Susquehannock High grad Randy Edsall has simple message for his UConn team: Be ready

The (New London) Day (TNS)
Susquehannock High School graduate Randy Edsall is entering his third season in his second stint as the UConn head football coach. The Huskies are coming off a 1-11 season.
  • Randy Edsall is entering his third year in his second stint as UConn's head coach.
  • The Susquehannock High grad saw his Huskies struggle to a 1-11 season in 2018.
  • UConn opens its 2019 season on Thursday night at home vs. Wagner.

Susquehannock High School graduate Randy Edsall has a simple message for his UConn football team this season.

Be ready to play.

Every practice, every game.

Edsall, who's in year three of his second stint as head coach, plans to go deep into his roster, starting with Thursday's regular-season opener against Wagner at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

The Huskies are embracing Edsall's message.

"Everybody is on board and everybody understands there's a role that they're going to have," Edsall said during Sunday's press conference. "And if you can show that you have a role and that you deserve to be on the field, then you're going to get an opportunity.

"Then if somebody goes down, you've got to be ready to go in and take over and make it hard for that guy to get back on the field."

No more depth chart: Just don't expect Edsall to announce a depth chart.

Edsall said he will no longer release a depth chart, which details starters and top back-ups for each game.

Instead, Edsall will put out a participation squad with players listed in no particular order at each position.

'We're at 67 right now," Edsall said about his participation squad numbers for the season opener. "Sixty-seven guys could play on Thursday night. They need to be ready to play."

Edsall explained his decision for the change.

"I'm just expecting all those guys have an opportunity to play, so let's go play," Edsall said. "Who cares if you're first or second. ... We've got guys that are on the field playing but they're not listed as starters on the two deep.

"I know this: It might not make sense to anybody else, but it makes sense to me. Bottom line, that's what I care about, that it makes sense to me and makes sense to my players."

Developmental squad: Edsall also has a developmental squad to prepare players for the future. Some of those Huskies will see action on special teams.

On Sunday, Edsall elevated a player up from the development squad to the participation squad to fill in for an injured player.

"No sense in crying over spilled milk if somebody gets hurt," Edsall said. "Next guy up. That's the mentality and that's the motto that those guys have to understand.

"... We don't have a waiver wire here. My waiver wire is my developmental squad. So I've got to keep trying to get those guys better. And they have to understand that they've got to keep on getting better because if somebody goes down, they could be in there."

Won't talk about injuries: Edsall stated that he won't talk about injuries unless a player is out for the season. He cited gambling as one reason.

"There's too much gambling going on now," Edsall said. "If you read what the NCAA says, we can't put out injury reports. I just want to make sure that I don't do anything wrong by NCAA standards."

Beaudry blessed to start: Not all of UConn's starters for the season opener are a secret.

Graduate transfer Michael Beaudry, who played at Division II West Florida, will lead the UConn offense on Thursday. It will be his first career start on the Division I level.

"Awesome, man," said Beaudry of his reaction to the news. "Unreal, actually. It's really an honor, it really is. It's a blessing. It's a lot of hard work that's gone into it. I'm really thankful that they believe in me enough to make me the starter."

Edsall said: "It was really a tough decision but Michael ended up doing more things that we wanted to see than Steven."

Redshirt freshman Steven Krajewski is the backup.

It will be the first meeting between UConn and Wagner, a member of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). UConn was 1-11 last season. Wagner was 4-7.