David Pindell’s first year in Storrs didn’t go as anyone planned. After opening the season as UConn’s starting quarterback last fall, Pindell lost that job during his first game and wound up completing only 52.8 percent of his passes over the course of a wobbly season.
Now a senior, Pindell is optimistic that the coming season will be different. And so are his coaches.
“I see a much more confident player,” Randy Edsall said Tuesday. “He’s more comfortable in what we’re doing.”
New offensive coordinator John Dunn said Pindell’s football knowledge and maturity have improved notably even since Dunn was hired in January.
“Where he grew was situational football,” Dunn said. “Not only understanding our offense, understanding defense, but understanding in a situation what defenses you’re going to get. Understanding in a two-minute drill when it’s better to throw the ball away or scramble.”
Pindell arrived at UConn last year as a transfer from Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., and was quickly tasked with leading the Huskies’ offense. Ultimately, his learning curve was steep, as he struggled with accuracy and balked at throwing the ball downfield.
Pindell said Tuesday that he never quite got settled last year, noting that he had to learn an entirely new offense in a short period of time. Now, he said, he has his feet under him.
“This year I feel a lot more comfortable,” Pindell said. “After spring ball, I was in there for months, talking with Coach Dunn, building a good relationship with him.”
Edsall and Dunn both emphasized that Pindell has areas where he can improve, but they also expressed optimism that he can perform well enough to hold down the quarterback position.
“He’s got the ability to do all the things we want to do,” Edsall said. “We want to see him continue to progress with his reads, with his footwork, with his technique, but I have been very impressed.”
Dunn Not Changing Much On Offense
Every UConn offensive player asked Tuesday about how Dunn’s offense differs from that of his predecessor seemed to offer the same answer: It doesn’t really.
“It’s pretty much what we did last year,” senior wide receiver Hergy Mayala said. “Probably a little slower than what we did last year, but other than that, it’s the same concept that we had.”
Dunn joins UConn from the Chicago Bears, where he served as an offensive assistant. Since his hire in January, he and Edsall have emphasized that they’ll retain most aspects of Rhett Lashlee’s offense, albeit with a slightly more pro-style approach centered on drop-back passing.
As for Dunn’s personality, running back Nate Hopkins said the coordinator is laid-back in a way NFL coaches often are.
“He kind of seems like a pro guy, since he is, obviously, from the pros,” Hopkins said. “He’s a cool dude, but when he’s got to turn it on, he can turn it on.”
Grades, Health In Order
Edsall said Tuesday that everyone on the Huskies’ roster is ready to go for training camp, in terms of both health and academics. That includes running back Kevin Mensah and quarterback Marvin Washington, both of whom have had issues with their grades in the past. … In good news for the Huskies’ offensive line, Edsall said center Ryan Crozier is “as healthy as he has been” at UConn. Crozier missed all but three games last year with a knee injury. ... Edsall announced that redshirt sophomore Noel Brouse will switch from defensive line to offensive line and that the Huskies will keep an eye out for other players who could contribute more at new positions. … Asked whether it’s more difficult to recruit in the American Athletic Conference than it was in the Big East, Edsall replied bluntly: “Yeah, that’s a fact.” The coach said that although the AAC is a talented league, he finds that recruits he targets tend to hold out for offers from Power Five conferences.
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