Frazer for Lorenzen: A blessing in disguise?

By Darrell Laurant  |   Thursday, October 02, 2008  |  Comments( 1 )

Connecticut Huskies
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No disrespect intended to Tyler Lorenzen, but his injury last week against Louisville might have been a blessing in disguise for the University of Connecticut football team.

Lorenzen will be out six to eight weeks with a broken right foot, which means Zach Frazer will be the quarterback -- for all practical purposes -- the rest of the season.

So far, the Huskies have forged a 5-0 start powered largely by an engine named Donald Brown (900-plus rushing yards, 11 touchdowns, 6.0 yards a carry). Somehow, a junior back slated to split time with teammate Andre Dixon has morphed into LaDainian Tomlinson, running over, around and through every defense that has been thrown against him.

It can't last. There is, first of all, the possibility that even the superbly conditioned Brown might break down under that workload. And Lorenzen didn't do much to keep the opposition off balance -- just over 100 yards a game passing, one touchdown, six interceptions. The senior junior college transfer actually proved more valuable with his feet, rushing for 200 yards and a pair of scores.

Frazer matched Lorenzen's touchdown pass total in less than a game's worth of action. He finished 8 of 15 for 90 yards and a score -- not exactly Heisman numbers, but more than adequate for someone seeing his first significant playing time.

A transfer from Notre Dame, where he found himself buried on the depth chart underneath Jimmy Clausen, Evan Sharpley and Demetrius Jones (now at Cincinnati), Frazer was the Associated Press Player of the Year in Pennsylvania (not exactly a football backwater) as a junior at Mechanicsburg High, where he threw for a then-state-record 3,674 yards. As a senior, he was named to the All-America Bowl.

Frazer showed his toughness in the Louisville game when he was hammered by the Cardinals' Dan Covington (a tackle ruled a late hit), then shook it off to throw the touchdown ball to Darius Butler. He's 6-foot-4, 231 pounds and has demonstrated a stronger arm than his predecessor. Plus, Frazer would be succeeding Lorenzen next season, anyway.

True, Lorenzen's running ability will be missed, but Frazer (who has been muzzled in terms of facing the media by coach Randy Edsall this week) is more likely to stretch the field -- or, as much as he can given a so-so receiving corps. A bigger loss might have been the broken leg incurred by Huskies TE Steve Brouse, arguably the best in his position in the Big East. With a new quarterback like Frazer, the tight end is often a critical lifeline.
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