Connecticut forced to start third QB this season

Updated: October 17, 2005, 10:20 PM ET
Associated Press

UConn (4-2, 1-1 Big East) will suit up its third starting quarterback of the season Saturday when Dennis Brown makes his collegiate debut against Rutgers. Coach Randy Edsall announced that the 6-foot-3 Brown, a freshman, will start in place of D.J. Hernandez, who is sidelined with a broken left wrist.

Hernandez, a redshirt freshman, cracked a bone in his non-throwing hand during UConn's 28-17 loss at Cincinnati on Saturday. It was Hernandez's first start. He got the nod when junior quarterback Matt Bonislawski broke his collarbone Oct. 7 in a win over Syracuse.

"I like everything about Dennis in terms of what he can do," Edsall said. "I have the utmost confidence that he'll go out and do a good job. We'll put a game plan together that we know he'll be able to handle and that everybody on offense will be able to execute."

Brown was a star player for Miami (Fla.) Central High School, throwing for 2,001 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior season. He'll be backed up by junior walk-on Peder von Harden, a transfer from Monmouth, who didn't see any game action for UConn last season. Freshmen Billy Cundiff is third on the depth chart.

UConn's quarterback position had stability for nearly four years with Dan Orlovsky, the school's all-time leading passer. But with each new injury, the player behind center gets younger and younger. Bonislawski is out for at least six weeks and Hernandez's availability will be a day-to-day decision after Saturday, Edsall said.

Both Bonislawski and Hernandez were effective runners and among the top four rushers on the team when they went down. Brown began getting more repetitions in practice when Bonislawski was hurt but has yet to be tested in a game situation.

"Anything we want to do offensively he can do," Edsall said. "That's why he's our starter this week."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press