UConn coach T.J. Weist said the first week of practice with new No.1 quarterback Casey Cochran has gone well.
It's the games that count, of course, and the Huskies haven't done so well with the previous two starters. They are 0-8 after being led by junior Chandler Whitmer for the first four games and freshman Tim Boyle after that.
Cochran, a redshirt freshman from Monroe and son of high school coach Jack Cochran, will lead the Huskies for the final four games beginning Saturday against SMU (3-5, 2-2) at Ford Field in Dallas (3 p.m., no TV, ESPN3).
"He's done a good job, he's thrown the football well, he's handled the offense well," Weist said. "He's been efficient. I've been pleased with the effort and physicality of practice."
Weist said the Huskies have a game plan tailored to suit Cochran.
"But there's not going to be much difference," Weist said. "It's not like it's 'OK, let's have the Casey game plan ready.'"
Weist said Boyle will be the No. 2 quarterback.
Whitmer, the starter all last season when he threw 16 interceptions, has thrown six this season. Boyle threw eight including three in the 31-10 loss to Louisville.
Cochran, 17 of 28 for 183 yards, threw TD passes in each of the past two games. He was going against reserves most of the time but threw only one interception and, Weist said, the primary reason Cochran will start is because of his efficiency and decision-making.
SMU's Gilbert A Concern
Extra time studying SMU senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert was absolutely necessary.
"Needed it," UConn secondary coach Darrell Perkins said. "Read his keys so we know when he wants to take us top or sit things down. He's 6-4 and the way he can change gears is really impressive. He reminds you of guys like a Michael Irvin that size and can just burst on you in a couple of steps. He has that type of ability and the arm is very strong but the speed is deceptive. He doesn't make a lot of moves but he can go by you."
The Huskies have faced quick quarterbacks this season in Michigan's Devin Gardner and Maryland's C.J. Brown. Brown ran for 122 yards, including a 41-yard scoring run and threw for 277 yards in a 32-21 win. Gardner passed for 97 yards but ran for 106 on 19 carries in a 24-21 Wolverines victory.
Gilbert, a transfer from Texas, averages about 30 rushing yards but he's scored six times and thrown for 3,037 yards, 17 TDs and six interceptions.
Building On Good Thing
Andrew Adams' interception of Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater kept alive the Huskies' streak of one interception in each game this season.
Bridgewater had very un-Bridgewater-like numbers against the Huskies: 288 yards passing, 16 incomplete passes, one TD and one pick for the Heisman hopeful. The Huskies had a good game plan. They say that against the Mustangs, they have to keep doing the good things they did against the Cardinals.
"We practiced well that week," said Adams, who started in place of Ty-Meer Brown (still out with a neck/spinal cord issue). "We didn't have the outcome we wanted but we have to build off the good things we did. I thought we played well enough to improve. Louisville has a top-ranked offense. [Holding them] has to give you some confidence. Confidence is a key and going to SMU, it's good we have some."