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Staying sharp pays off for UConn's Endres

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Backup quarterbacks are always told to prepare as if they're the No. 1 guy. Connecticut's Cody Endres learned the importance of that advice last season.

Endres was the third-stringer in early 2008 but ended up starting two games as both Tyler Lorenzen and Zach Frazer got hurt.

"They tell you to stay ready, but you don't really think about it too much until it happens," the redshirt sophomore said.

That lesson helped Endres this offseason, when he lost out in a battle with Frazer for the starting job. Frazer went down in the second game against North Carolina with a knee injury, and Endres has gone 2-0 as a starter, including a win at Baylor.

With Frazer still shelved, Endres will lead the Huskies (3-1) into Big East play this week at Pittsburgh.

"I think I've done some things well," he said. "I've managed the game the best I could and made some throws I needed to make."

Endres is completing 63.3 percent of his passes and has two touchdowns with no interceptions. That last stat is an important one, especially since Frazer had tossed two picks in the first two games. UConn's offense is not built to withstand turnovers.

"I try to limit my mistakes as much as possible," Endres said. "Coach [Randy] Edsall harps on turnovers all the time, and it's definitely a big deal. Not throwing any [interceptions] is my goal for every week."

The Huskies' passing offense leaves much to be desired, but it got a chance to put up some good numbers last time out against Rhode Island. Endres went 23-of-30 for 289 yards and two touchdowns in that game against the FCS opponent.

That might help his confidence and that of his receivers against Pitt, which has had trouble stopping the pass this year so far. UConn has asked Endres to throw a lot before in games, with mixed results. He attempted 42 passes in a win over Cincinnati last season and 37 in a loss to West Virginia.

"We're ready to play whatever style we need to play," he said.

As for the future, Edsall hasn't said what he'll do yet when Frazer is healthy. But if Endres keeps playing this sure-handedly, it will be hard to send him to the bench.

"Of course, my goal is to stay on the field," Endres said. "I just have to go out there and do the best I can each week and hope things work out in my favor."