Senior guard Tyler Bullock rejoined the team this week after being suspended indefinitely Oct. 3 following a driving under the influence charge.
He practiced Tuesday and Wednesday.
"It was more me and [athletic director] Warde Manuel making the decision," UConn coach T.J. Weist said of reinstating Bullock. "Going through the legal process with the university and the legal system, we said it was going to be an indefinite suspension. We knew it was going to be at least one game. With him not having a prior record, not really having done anything wrong before, we took that into consideration, and also the suspension lasted almost two weeks."
UConn police said that Bullock, 23, was stopped just before 1 a.m. on Oct. 3 on Celeron Square Drive and failed a field sobriety test. On Tuesday, he was granted a pretrial diversionary program at Superior Court in Rockville, and if he completes it successfully, the charges will be dismissed.
Bullock, a starter at center last season, has seen playing time at center and guard but had also been hurt this season.
Weist also said that reserve cornerback David Stevenson, suspended in September for an undisclosed violation of team rules, is back.
Weist said that the Huskies need to find playmakers on offense.
Weist promised that jobs would be challenged after the Huskies dropped three potential touchdowns in the loss to South Florida.
"I moved [skill players] around depth-wise and put some younger guys with the starting group to see how they'd perform, put more emphasis on the ability to make plays in practice, full-speed," Weist said. "We put more emphasis on going full-speed to create competitive situations. One-on-one was more competitive. I didn't want to let up on anything, put pressure on them."
Weist said that freshmen receivers Dhameer Bradley (three catches, 22 yards) and Noel Thomas will see more time, as well as converted tight end E.J. Norris. Deshon Foxx, who had two costly drops against USF, is still starting at slot back, but Bradley and Thomas are on his heels.
"Dhameer Bradley and Noel Thomas have stepped up and gotten better every day," Weist said. "Those guys have made some better plays this week and they're maturing all the time, so I think I may put them in a different role this week in terms of more playing time. I think E.J. has gotten better, he was a little banged up last week, so he didn't play as much."
Coach Buggs Adjusting
Running backs coach Kermit Buggs was upstairs in the booth for the first time against South Florida along with quarterbacks coach Shane Day.
"Going upstairs was different for me with the rotation, so I wasn't pleased with myself as to getting those guys in too much," Buggs said of tailbacks Max DeLorenzo and Martin Hyppolite. "Lyle [McCombs, 20 carries, career-high 164 yards and a touchdown] played entirely too many snaps, so we've got to get those guys in more. I thought they played well against Buffalo and we wanted to continue that, but with the adjustment and everything going on, it was hard for me to get the adjustment to get those guys in. That's on me, not on the kids."
Buggs said that freshmen backs Matt Walsh and Jazzmar Clax were on his mind, too.
"We had a situation where we were thinking about using those guys at a certain time, but the flow of the game didn't allow for it," Buggs said. "Both of those are situational-type guys for me and with the situations it just didn't allow us to use them."
The 227-pound Walsh and 239-pound Clax have yet to carry the ball. Walsh is considered a fullback, and Clax, a freshman recently back from a torn meniscus, is a tailback. McCombs rushed for 135 yards on 10 carries in the first half and 29 yards on 10 carries in the second.
"In the first, we had situations where holes were opened for him, the guys did a great job and he hit some things with intensity and got some good things there," Buggs said. "In the second half, [South Florida] made adjustments where they started doing some slanting, so we had to come back and counter that a little bit. It took us a while to figure it out and once we got it, we hit them for a couple more."
Cincy QB Kay Coming Off Big Game
Cincinnati senior quarterback Brendon Kay (101 of 141, 1,086 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT, 90 yards rushing) was the AAC offensive player of the week based on his performance against Temple. Kay, who hit 31 of 37 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns and added one rushing in the 38-20 win, developed a sore shoulder in the preseason and lost his job to Munchie Legaux. But he returned when Legaux sustained a season-ending knee injury in a Week 2 loss at Illinois. Kay (6-4, 228) completed his final 15 passes against Temple. ... Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Nippert Stadium is set for another crowd of 30,000-plus. "We are expecting a crowd very similar to Temple," Babcock said. There have been 30,000-plus at all three home games. ... The Bearcats are fourth in the conference against the run (111.7 yards allowed) and are No. 1 against the pass (160.2). Always-physical Cincinnati is No. 2 in total defense, allowing conference opponents 272 yards a game.