STORRS - UConn football coach Randy Edsall has consistently preached the idea that the manner in which a team practices during a week correlates directly to the way it performs in that week’s game.
If that’s true, the Huskies may be in serious trouble against Temple Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field (noon, ESPNews).
Edsall, whose Huskies were throttled 70-31 last week by Memphis, was not pleased at all with his team’s practice effort on Tuesday.
“I was disappointed today. I wasn’t happy with the way practice was,” Edsall said. “I just know this: If it was me and I just came off getting beat, I’d be coming out there and somebody would be paying the price. And that’s something that we have to instill, because I didn’t see that today.”
UConn (1-4) has lost four straight games. In addition to snapping their losing streak, the Huskies would at a minimum obviously like to play better than they did against Memphis.
But judging from Tuesday’s workout, which was not open to the public or the media, Edsall seems to think there is plenty of work still to be done.
And the coach had some rather harsh words about what it might take to get his players to have better practice habits.
“How do you change that? Recruiting,” Edsall said. “Get the guys in here that have the kind of an attitude, that have that kind of demeanor. We have some freshmen like that but…”
For the fifth time in six games, the Huskies will have a different lineup in their secondary on Saturday.
The moves coming this week are because of injuries. Safety Brice McAllister, a senior from Suffield Academy, had surgery on his hand this afternoon and will be out of action “for a few weeks,” according to his coach. In addition, cornerback Tahj Herring-Wilson has a leg injury that will keep him out of action this week.
Senior Tre Bell will move back into the starting lineup to replace Herring-Wilson, while freshman Brayden Brown will replace McAllister in the starting five.
Edsall admitted he doesn’t like all the changes his staff has been forced to make in the defensive backfield.
“Some of it is due to injury, sometimes it’s due to performance. But it is what it is. You play the cards that you’re dealt,” Edsall said. “I am excited about Brayden. He is going to be a really good player.”
The other significant change to this week’s depth chart involved promoting wide receiver Quayvon Skanes to be the No. 1 punt returner ahead of cornerback Jordan Swann.
In addition, sophomore Tyler Davis is listed as a co-starter along with seniors Alec Bloom and Tommy Myers at tight end.
Officially in red
Edsall confirmed Tuesday that he plans to redshirt punter Luke Magliozzi, along with the rest of the true freshmen who have yet to see any action in games this season.
Magliozzi, a native of Westmeadows, Australia, lost a training camp battle with Brett Graham to be the Huskies’ starting punter.
“I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do to play him,” Edsall said of the former Australian rules football player.
Among the Huskies’ many issues so far this season is the team’s turnover margin. UConn has forced just two turnovers through its first five games while committing nine.
“We’re awful, aren’t we? The turnover margin is awful,” Edsall said. “You can’t win that way. We’re committing too many turnovers and we’re not getting near enough turnovers.”
It’s not for a lack of focus, the coach insists.
“We talk about it every day, we practice it,” Edsall said.
Foley less than fantastic
Defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi clearly has the potential to be one of the Huskies’ best players. And the 6-foot-4, 303-pound senior has, at times, been very good.
But when asked about Fatukasi’s play on Tuesday, Edsall gave a blunt, one-word answer.
“Inconsistency,” Edsall said.
Fatukasi has 17 tackles, including 2.5 for losses, so far this season. He was ejected from the team’s opener because of a targeting penalty.
“I feel like I’m doing as well as I can do. I’m playing hard,” Fatukasi said. “Obviously there’s always corrections that can be made, ways I can get better.”
Fatukasi has started 29 games at UConn, including three his freshman season. He made 43 tackles last season for the Huskies.
Prior to this season he was named to the watch lists for the Outland Trophy and the Nagurski Trophy. The Outland is given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman and the Nagurski to the best defensive player in the nation.
Wide receiver Hergy Mayala, who has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain, returned to practice Tuesday. “He’s doubtful for this week. I’m almost positive he won’t play,” Edsall said. … UConn has lost nine straight road games heading into this week’s game in Philadelphia. It has also lost eight straight conference games. … UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs has recorded three straight 300-yard games. … Temple has blocked 12 kicks since 2015, the most in the nation.