Q&A with Alex Putterman, the Hartford Courant’s UConn beat writer

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 20, 2018 at 11:47 am Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham The D.O.: Who wins on Saturday and why?A.P.: Well, Syracuse wins, probably pretty handily, I was thinking something like — well you didn’t ask me for a score but I’ll give you one anyways — something like 48-24. I know Syracuse isn’t built around its offense, necessarily, but with how the UConn defense has been so far, I don’t think the Orange will have any trouble moving the ball. I think another thing to watch is that UConn’s only road game so far was at Boise State in a really loud atmosphere, and they committed six false starts. Which is not what you want, to say the least, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to playing in a fairly loud atmosphere at the Carrier Dome.Just today in practice, they were piping in extremely loud artificial crowd noise. It was really kind of a pain for me, so clearly they’re trying to mitigate against the impact the Carrier Dome will have, but I think that will play a role and it shouldn’t really be a tough game for Syracuse. Undefeated Syracuse (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) hosts UConn (1-2, 0-1 American Athletic) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. SU is coming off a 30-7 blowout against Florida State while the Huskies are reeling from an 0-2 start and a close game against Rhode Island.To get some the lowdown on the Huskies, The Daily Orange talked with the Hartford Courant’s UConn beat writer, Alex Putterman.The Daily Orange: UConn enters this game 1-2 with a close win over FCS Rhode Island. What’s the deal with the Huskies?Alex Putterman: Where they are is they’re an extremely, extremely young team. Especially on defense where in any given game, somewhere between six to eight, nine, of the starters on defense will be freshmen, and some of them are true freshmen. As soon as someone gets hurt, it’s always a freshman coming in to replace them. It’s just really almost a preposterously young team. All these guys who have probably not taken their first college midterm are being asked to guard high-powered FBS offenses.So that has been tough. Luckily the offense has been pretty good at times, especially David Pindell, the quarterback, who has put up some pretty impressive numbers against UCF and then again against Rhode Island. Really agile, can run, but he’s also completing passes at a much, much higher rate than he did last year. What I like to say is that they have a competent offense and a pretty bad defense, at this point.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWe knew it was going to be a transitional year, because of how young the team was, but it has been pretty ugly at times.The D.O.: For Syracuse fans, who is a player to watch for the Huskies?A.P.: I would say the player to watch has to be David Pindell, the quarterback. Really UConn goes as he goes. He’s extremely athletic, really fast, really elusive, really good in open space, hard to bring down. And like I said, he can complete passes. UConn doesn’t try a lot of deep balls, you could say their offensive line doesn’t give them time to try deep balls, but it’s a lot of short passes, a lot of QB runs — some of them designed, some of them scrambles.He’s really the guy. If UConn is going to put up points against Syracuse, it’s going to be because he is converting on the ground and through the air.The D.O.: Outside of Pindell, has anyone else excelled for the Huskies, despite the poor record?A.P.: This is maybe a kind of cheat-y answer but I would say the offensive skill positions, offensive skill players as a group. I mentioned Pindell, Kevin Mensah is the starting running back, he’s had a really good season, just rushed for a career-high 144 yards against Rhode Island and has really looked great giving them another element to the offense.And the receivers are kind of a strength, led by Hergy Mayala, who is a senior. Tight ends are really good, Tyler Davis and Aaron McLean. So I would say the team’s strength is that on offense, it does have some playmakers.last_img read more