Breaking Bread with Bob Diaco

UConn Huskies head football coach Bob Diaco held his weekly pregame press conference on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of Saturday’s Homecoming Game against the Central Florida Knights and talked about a myriad of things.

He got things started by closing out the East Carolina game saying that they were well coached and a class act. The coaching staff and team as whole were upset with the results.

He stated that ECU came up with more big plays. They want it to be a four quarter fight to the end. He said again that UConn doesn’t do moral victories and that the team sees the improvement.

He and the team are excited it’s a game week as it’s a great opportunity against a veteran team that was in a BCS Bowl game that beat Baylor.

I asked him about the improvement of the offensive line from the start of the season until know and he’s very pleased with results. He said Andreas Knappe and Richard Levy have shown great improvement and continue to do so. He said all of the offensive line is gelling well together.

He said the UCF defense is mostly fourth and fifth year juniors and seniors as well as a couple of third year players. Basically an older, veteran defense. He said they are well coached, don’t miss tackles. He said Clayton Geathers leads a veteran defensive secondary.

He stated that UCF LB Terrance Plummer is their heart and sole on defense. He said Demetrius Anderson and Jaryl Mamea have been tough up front all year for Central Florida.

He said that the young cornerbacks have been coming on and will have to step it up with Byron Jones done for the year. He said Javon Hadley is a trained corner who is very competitive and shown great toughness. He said that freshman Brice McAllister will like he’s never played cornerback before but will be an elite cornerback as Diaco feels that’s his most natural position. He is a work in progress and his knowledge of the defense is remedial at best. He said Jhavon Williams played all 104 plays on Thursday night.

He said the game changed with Byron Jones went out.

He stated that Arkeel Newsome wasn’t disciplined for his non-football injury. He tweaked his lower leg on campus but is now 100%. He didn’t practice all week and wasn’t mentally ready because of that.

He said that Ron Johnson has improved his pass protection. He’s a big bodied runner with good vision and is hard to tackle.

Diaco said he’s pleased with all four running backs. But with no separation of the four with Max DeLorenzo starting as well Joshua Marriner, he went with the tandom with Newsome and Johnson who had been producing a little more. He said Arkeel and RJ possess high level tangible traits.

He said the protection by the offensive line helped QB Chandler Whitmer throw the ball down field which is something they want to do. It helps loosen up the run game and it’s more exciting when you’re producing points.

He said WR Geremy Davis is still nursing a lower leg thing and is day-to-day but should be full speed for Saturday.

He did state that RT Dalton Gifford is likely done for the season but S Ellis Marder should return. He’s doing land based running now.

He said that WRs Noel Thomas and Thomas Lucas have improved with their preparations for each game. He said Lucas route running is better and Thomas’ blocking is better. He said they are aggressively increased their levels of leadership.

This is the first game in a month at the Rent and the team is excited to be at the Rent.

While wins are important, Diaco wants to see the team play hard for four quarters with maximum effort and play with great spirit and energy. He wants to believe and continue their loyalty. He said they need to see the improvement and continue to grow.

He said their belief and accountability have improved greatly. He can see that the brotherhood is growing and that they are coaching and teaching each other now.

He said the tight ends have improved their blocking over the season. He stated that Sean McQuillan has been asked to do more blocking but when he goes out he’s a matchup issue. He said Tommy Myers is doing a fantastic job at blocking as well. He said Alec Bloom still needs to improve his complete game.

He said Saturday’s ceremony honoring Jasper Howard is a great teaching moment and educational piece for all student athletes.  Diaco said he has been part of a team that has experienced loss during the season.

He stated that UCF QB Justin Holman is what worries him the most about their offense. He’s a big QB that likes to run and that likes to move around a lot. He said they have three talented wide receivers with excellent hands and that present tremendous matchup problems.

He said RB William Stanback is a great tackle breaker and downhill runner. He also their offense has a lot of high level talent and plays smart football.

He said that everyone this year has had a hard time dealing with the front of UCF’s defense.

We’ll be back throughout the week with videos from the press conference as well as hear from the players.