Posts Tagged ‘Uconn’

A Perfect Storm…Of UCONN Greatness

// December 6th, 2011 // 7 Comments » // Uncategorized

So the second challenge in Volvo’s Biggest Fan of the Big East competition is upon us. “Pick five or more things you have to do when you return to your Alma Mater (places to see, best bars, best food, cool places on campus, etc.”  Before I say another word, I need to set the record right out of the gate: UConn’s Ballard Institute of Museum and Puppetry will NOT be making my list of must see things when returning to campus because it smells like kindergarten and I’m pretty sure the puppets come alive at night.

c.r.e.e.p.y.

c.r.e.e.p.y.

Deep breath. Now we can continue.

The beautiful people over at Volvo are being more than generous by putting together an alma-mater weekend visit where I get to return to UConn and enjoy the things we all love about college. Upon my February arrival in tropical Storrs, Connecticut, I’ll be staying at the Nathan Hale Inn, checking out a UConn basketball game and will DEFINITELY hit up a lot of places I haven’t been to since graduating in 2008.

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Now let me set the scene for what I consider to be the best 24-hour return trip back on campus.

1.  I’ll roll onto the scene driving a Volvo S60 while BUMPIN’ Rihanna’s “We Found Love” (Yeah, did I mention Volvo’s also hooking me up with a ride for the weekend trip?). The windows will be down regardless of temperature and I’m going to give a lot of “what’s up bro?” head nods throughout campus. It’s what I do. Before even checking into the hotel, I’m stopping at Ted’s Restaurant & Bar for a buffalo chicken grinder and a pitcher of their Big Blue Drink. Not sure what’s in it, but I know it’s delicious and good for you. Ted’s is literally smaller than most Citgo Convenience Stores but has all the character a college bar could ask for. Good food, good people, and I can’t think of a time where I left unsatisfied. They have great specials ($1 pitchers when you order a large pizza, seriously?!) and what’s best is alums from all ages still go before sports games. It’s got a neighborhood feel to it, which is my kind of place. Love it all.

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Isn't she lovely?

Isn't she lovely?

2. After a quick nappy back in the hotel, I’ll be in the mood for some zerts. That’s when I’ll mosey on over to the UConn Dairy Bar for a two scoop sundae. Husky Tracks, Mint Chocolate Chip, whipped cream, hot fudge, and shots. I’ll do the same routine I always do. Where I’ll know exactly what I’m getting way before hand but still take a moment and pretend to be mulling over such a large variety of options to make it appear as though I’m not a regular or anything. The UConn Dairy Bar is a staple on campus and no matter when you go, there’s a line. The DB makes their ice cream from Cows raised in the barn right on campus. Some find it gross, I find it to add character, not to mention very fresh. I can honestly say it’s the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Yes it’s that good and yes it’s better than all other Big East ice cream spots. Taste test, anytime, anywhere.

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3. Then to burn off some of the thousands of calories I would’ve consumed at this point, I’ll probably try to sneak inside the Greer Fieldhouse for some intramural action. I LOVED intramural sports at UConn. I refereed. I kept score. I played. I watched. I was all about it. UConn has a great Recreational Sports program for its students on campus. It’s always competitive and makes for some great memories. What makes the field house extra special to me as a die-hard UConn fan, is how the little old Greer Fieldhouse used to be called home for UConn basketball. It shows how far both the Men’s and Women’s programs have come in just a few decades. My dad, also an alum, still talks about buying a ticket for $1 and seeing UConn get trounced on by the likes of Holy Cross and Yale. It made playing a co-ed soccer game on a Tuesday night have all the more meaning and really lets you appreciate how lucky we are to have such elite basketball programs.

greer

4. Jonathan, the Husky Dog Statue. Right next to Greer Fieldhouse stands this guy. Jonathan the Husky is probably the #1 picture parents crave after their son or daughter graduates from UConn. The line takes forever but it’s beyond worth the wait. Some people attempt to jump on for a ride, some kiss his checks and some just stand with a smile. As a true Husky fan, I can’t walk by without a quick pat on Johnny boy’s head.

huskyjohn

5. Time to get some swag at the UConn Co-Op, Husky Shop. This is the best place to go for all UConn apparel. They have everything UConn here. Sweatshirts, game jerseys, hats, umbrellas, oven mitts (what’s up mom?), golf tees, tailgating gear, etc. Whenever I’m back on campus, stopping at the Co-Op is a must and usually I can’t leave without spending at least $50 on something. I’ve also been known to complete my Christmas shopping here. (alum discount!)

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GAME TIME-Jim Calhoun yells, folds his arms, and then stares at his bench coaches for answers. Jeremy Lamb scores 26, Huskies slaughter their competition, I continue my visit.

he's happy, I swear.

he's happy, I swear.

6. Student Union for dinner. Commonly known as “The Union” or just “The U,” UConn’s state of the art Student Union Center is awesome. There are meeting rooms, chill rooms, a movie theater, a game center, a restaurant, and a food court filled with people all night and day. My favorite part however, is getting a Burrito in the Mexican food line. They PACK these burritos to the max and it leaves you stuffed for hours. I’ve heard a terrible rumor they’ve gotten stingy with the amount they put in the burritos, therefore all the more reason for a visit so I can see for myself. For their sake, I hope the rumor is false or things might get REAL.

buritto

7. Memorial Stadium. UConn’s old football stadium. It’s basically the size of most Texas High School stadiums and like the Greer Fieldhouse, Memorial Stadium represents how far UConn’s football program has come in just 10 years. I’ve been known to jog the stairs for an early morning workout here (okay ilike 3 times ever but still) and spend hours kicking 34 yard field goals just in case coach calls me for a tryout. Your move Paul Pasqualoni.

memstadium

8. Huskies. Probably the most popular bar on campus. Infamously known for its “Thursday Night Nickel Night,” Huskies is where it’s at if you’re looking to get after it. Nickel drinks before 9pm, then the DJ comes in and people just get weird. Cell phones in toilets, girls crying over sorority drama, bros in packs grinding up EVERYWHERE, screaming bartenders, the buffest of bouncers and people packed in like sardines. God, I miss this place.

huskiesbar

9. After Huskies has last call and you can avoid a drink being thrown on you or a fight leaving the parking lot, a lot of people would get pizza on their walk home. Since it’s on the way back to my hotel, I’m getting a Buffer Zone at DP Dough. It truly is the best/worst late night Calzone anyone can ask for. The buffer zone is stuffed with buffalo chicken chunks, blue cheese, onions, among other unhealthy items. Oh and they deliver. Oh and it’s only $5. It’s fantastic and horrible all at the same time.

dpdough

10- I’ll likely wake up in a bath robe 10 lbs heavier. Time to warm up the Volvo S60 and head back home. Phil Collins “One More Night” will be on repeat the entire ride back just because I feel sorry for myself. Single tear streaming down my face as I leave the best University in all the Big East. Notre Dame doesn’t count. What is this partially committed business? GO HUSKIES!

Vote for Chris in his quest to be crowned Volvo’s “Biggest Fan of the Big East!” He needs our support. Vote here.

Madness Continues…

// March 19th, 2011 // 4 Comments » // Uncategorized

Feeling much better after some food, so now it’s time to tackle the other 5 games on today’s schedule.

temple-owls

azt

6:10 - 7Temple VS 2San Diego State

The Aztecs, under coach Steve Fisher, have embraced an up tempo style that provides lots of highlights. Kawhi Leonard, who averages a double double, and is one of the better players in the country at the forward position, is one of the keys to San Diego State’s success. Despite the offensive firepower, Fisher’s boys still play D. Temple isn’t flashy, but with great guard play led by Ramon Moore and hero from Round 2 Juan Fernandez, they play great D and can hang with anyone. San Diego State’s talent should carry them over a game Owl squad in one of the best games of the day.

Half Assed Prediction: SDST 69 Temple 67

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7:10 – 8Butler VS 1 Pittsburgh

Butler went through a war with Old Dominion, and their experience carried them through. The experience won’t be enough against a Pittsburgh team that gets in your face, and stays there for 40 minutes. The Panthers play stifling defesne and it helped them dismantle UNC Asheville. With stellar guard play from Ashton Gibbs and size from Britney Griner, eh sorry Gary McGhee down low, I think they will handle Butler.

Half Assed Prediction: Pitt 64 Butler 54

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7:45 – 11 Gonzaga VS3 BYU

Jimmer Fredette can light it up. There’s no question about that. But I don’t think the Cougars have enough talent in the rest of the band to beat a Gonzaga team that knows how to win in the tournament. This one has upset written all over it.

Half Assed Prediction: Gonzaga 70 Jimmer Fredette and the Detters 59

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8:40 – 5 Kansas State VS 4Wisconsin

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan seems mean. He is like the old man that yells at all the neighborhood kids for walking on his grass. Mean or not he knows how to coach. The Badgers play solid basketball, turning the ball over less than anyone in the country. They can score inside and out, and play great defense. Kansas State seemed to be peaking at the right time and with All American scoring machine Jacob Pullen, many people had them as a dark horse Final 4 team. I think that running into a gritty Badger team so early will derail a deep run this year. Bo Ryan isn’t going to let one man beat him and I don’t think K-State has enough behind him to beat Wisconsin. This has rock fight written all over it and I see it going down to the wire.

Half Assed Prediction: Wisconsin 62 Kansas State 59

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9:40 – 6Cinncinnati VS 3 UCONN

Kemba Walker showed he can carry his team, and the young Huskies run in the Big East has them brimming with confidence coming into the tournament. UCONN C Alex Oriakhi jumped on Walker’s shoulders and found his game again making UCONN more balanced, and more dangerous. It is always tough to beat a fellow Big East opponent twice in a row and a physical Cincinnati team, led by Yancy Gates should be ready to make sure it doesn’t happen. The Bearcats took out a Missouri team that likes to play fast, something the Huskies will try to do as well. In a game that will be back and forth the edge goes to UCONN because of Walker’s ability to get his shot whenever he wants.

Half Assed Prediction: UCONN 73 Cincinnati

If you missed the breakdown of the first three games….Saturday Madness!!

—–Corey

UConn Quarterback Trick Shot Video Goes Viral: FWG Exclusive

// February 9th, 2011 // 8 Comments » // Uncategorized

Johnny Mac, UConn’s QB and all around good guy demonstrating his skills here, in this FWG exclusive.  How do you know we had it first?  Got a nice little text from J-Mac at 4:35pm on Tuesday, “im gonna put a video on you tube tonight. its a trick shot video at uconn. …”  Talk about the undersell of the century.  This is not just any video, this is UConn’s first shot across the bows of other Big East schools in the  Pasqualoni era.  Your move Rutgers, Cinci, USF, ‘Cuse (gross), Pitt, Louisville….even you West Virginia.  See you in September

UConn Strength Coach Drew Wilson Accepts Position At University of Maryland

// January 5th, 2011 // 4 Comments » // Uncategorized

drew-wilson

Andrew Wilson who came to UConn in May of 2006 has accepted a position as head strength coach in charge of football at the University of Maryland.  Wilson, a standout football  player himself at Kings College in Pennsylvania is a highly regarded young prodigy in the ranks of strength and conditioning coaches.  Wilson has previous ties to the University of Maryland, having interned with Director of Strength and Conditioning Dwight Galt in 2003.  Maryland has a rich tradition of producing athletes with great “numbers” — Vernon Davis anyone?  While I’m sad to see him leave UConn, I understand that this is an opportunity he could not pass up and I wish him the best.

Strength and Conditioning coaches are, by definition, a different breed. Part coach, part torture expert, they possess a literally profound talent at extracting the very best from their players. Meaning, in four years under their direction one can become the strongest, fastest, most powerful person they will ever be. But the strength coach is also part mentor, knowing how and when to motivate his players. The tools of his trade? Weights, dumbbells, rubber bands, sleds, sandbags, and a well timed whistle.

Wilson has a talent for knowing his players and their individual needs, he address said needs with a profound technical knowledge of the human  body, as well as continually widening his breadth of knowledge in the world of strength training.  By hiring Wilson, Maryland has taken a giant step in the right direct; he is a man of unflinching character and aptitude.

Head Coach Randy Edsall Accepts Head Coaching Position At Maryland

// January 3rd, 2011 // 5 Comments » // Uncategorized

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Confirmed.  It’s official.  The head man is gone.  Now it’s closing in on Sunday night here in Arizona (and FWG with Mike Hicks and Dan Ryan in tow).  I’ll be penning my full thoughts on the matter tomorrow (stay tuned, stay eager, America).  But I’d like to let you know that not only am I on top of the situation, having spoken to every member of the UConn coaching staff that will still take my call, but I’m also trying to gather my own feelings on the matter.

There are a lot of angry current players, some dejected former ones, but a lot curious if not bewildered fans.  Again, full analysis and perspective coming tomorrow, but in case your wondering:  I’m not mad.  I get it (sort of).

If this pre-blog isn’t enough for you, and you need some tidbits and inside info to keep you happy until tomorrow please follow me on twitter @TheFatWhiteGuy

Roommates Walker & Beverly Tag Team Husky Leadership

// December 8th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

Kemba Walker looks to continue his dominating start for the Huskies with a game tonight against Fairleigh Dickinson at Gampel.

Happy college basketball season kids! We’ve had some premier match-ups so far with these early season tournaments and fun out of league scheduling. Call me bias, but there just simply isn’t anything like the five months of college basketball season.

The Huskies, predicted to finish 10th in the Big East, by fellow Big East coaches, are currently the sixth best team in the country according to ESPN. There is a different vibe about the Huskies this year - more focused players and leaders on the floor. And, how about Kemba Walker? Leader #1.

He was challenged this year to make an outside shot. Hell,  defenders would play off of him in years past because they knew the chances of the shot rimming out was in their favor. This year, you better guard the kid, cause his shot has been much improved. But then again, don’t guard him too tight, because that first step is lethal.

He was in the gym all summer working on his game non-stop. His work ethic is second to none and knows he can only get better. Walker, who is a big fan of Chris Paul, consistently watches the NBA to hopefully have his game  resemble that of the pros. His opinion matters to his teammates. He is vocal. His teammates listen because his demeanor earns their respect.

Leader #2 according to sources is Kemba’s roommate, senior Donnell Beverly. The leadership these two have shown on and off the court to the large class of incoming freshman, has been just what the program has needed. Although Beverley is not as big of a threat to the Huskies on the court as Walker, he has been just important to the program leading by example off the court. He has taken the underclassman under his wing and shown them the right way to go about it all - cooking dinner for them and organizing a few little game nights playing Uno and Trouble!

In practice, he works hard, is fundamental and is another voice for the Husky underclassmen to look up to. Coach Calhoun didn’t just give him the title of “captain” for no reason. He is a kid the coaching staff can trust.

It is the little things that Jim Calhoun preaches that allows his players to prosper and grow as people. Be on time. Look out for one another. Be 5 as 1 on the court. It is leaders like Walker and Beverly that allow Calhoun’s message to come across a little clearer.

It is Walker and Beverly who will continue to tag team the leadership of this young crew and hopefully for Husky fans, lead UConn back to the NCAA tournament.

Tonight the Huskies take on Fairleigh Dickinson at Gampel Pavilion at 7:30PM looking for their eighth straight win.

Fiesta Bowl Fever Hits UConn’s Campus

// December 8th, 2010 // 48 Comments » // Uncategorized

tostitos-fiesta-bowl-uconn-rock

Are you as excited as I am?

photo courtesy of Robbie Frey.

Wake Up! UConn Is Going To The Fiesta Bowl: Suck It WVU

// December 6th, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Uncategorized

west-virginia-red-neckI’ve had a lot of proud moments as a Husky:  UConn’s first bowl appearance and win, defeating South Florida and fan’s charging the field, winning a share of the Big East in 2007.  But when Dave Teggart nails a 52 yarder, I think all those on the field moments were replaced by one felt as a fan.  Supreme vindication, is how I would describe it.  UConn reaching the pinnacle of college football, while simultaneously silencing the critics, the nay-sayers, the doubters of the team-that-could in Storrs, CT.  My hat is off to you.

Besides the simultaneous dropping of 80,000 jaws in West Virginia, the other best part of this victory is that they won this game (and played the entire season) the UConn football way: tremendous grit, never-say-die attitude, and with bone crushingly stingy defense.

There is more coming with the discussion of the BCS, primarily how the Huskies will fare against Oklahoma, but before we get into that we need to pause and think about just what Randy Edsall has accomplished:  He recruits his way, he runs an entire program his way, he’s taken a team from 1AA (Oh, the glory days of the Yankee Conference) to a BCS Bowl game.   He practices in a 54 million dollar facility that sits in the shadow of Memorial Stadium.  A physical juxtaposition that offers the most poignant of metaphors:  a new era has taken hold, while the previous one is a not so distant memory.

It is a proud day indeed.  I’ll see you in Arizona, kids.

Wake Up! Monday Morning QB: Around the NCAA

// September 13th, 2010 // 6 Comments » // Uncategorized

atomic-wedgie*Hat tip to Ramblings From The Runway for the picture.

Starting off with UConn (yes the old standby, the object of my undying affection).  Like I said last week, UConn was going to come out in Week 2 with a chip on it’s shoulder; They didn’t disappoint.  Handing out a 59 point margin of victory over Texas Southern the Huskies proved that they could play tight and consistent football.  I’m sure the level of talent was a factor, but as Appalachian State reminded us three years ago, and more recently Virginia Tech’s loss to JMU:  many teams stumble against so called “lesser” opponents.  Truthfully the major difference between 1-AA teams and their Division I counterparts is depth, being able to cycle in and out talented players over the course of a game, this fact has never been lost on UConn who has prepared (and delivered) in such games over the past 5 years (average margin of Victory 49.5-  3.8….yowzer).

Texas Southern never looked “great” so I doubt there is much that the Husky Nation will be able to extrapolate as so called tea-leaves for the rest of the season (although I’m sure it won’t stop The Wesley Watt Lounge from trying…right guys?)  But what I’m SURE that can be taken away is the level of focus and intensity with which UConn played, practiced, and prepared for this win (and the many more to come).

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Michigan And Denard Robinson

For as much as I do not care for Rich Rod and is method of coaching, he finally found his “Michigan Pat White” in Denard Robinson.

In my opinion it was a matter of “can Rich Rod find the talent he needs” in time to win before the boosters and athletic department (or even the NCAA) have his head on a platter, letter of resignation in hand.  Well, it would appear as though he’s found it.

South Carolina

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I was more than a little “miffed” to see that Spurrier was “embarrassed” with how he ended last season (losing to UConn in the Papa Johns Bowl).  I may even be more surprised that the media is ready to jump on the Spurrier band wagon so soon.  Sure, Head Ball Coach has some great talent this season in Marcus Lattimore, but one player nor two wins does not a successful season make.  Spurrier’s tenure as a Gamecock has been less than excellent, so let’s watch a few more games (or reach bowl eligible) before we start crowing a new prince of the SEC, okay?