Pasqualoni hopeful on Whitmer's availability
Updated 11:55 pm, Tuesday, November 27, 2012
STORRS -- At his weekly media luncheon Tuesday, UConn head football coach Paul Pasqualoni refused to say whether Chandler Whitmer was being treated for concussion-like symptoms, only saying that he was "optimistic" that the quarterback would be available for Saturday's game against Cincinnati.
"Chandler Whitmer is doing pretty good," Pasqualoni said, before taking questions. "We're going to really limit his work today, re-evaluate him each day and like I said, I'm optimistic that as we go through the week, Chandler will be available. It'll be a day-to-day evaluation process."
With just over 10 minutes to play in the Huskies' 23-20 triple overtime win at Louisville, Whitmer took a huge hit to the helmet from Cardinals linebacker Preston Brown and didn't return to the game. Whitmer was woozy as he was helped off the field and after the game looked as if he was still feeling the effects in a brief conversation with the media.
Whitmer did not participate in Sunday's walk-through and, according to Pasqualoni, will only take "mental reps" this week in preparation for the Bearcats at Rentschler Field (3:30, ABC). Backup Johnny McEntee -- who despite playing in only the season opener against UMass -- threw a huge touchdown pass in the second overtime that gave UConn the lead.
"We're going to cut Chandler's (reps) down, at least as we start today (Tuesday)," Pasqualoni said. "Johnny will get the reps and, of course, (Wildcat quarterback) Scottie (Scott McCummings) will get reps."
Whitmer had a rough day all-around against the Cardinals, completing just 7 of 21 passes for 72 yards and an interception. McEntee completed just 2 of 7 passes -- his first five passes were incomplete -- but his last two were strikes, the first a 17-yarder to Lyle McCombs that set up a 3-yard TD catch by Shakim Phillips in the second overtime.
"I was very happy that Johnny went in and made the play that he did after the year he had last year," receiver Nick Williams said. "He stuck with it and he's the guy that throws the touchdown pass in the biggest game of the year. I was so happy that he went in there and played that way."
McEntee was the starter last season, completing 172-of-335 passes for 2,110 yards and 12 touchdowns in a 5-7 season. He lost his job at the start of fall practice to Whitmer.
Whitmer has taken more than his share of hits this season, along with being sacked 29 times, so it's nothing unusual that Pasqualoni is being very, very cautious with his quarterback.
"As we go through the week, we've got plenty of time," Pasqualoni said. "Chandler's been through all this stuff over and over again, so we're just going to work though it, see how it goes for the week and we'll make a decision. (The doctors) they're very optimistic about it, very positive about it. We're just trying to be as careful as we can."
Meanwhile, defensive end Trevardo Williams was walking better on his right ankle (no walking cast) since having someone roll over it during the Louisville game Saturday.
"I've been taking care of it, a lot of treatment," Williams said Tuesday. "Two times a day, two hours a day. Ice, electric stimulation. Everything you can imagine."