Editor’s note: This should have been posted on Monday after the press conference. For some reason I thought I had written it up and posted. Unfortunately, I was wrong and am posting now though it is backdated to Monday. My sincerest apologies.

Breaking Bread with Bob Diaco

UConn Huskies football coach Bob Diaco held his weekly press conference in anticipation of Friday night’s matchup with the South Florida Bulls in Tampa, FL.

He opened up talking about the improvement of the special teams, including the specialists who helped out the defense. He is pleased with the improvement of the defense from week 1 to week 3.

Everyone is getting close to seeing the DNA of the team.

There were some positives on offense in regards to time of possession, better red zone scoring. They are an offense that can produce big plays.

He said they need to continue to reduce pre-snap penalties. They only had one last game.

They are having to many negative plays that can’t get started properly because of the struggles of the offensive line which he says is a work in progress.

He was pleased with the play of the cornerbacks as their timing was better.

He was pleased with Tim Boyle‘s production.

He talked about Max DeLorenzo being a veteran player who has good vision and good understanding of the defensive alignments which helped his running game in the second half.

He stated the defensive changes on two-deep were out of necessity. Angelo Pruitt‘s career is over due to a genetic issue in his lower leg. The decision to retire was made Monday morning.

Diaco stated that true freshman Luke Carrezola will be an impact player going forward.

He said Boyle played the exact amount of time they wanted him to.

Diaco said the offensive line is a group that needs a lot of mentoring and work.

He stated Andreas Knappe went out there and competed. He liked his hands and how he got to the second level. He needs to work on his footwork.

He reiterated that the team is still in the building phase. They won’t do anything to compromise the building process.

He said the game against USF is a very important game because it’s a conference foe and that the energy needs to be different. It’s an important moment for the seniors.

He talked about Obi Melifonwu and him being the last line of defense, hence why it looked like Obi was involved in every Boise scoring play. He said Obi is physically imposing and talented. In the grand scheme of things, Obi is on track.

He said USF true freshman running back Marlon Mack has elite, home run speed.  The defense needs to give maximum effort to stop him.

He’s looking at the USF road trip as a business trip. He likes that road trips can bring the team together since they are in a closer environment.

He stated that everyone that has participated so far will play going forward.

He was asked about OL Kyle Schafenacker who he said is getting better and is a great teammate. He’s very smart and needs to work on his foot action and bend/flexibility. Doubtful he cracks the two-deep this year.

He said the Florida based players will have lots of friends and family there. He doesn’t want to minimize it though.

Diaco said for the shorter week, he compressed the days. As of Monday, they were back on track.

He is impressed with the group of RBs. He was impressed with Joshua Marriner pass blocking and talked about Ron Johnson‘s beautiful run.

Asked again about USF, he said they have very talented players, a big mauling offensive line, fast at skill positions on offense and in secondary. He also said USF has probably the most talented TEs that UConn will play this year.

He’d like to get the wide receivers more touches. The younger ones all have bright football futures ahead at UConn.

He said Arkeel Newsome was hit before he could even saddle the handoff. He said it’s hard to evaluate that moment because of how the play developed.

He said the defense needs to attack the ball more. They are not an up the field feast or famine defense.

He added that Bryan Paull‘s career is over due to an upper body injury.

With Casey Cochran retiring, Diaco ended things by saying that they will now have to add another quarterback to the mix as they’ll have three on scholarship next year in Boyle, Bryant Shirreffs and recruit Tyler Davis.

We’ll have more before Friday’s game on USF and Cochran, who met with the media on Monday.