Josue Paul ran the kickoff 95 yards for a score. Flag on CCSU on extra point. Mal runs it in for 2.
21-14 CCSU.

Another quick turn

Central scored, but a missed XP proved costly when RMU went right down the field (must have been a blown assignment on 26-yard TD) that gave RMU a lead, 14-13. Central was driving back, but Hunter just got picked off. The Blue Devils went for it again on a 4th down, this time long counting for an offside that gave the Devils a first. Coming up on the warning, 14-13 RMU.

Nice drive

and a good job uilding on momentum. CCSU drives right down after Mallory's 2nd blocked punt, with the march keyed by a spinning completion by Aubrey to GG. Hunter looks to be ok, though he left on that drive with an arm injury.


Mal blocks another punt on the first play of the 2nd quarter, then goes off for a big run. Central looks like it has a chance to get the ball rolling here.

Take it however you can get it

Central's defnese started poorly, but it was te offense I thought would struggle. I wasn't against the 4th down call, but I would have tried a more advanced play, maybe Mallory. Though Fowler for 1 yard should work.
Anway, HUGE momentum turn on the blocked punt. Mallory enjoys playing special teams he says, and Mac loves him for being willing to do it. Also glad to see Nate Pagan, adjusting to new roles, getting the hang of things.
7-7 now. As my friend Tom Yantz would say... "how bout a stop?."

Catching up

So I used a slow week here in Devilland to get a bit of a break, but we'll catch up on football here for a minute. First off, tomorrow will be an interesting adventure. RMU is struggling mightily, and has blown through 4 QBs. You think CCSU shuffles them in and out?
The good news for the defense is that their system doesn't change depending on who's in the game like Central's does.
Mac didn't want to give away info, but there could be some interesting lineups Saturday. I'll have more as to why if it comes up.
To the anonymous commenter (and for the record, I wish you'd at least use a screen name so I can talk to you by a name): I don't think it was that conservative a plan, at least by Central's standards. They should let Hunter go deep more if he's going to play, I'll say that. I felt like he was running Aubrey's offense. The real problem is that this team doesn't do ANYTHING early. That's in part coaching and in part a bad job by the players. The coaches have made tons of adjustments and the players have stepped up when they needed, but one of these days they're going to fall behind by a number they can't rally from.
Look for Central to press early trying to do too much. I think that because they spent the whole week talking about starting fast. After early mistakes, they'll recover and win 27-13.
Btw, I'll try and live blog from the box tommorow, so check it out please.

Quickies on the QBs

Much more to come in the paper this week, but I wanted to give you guys two quick thoughts, one from me and one from Mac.

Mine: I thought both QBs did a great job today. Hunter was accurate and Aubrey changed the pace. Today I really felt like they hamstrung Hunter, however. When he's in there, they should let him fire the ball. I felt like he was playing Aubrey's offense, particularly early. Though I think the two get stereotyped too much. Hunter is a much better runner than people think, and Aubrey is a much more accurate passer (look it up, I'm not making this up) than people give him credit for.
I admit I was surprised Hunter played so much, but not because I'm anti-Hunter or thought it was the wrong move. Mac told me during the week that they were "going to go with the hot hand and do what's right." He hates naming one, so you have to kind of guess a little, and I took the "hot hand" comment to mean Aubrey, going by the second half against Columbia.
After 15 games or whatever it is by now with the 2-headed monster, I'm officially done guessing. They'll both play I assume. As another reporter said during the game about Mac's process: "do you wonder if he's just flipping a coin and sending the winner out there?."

Anyway, none of that should overshadow a gritty effort. Yes, this game should have been won more easily, but you have to give CCSU credit for finding a way. Good teams do.

Now the Mac story. I'll let him share it. This is in the locker room at half, after CCSU had made a host of adjustments to the offense. Mac told Aubrey he was going in, and here's what happened.

Mac speaking: “I’ll tell you the truth. We went in and made the adjustments and Aubrey said ‘coach I think Hunter is better suited for that.’ I’ll tell you what, they’re class guys. I love those guys. They root and cheer… I might not ever have two guys like this again. We just have to hope and pray I make the right decision.”

Now, the cynic reporter in me says he's covering for Aubrey there, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were true, knowing the kids. Hunter would do the same thing I think. Anyway, time to get a couple hours of sleep before soccer.

better to be lucky than good!

Well with SH driving to win the game, Dorsey picks it and goes 100 yards to seal the game. Gotta go down for press stuff, will update later.

Hanging around

As my friend Bart Fisher just said "I guess this is what you call chipping away."
Central got a stop, drove close and ended up kicking a fg to pull to within 12-10 after 3. The defense has begun to settle in, but the offense just hasn't gotten together all day, save for a long run by Fowler. SH is battling on defense, but there's no excuse for this. Just a bad job all the way around. But wins don't have to be pretty. Now it's time to step up and finish the job and save the season. For now.

more ugliness

after a hideous 2nd quarter that ended in disaster, Central went down the field and finally scored. Baker hten picked off a pass and ran it back, but a penalty on Nate Pagan killed it. Central just can't get any momentum. Certianly my 56-20 is out the window. Now BD Nation just clings to hope for a win. I'll update after the third.

a yucky first quarter

Ok, so another prediction blown to bits.
After the first quarter it's 0-0. Not sure why, if Hunter's going to play, they don't let him fling the ball. If you're gonna run and do option stuff let Aubrey play. Hunter can throw it, let him.
The defense is starting to give up some deeper stuff, I'm starting to get worried.

Checking in

First off, Hud, I meant to post this sooner.... if you're having trouble contacting me, write I will get it and post it here for you, or at least answer you. Would love to get some more dialogue going with you. And you owe me a Pepsi.
As for our Blue Devils... let's do some quick hits here.
I went kind of in depth on the football team in the paper the other day... will do more on the upcoming game this week. The short of it is that CCSU believes that if it cleans up occasional mistakes on defense it can have a dominant group on that side of the ball.
On offense... I get the feeling that Hunter is on a short leash this week because of all the fumbles, whether you believe they are his fault or not. (And I'm not saying I do by the way). I also think you're starting to see Mac revert to his ways, and you'll see a lot less passing as the season goes on. However, I do believe a lot of the talk that the passing game has been underachieving is overdone. I'm not convinced this group is ever going to go off for like 400 yards passing in a game, Gator offense or not.

The men's soccer team has been reminded that it can't sleepwalk through the season. One bad stretch cost the Devils any chance to win the Siena game, and letdown late was costly against Yale, though I think the effort was solid for much of that game, if not the execution.

The women... I'm fascinated to see them again and figure out what the deal is. I knew the team would find trouble scoring goals, but I never thought the defense would give up five in a game. Though Hartford, a good source told me, is not a team to be taken lightly.

Anyway, what do you guys think about the year so far?

Catching up

First off, want to apologize for not updating. For some reason I'm having trouble blogging from home, and I was off for a couple of days. I was at CCSU football practice the other day and got some interesting tidbits that I'll be writing up this weekend.
Some quick thoughts... The defense believes it can get better, but that it has played well enough to keep the team in games. It's right. If not for a couple of big plays (ifs and buts are like...) the Devils would have a couple of big wins.
On offense... well for now it's safe to say the fumbling problems came up, and I didn't bring them up.

Fun with numbers

Well, for those who want CCSU to pass the ball more, I think you're going to be disappointed. I thought the offense was about as open as this staff will ever unleash.
Central passed 23 times for 159 yards, numbers that I never thought I'd see. Six different receivers caught passes (one of the things I'm going to ask Mac is why Nick isn't getting it it just a coverage thing or has he been passed by the other WRs?).
Now I'll grant you I never coached anything but a Madden team in football, but I've watched enough to know that when you're a heavy underdog, the best way to keep the score down is to run the ball and milk the clock. The same holds true in basketball, which is probably where I got my theory from since that's my sport: if the other team is better, don't give it the ball.
I didn't have a problem with the game plan except for the end of half situation. You only live once, take a shot at it. But mainly, keeping the ball from Webb and milking the clock through runs and short passes is how I'd have gone, too. Now I don't think Mac did it to run the clock per se, but it's an added bonus.
I think football is a lot about momentum, which is why I would have taken a shot at the end of the half and why that 2-minute stretch was so big. Even if Central doesn't score down 7-0... imagine a decent drive that forces the Tribe deep in its own end and a stop.... it's 7-0 late in the quarter or even early 2nd. Might have been a different game.
The task of keeping things close, since Central isn't going to score a ton of points again, will fall on the defense. Making some big plays and getting some stops early in games will be key when times get tough against the likes of Albany. Central, whether you think it's because of coaching or personnel, doesn't have the firepower to come back from 16-point holes very often.
What did you guys think of the game?

1st half breakdown

Well the bad news is that the game is a little wider than I thought. The good news is it hans't gotten away.
CCSU has given away some points, and you can't do that against this team.
Also, the pass defense HAS to get better. 6 passes for 131 yards? Ouch.
The run defense hasn't been as pourous. 60-something of the yards came on 2 rushes.

As for the end of half... I'm torn. I hate when coaches go conservative and run it out instead of going for the Hail Mary, but I think here it's a good sign. CCSU didn't want to risk and interception return because Mac believes the game isn't over. If it was, say 37-13, he might have just gone for a lucky break. But the Devils are one score from being back in the game.

Love the way they have responded to every Tribe score since the rough start. But now it's crucial that the Devils get some stops.

On offense, look for the dink and dunk to continue to keep the ball away from Webb.

My bold prediction: next score wins.

Just checking in

still writing the soccer game up (many, many ot's) so I won't be blogging too much until after the football game. I'll check in from time to time with thoughts though.
If the defense doesn't step up, there won't be much to write about.

Stay tuned tonight

we'll be blogging during the game tonight as I can while at the office and watching the game.


I want you all to read the paper and see why (I did a REALLY extensive preview this week), but I'll give my loyal blog friends my pick here for free.
34-13 Tribe in a game that is closer than the score indicates, but never really close. CCSU hangs around, but WM pulls away late. It's, say, 13-6 Tribe early, but they get a big play early in the second half and never look back.
Now, the question becomes this. If CCSU runs the table after Saturday, does it dance? I don't think so, but it's a thought.

Every once in awhile

A coach says something that is REALLY interesting.
If you missed my story today...Mac talked about how coaching on crutches calmed him down and helped the team maintain poise. His theory was that since he couldn't run around and act like, well, Mac, that there was a calmer tone to the sideline.
I told him if he's right, he has to keep the crutches for the rest of the year, even after the quad heals.

Back to it

Will be blogging a lot this weekend as the games come upon us again. Hope you'll take the time to read these things.
I'll start with feedback to the feedback:
JJ buddy. While I don't disagree with your theory, let's not get too excited yet. It's way too early to tell what wins mean anything. If Lehigh goes 0-11, this win isn't as big. As for using the preseason polls to judge strength...well, don't. It's been my experience that they mean as much as if you drew names out of a hat.
Again, everything you said could prove to be true. But let's look at it again in two weeks.

2 quick things before bed

What a crazy day. Just wanted to say 2 things before I turn the cpu off for the night.
1) I was wrong in my prediction. I said 28-24. It was 28-21. Ha. Don't worry, I won't get that close again all year I'm sure.
2) Anyone who didn't believe me about next week being hard, or everyone ready to try and get CCSU admitted to the Big East after this win. William and Mary beat VIRGINIA today.
Uh oh.

Holy Moly!

Ok, lots coming in the next couple of days, but what a HUGE momentum builder heading into next week.
If CCSU can pull the upset Saturday (and it will be much harder), then you can legitimately start talking playoffs.
My question to you guys: where do you rank this win in program history?

Settling in is right

2 observations:
1) love the way Central is mixing in players... Martin and Fowler in particular.
2) That interception in the end zone has the potential to be a season changer.

Halftime hopes

The good news: Central gets to the break tied.
The bad news: As the Lehigh coach said, the Mountain Hawks are "lucky" not to be way behind. The problem with that my old high school baseball coach used to say, when you have your foot on the throat of a snake, never take it off.
I have a feeling CCSU is going to pay for letting 2 or 3 touchdowns get away.

Is this the quck start I was talking about?

Hope you guys liked everything in the paper today. Lots of stuff in there for ya.
How about this quarter? If not for the TO's CCSU would be up big. Just hope that doesn't come back to bite it. Letting a better team off the hook can be costly.
Central's defense has been great, perhaps I underrated them. But let's watch a whole half at least before we figure that out.