So while wide receiver Shakim Phillips (hamstring), linebacker Graham Stewart (ankle) and offensive tackle Kevin Friend (ankle) are listed as questionable, coach Paul Pasqualoni is optimistic. Pasqualoni said each player is improving.
"They're moving around," Pasqualoni said. "Kevin's moving a little better, Shak's moving a little better, Graham is coming along. … Considering that we've got all day Saturday, we have our meetings and all that. We'll get a real good evaluation of them by Saturday game time."
Phillips is coming off a career-best game in a loss to Maryland, with 10 receptions for 178 yards. He injured his hamstring in a 75-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
If Phillips can't play, redshirt freshman John Green likely will start. The Huskies also have three freshmen understudies at receiver: Dhameer Bradley, Noel Thomas and Thomas Lucas.
"We're working those guys," Pasqualoni said. "It's just a matter of how we get them [ready], what they can get ready to do by Saturday."
Like Phillips (6 feet 2), Lucas (6-2) offers a tall target. Thomas is from Norwalk, where he was a standout for St. Luke's School.
Friend, a redshirt senior, missed the first game of the season as he recovered from a concussion and he hurt his ankle early in the Maryland game. Redshirt sophomore Xavier Hemingway replaced Friend, but redshirt sophomore Dalton Gifford is also a candidate to see playing time.
Pasqualoni said the team won't move an interior lineman to tackle.
"We're kind of working the combination of Dalton Gifford and Xavier," Pasqualoni said.
Sophomore Jefferson Ashiru replaced Stewart against Maryland and performed well, with five tackles and a fumble recovery.
Offense Needs Consistency
You can ask any player on the UConn offense and they all seem to be on board with what the issue is. They just need to get on board together and fix the problem.
"I really think what we need to do is be more consistent," senior guard Steve Greene said. "It's as simple as that. We show great things at times and there are times when we just look, you know, bad. I've said before the thing about offense is you need all 11. You sit down and watch film and we just haven't had that. We have one guy with a breakdown here, another guy with a breakdown there. It's not necessarily one guy all the time. When we need consistent play out of everybody, consistently, we're just not getting it.
"For example, in the run game, say, if all four guys get their blocks and I happen to miss mine we're not going anywhere. That's what we need to get fixed and that's why I say the biggest thing is consistency. … We've got to get there."
Michigan QB Ready
Michigan senior quarterback Devin Gardner turned the ball over four times in the Wolverines' 28-24 win over Akron at home.
As a result, two things happened. First, he got some immediate love.
"[Texas A&M quarterback] Johnny Manziel texted me; [Clemson QB] Tajh Boyd, I got a chance to talk to," Gardner told the Detroit Free Press. "It's truly cool that they're friends like that when you have a good game — they texted me after Notre Dame — and after a game like that. They told me to keep my head up and keep moving forward."
Second, which might not be good for UConn, he became more eager to redeem himself against the Huskies.
"I can't wait," he told the newspaper. "This week has been so long. When you play bad, the week moves so slow, and when you play good, it moves so fast. ... I definitely have to play better. I can't wait."
Gardner has rushed for 237 yards and four touchdowns on 30 carries and thrown for 704 yards (47 of 78) and seven TDs to go with six interceptions. ... UConn is an 18-point underdog. How does a coach deal with that? "I think that it's all about our preparation," Pasqualoni said. "It's about getting the game plan in and making sure the players understand the information. It's one day at a time in practice for us this week, one rep at a time, one drill at a time. We'll prepare as best we can so we can play as fast as we can and with as few mental errors as we can. Obviously we didn't do well enough with that last week and it really cost us." ... UConn is meeting a ranked opponent for the 21st time and has just two wins, including last year's triple overtime win at Louisville. The Huskies also beat South Florida, then No. 11 in 2007, for their first win over a ranked opponent as a Division I-A program.