JOE D’S NOTEBOOK July 31, 2014
THURSDAY, JULY 31: And just like that, we’re back. After taking the spring and summer off from the notebook, it’s time to crank it back up again as football season is just 29 days away.
Much has happened to the UConn football program since the disappointing 2013 season ended on December 7th. The biggest change of course was the hiring of Bob Diaco as the 17th coach in school history. The former Notre Dame defensive coordinator has brought in an entirely new coaching staff,save for offensive line coach Mike Foley. There have been changes thruout the Burton Family Football Complex and the Shenkman Center. Walls have been painted, old habits have been broken and new traditions begun.
There has also been a significant turnover in personnel. Besides the 14 seniors who had their eligibility expire, Jim Fuller of the New Haven Register listed 13 other players who have left the program. The most significant names as DB Ty-Meer Brown, RB Lyle McCombs, WR Shak Phillips and QB Kivon Taylor. It’s not unexpected that there is attrition when coaching staffs change. You wish the players who don’t want to be here good luck and move on.
Diaco has talked often about a chance in the culture, in the work ethic, in just about everything the returning players do. From talking to Geremy Davis and Byron Jones at AAC Media Day in Newport, the players are buying into the Diaco program. And it’s not hard to understand why. Three straight losing seasons, that’s why. The players are tired of being an after-thought. And if Jones and Davis are any indication, it will be a competitive fall camp that begins Saturday morning with the first practice.
There are ten fifth year seniors on the roster who will be playing for their fourth head coach in five years.That’s not easy. And it’s these players who remember what the good times of 2010 were like. Their leadership will be critical to any success this year.
The Huskies tied for 9th in the pre season media poll, which like the seven day forecast is useless. With three new teams in the conference, who knows what will happen.
During the four weeks prior to the opening game, I’ll preview the team. Up first, what appears to be the deepest position, wide receiver.