Edsall won’t name starting QB for opener
The position remains a mystery for Huskies heading into Saturday’s tilt at Fresno State
If UConn football coach Randy Edsall knows who his quarterback will be for Saturday’s season opener at Fresno State, he still isn’t saying.
“It is what it is,” Edsall told reporters Tuesday when asked if he’s decided on a starter. “We’ll find out on Saturday.”
To this point, Edsall hasn’t spilled any secrets. UConn released a depth chart on Monday, although not a very definitive one. Sophomore Jack Zergiotis and redshirt sophomore Steven Krajewski were listed as “or,” offering little clarity about which way Edsall is leaning as the Huskies prepare to play their first game in 637 days.
Edsall poked fun at the subject during his Zoom availability, telling reporters he “put the ‘ors’ in there so you guys have something to talk about and write about and the fans have something to stew about. ‘Oh, they can’t make a decision.’ You just want to keep everybody on their toes and let people have the right to have conversations.”
For what it’s worth, Zergiotis is the most experienced of the two. The 6-foot-1 Canadian played in 10 games as a freshman in 2019, passing for 1,782 yards with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. That included a 418-yard, threetouchdown performance in
a loss to East Carolina, one of 10 on the season for the Huskies.
Meanwhile, Krajewski, who played in just four games after fracturing his left clavicle, threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and two interceptions. The 6-4 Michigan native redshirted during the previous season.
The other quarterbacks on the roster — redshirt junior Micah Leon and freshman Tyler Phommachanh, a Stratford native — have yet to take a snap in college.
UConn did not compete in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns and is entering new territory as an independent program. While the past few seasons haven’t been very fruitful — the Huskies are just 6-30 since Edsall returned to Storrs in 2017 — expectations are heightened coming off the long layoff. Edsall, who guided the team to five bowl appearances during his first go-round, believes the Huskies are positioned to win again.
He hopes to find the quarterback who can help them do just that.
“Those two guys have been competing and competing very hard,” Edsall said of Zergiotis and Krajewski. “The one thing that you want, you want your quarterback to execute the game plan. You want them to be smart with the football. You want somebody that’s going to take what the defense gives you understanding that we have good skill players around them.”
“They don’t have to be Superman,” he added. “If you just go and execute what you’re supposed to do, you can be very, very efficient. Those are the things that I think both of them have gotten better at.”
Edsall said that’s a product of experience.
“They have their differences in terms of skill set, which I’m not going to get into,” he said. “But again, the biggest thing for me is who’s the guy that can execute the plan that we have in place that we think gives us the best opportunity to win?”
Senior left tackle Ryan Van Demark, one of three captains, said both have intangibles that could serve the Huskies well.
“Jack, he’s a great communicator. He really grabs the offense by the horns and puts everybody in their place. He’s a natural leader,” Van Demark said. “Steve is the same way. Steve is very vocal on the field. He’s always making checks and corrections, and that’s just really what a quarterback needs to do. A quarterback needs to go out there and control the offense, take what the defense gives them and then make their checks from there.”
Essentially, Van Demark doesn’t see much of a difference between the two.
“They both have their positives and negatives,” he said. “Their positives far outweigh their negatives. They’re just two great guys. … It doesn’t matter for me who’s back there (at quarterback) as long as we’re not getting them hit.”
The uncertainty notwithstanding, Edsall feels good about where his team is at. The Huskies have more depth and experience than the past, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Of the projected starters along the front seven, five are upperclassmen, including junior defensive tackle Travis Jones, a preseason candidate for the Bednarik Award.
Generally speaking, Edsall should have more flexibility to sort out the depth chart.
“All these guys that are listed on two-deep have the ability to be on the field playing,” Edsall said. “I don’t ever get hung up on the ‘ors’ or anything along those lines.”
EDSALL ON COVID-19 PROTOCOLS
Edsall said he’s not in favor of requiring fans to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend games this season at Rentschler Field. A few schools have already enacted such policies, including Oregon, Oregon State, LSU and Tulane.
“I think everybody has the right to determine whether or not they want to be vaccinated,” Edsall said, adding that six of his players remain unvaccinated. “You’re in an outdoor environment. Maybe I’m different, but I just don’t agree with that. But I’m not the guy who makes those decisions.”