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STORRS, Conn. – One first look at Tyler Lorenzen seems to show plenty of promise. The 6-foot-5, 226-pound quarterback, an All-American at San Marcos (Calif.) Palomar Community College, can throw the ball with zip, isn't afraid to tuck it and run and is incredibly vocal when he steps to the line.
Unfortunately, he still needs to grow into his role, as he showed off at practice Friday.
Lorenzen, named the starting quarterback for the 2007 season Tuesday afternoon, hit Larry Taylor in stride down the right side of the field for a 30-yard gain, then turned around and threw an interception along the sidelines to cornerback Tyvon Branch.
It will all be part of an adjustment for not just Lorenzen and the coaching staff but for the entire offense as well. With two weeks remaining before the team's first game at Duke on Sept. 1, the Huskies need time to adjust to a first-string quarterback and prepare the team for the season.
"We felt that he … was the guy that had everything we were looking for in a quarterback and what we're going to want out of a quarterback in terms of leading our team," said head coach Randy Edsall. "I saw some things in that last scrimmage that I liked, and it wasn't so much that Dennis [Brown] didn't do, it was that Tyler was everything that we were looking for."
Edsall said that the decision wasn't necessarily easy, but pointed to Sunday's scrimmage as the turning point in the competition. Both players showed poise and skill in the pocket at Saturday's two practices, with Lorenzen reaching a degree of success in the morning and Brown capturing the attention of the crowd during the team's open practice at Memorial Stadium in the evening.
Lorenzen failed to speak on the nature of the meeting between he and Edsall, saying it was something he'd prefer to keep between himself and his head coach, but there was one bit of advice he could share.
"It's pretty simple – take it and run with it, lead the team and do what you're asked to do," Lorenzen said.
Brown, a sophomore, will be the team's No. 2 quarterback, with true freshman Cody Endres currently penciled in at No. 3. He was unavailable for comment after Friday's practice.
"Dennis is a competitor, and I'm sure he wanted it to go a different way, but it didn't," Edsall said. "I told him, I said, he's one snap away from being in a game, and what he has to do, and he has to be really professional about the whole thing, is he has to continue to work and learn and do what he's supposed to do to prepare himself for his opportunity if and when it does come."
Lorenzen cast aside the notion that he was promised the job coming out of Palomar, instead insisting that the chance to play quarterback at the Division I-A level was what brought him to Connecticut.
"When you're getting recruited, you have no idea what's going to happen," he said. "You roll the dice and you go with the flow and you give your best foot forward and try to win games."
With a summer to learn the playbook and develop a relationship with his teammates, Lorenzen said he's grown plenty more comfortable running the offense and will be prepared to take the field for the first game in two weeks. It could be a welcome addition for an offense plagued by quarterback troubles for the past two seasons.
"Quarterback play is huge," Lorenzen said. "You're a coach on the field and that's what you're asked to do, so that's what you have to do. It's a big responsibility, but it's one that if you play quarterback, you should thrive on."
Zac Boyer covers UConn sports for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.