JOE D’S NOTEBOOK October 12th
USF GAME DAY- It’s a new era in so many ways for the UConn football team today in their homecoming battle with South Florida.
1)- The first conference game in the American Athletic Conference
2)- The first game under interim head coach T.J. Weist
3)- The first start for highly touted freshman Tim Boyle
4)- The first game for the offensive line under Mike Foley
OK,they are listed in inverse order of importance. Let me explain.
4)-It’s actually not the first game as OL coach for Foley, but it’s his first with this group of linesmen. Not to disparage George DeLeone but the marriage of DeLeone to the bigguns up front just didn’t work. Maybe we will see it’s talent. But I don’t think so. Under the tutelage of Foley prior to 2012, the UConn offensive line had a tough, rugged reputation. The last 16 games, they haven’t performed well, at all. The schemes are supposedly simpler, but now it’s up to the players to perform. The return of Kevin Friend at RT will help but the O-line has to play much much better.
3)- I don’t think anyone around the program is surprised at the move at QB. Boyle is the future of the program and Chandler Whitmer had struggled with costly mistakes again this season. I know some will say why not red-shirt Boyle but if he is ready to play, and I think he is, why not give him the keys to the car. It worked with Dan Orlovsky in 2001 and the rest was history. I don’t think Boyle will panic, will he make mistakes today, sure. But he seems like a bright enough player that he won’t duplicate the same mistake twice.
2)- Weist has brought an enthusiasm to the program in his two weeks since replacing Paul Pasqualoni. And this team needed a shot of adrenaline after the Buffalo game. Spirits seem to be higher in the Burton Family Football Complex.And understand that T.J. knows this is his on the job audition to become a head coach, if not at UConn then somewhere else. I have been impressed with everything he has done since getting the nod.
1)-UConn is the only AAC team not to have played a league game. So today, they do. Not that big a deal, trust me.But the fact they haven’t played a conference game helps them flip the switch from the 0-4 start. All of their attainable goals are still in front of them. And a win today would go a long, long way towards making these players believe they can get be successful. Will it happen? We will find out starting at 12:08 at the Rent. Hope you can join us.