Breaking Bread With T.J. – 11/19

Breaking Bread With T.J.

UConn Huskies interim head coach T.J. Weist held his weekly press conference on Tuesday and he talked about a variety of different subjects.

He started off by saying they (the coaching staff) were disappointed in a lot of areas after watching the film. Some bad decisions were made and there are things to be corrected. They need to play with more effort and desire. He said the running game was better and that Casey Cochran did a good job of handling the offense but could have made some better decisions.

The running backs, Lyle McCombs and Max DeLorenzo ran the ball better. Everyone was more consistent up front along with the backs. He felt they did a good job of mixing the pair up.

He said Temple has played better these last three weeks and are a well coached team. Their QB (P.J. Walker) is playing better and has been more consistent. He stated Temple is playing together more as a team.

Weist said there's been progress since he took over but not enough so they aren't satisified. He said losing hurts and that it gets harder and harder each week. They need to break that losing mentality.   

He said at times you can see and feel that mentality on the field. He also said this team DOES want to win.

Temple LB Tyler Matakevich, a Stratford, CT native, is tough both mentally and physically. He gives complete effort and you don't see a change in that each play.

Ty-Meer Brown shouldn't have been on the depth chart this week. It was a mistake on their part. He's doubtful as he didn't practice last week or on Sunday. He said he's hard to replace since he's so consistent.

They saw qualities of leadership in Cochran. Basically, they saw what they expected to see. He made some good decisions in his first considerable playing time. He still needs to improve and get better and can't make turnovers.

Cornerback David Stevenson is done for the year with a knee injury. He'll undergo surgery on Friday.

Linebacker Marquise Vann is questionable for Saturday's game with a twisted knee.

Yawin Smallwood is one of the best leaders on the team. He leads the defense from a mentality standpoint. He can motivate the whole team, not just the defense. He comes to work every day and puts in the effort.

Weist said the seniors are most engaged. It's their last three weeks. They have the most invested having been around 4-5 years or six like Jimmy Bennett. These guys have worked hard to give others a chance.

He said Ryan Donohue played well early on before injury. He's seen limited playing time because of the play of the other linebackers and the fact they've had to play nickel a lot lately. But he gets another chance with the Vann injury and that he's a very physical player.

Weist stated the pass rush has improved. They did lose contain on a couple of plays and that has to improve.

He said the team started faster on defense with some stops but the offense needs to start faster. They need to build momentum and sustain it. They also need to be more efficient like they were at the start of the second half offensively.

The game plan on defense is to tackle and play sound defense. They need to force more turnovers.

The wide receivers need to work on the timing of their catches to get more yards after the catch (YAC). They need to break tackles and have more vision before play. Basically when you catch it, where can you run. They can get better with that by watching film and anticipating what the cover guy will do. He said his WR's are quick but not as quick. They're very physical.

He said Deshon Foxx has improved the last two games.

He said it's tough for the wide receivers when you keep changing quarterbacks. The rhythm is different and the receivers need to adjust to the timing being different.

Weist stated the team was behind the decision to start Cochran. He's a good person, works hard and that football means a lot to him. You can see that in his work ethic.

He said that the UCF defense was the best UConn had seen all year.

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