UConn Football 1st Practice

Casey Cochran, left, will be replaced by Chandler Whitmer for the Stony Brook game. (John Woike / Hartford Courant / August 2, 2013)

STORRS — UConn coach Bob Diaco said on his radio show Thursday that Casey Cochran will not play Saturday because of an upper body injury.

Senior Chandler Whitmer, who split time with Cochran last week in the 35-10 loss to BYU, will start against Stony Brook Saturday (noon, SNY) at Rentschler Field.

"Casey Cochran will not participate in Saturday's game," Diaco told host Joe D'Ambrosio. "He will not be cleared for participation on Saturday afternoon. He sustained an upper body injury during the BYU game that was brought forward midweek.

"Casey is tough. He's a competitor. He's a grinder. He's everything you want to be and in this case he waited four days to let anybody know what was really going on. That puts the lion's share of the work on Chandler. He's prepared himself to take on that role and we're excited about it and don't expect anything but great play."

Cochran completed 17 of 31 passes for 171 yards and an interception against the Cougars. He was under center for 47 plays. Whitmer (8 of 17 113) was in on 36 plays.

Tim Boyle and Will Rishell are the other QBs on the roster.

Donations Sought For Howard Statue

It was a lot of work, but UConn has established a secure site for giving to the Jasper "Jazz" Howard Statue Fund.

Not long after the former UConn cornerback died after being stabbed on campus five years ago next month, there was a groundswell of support for a tribute. UConn supporter Lisa Lowry and her husband, Dan, led the way. Their daughter, Abi, graduated from the school this year.

"The idea of a tribute to 'Jazz' came to me about a year ago," Lisa Lowry said. "The UConn equipment trucks had been refurbished with the new logo, which is great, but Dan and I noticed the 'JH Remember 6' stickers were suddenly gone."

UConn hopes to raise between $20,000 and $30,000 for a Rentschler Field memorial that will incorporate Howard's No. 6 jersey. UConn has no games in East Hartford in October, so the school would like to unveil a statue at Rentschler Field in November.

"To mark the five-year anniversary of his passing, UConn athletics will create a memorial at Rentschler Field that will honor Jasper and the qualities that made him so beloved," UConn said in a statement.

For information on giving, go to uconnclub@foundation.uconn.edu, or call 860-486-3863.

"It occurred to me that the equipment trucks were the last physical public tribute to 'Jazz,'" Lisa Lowry said. "There is the beautiful display in the lobby of the Burton [Family Football Complex], but that's only visible to players, coaches, staff and recruits. There was nothing public that the fans, students, alumni, season ticketholders, etc., could enjoy. So the idea of some kind of tangible tribute at Rentschler Field was born from that. The first email went out just over a year ago, and we continued to gain ground from there.

"The more Dan and I talked to season ticketholders at games and through social media, the more we realized how much support there was and how much love was out there for 'Jazz.'"

Lowry and many others felt that something should be done.

"I knew this was absolutely the right thing to fight for," she said. "The biggest motivation for me is that precious, little 4-year-old that 'Jazz' left behind. The idea of [Ja'Miya, the daughter Howard never met], Nee [his fiancée Daneisha Freeman and Ja'Miya's mother], 'Jazz''s family being able to come to Rentschler Field 20 years from now and see a statue in 'Jazz''s honor gives me chills."

Proceeds from the donations will go to the cost of creating and installing the memorial. In the event there are not funds collected for the project or there is more than what's needed, the gifts will be transferred to the Jasper T. Howard Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Davis Needs More Catches

There were many small stories from UConn's loss to BYU, but one surprise was the fact that senior wide receiver Geremy Davis was no factor, especially in the first half when the Cougars were piling up points. Davis had seven catches for 96 yards. In his last game of 2013, he had a program record 15 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown against Memphis. He's capable of numbers like that against anybody.