Scott Gray Sports Commentary, Friday, August 29th, 2014
HE’S READY. ARE YOU?
He hasn’t coached a game, he isn’t expected to win his head coaching debut, tonight against BYU at Rentshler Field and at times he barely sounds like a football coach. Already Bob Diaco looks like the right man to take UCONN football to the next level.
“I’m excited to see what our last nine months of work will bring”, Diaco said earlier this week, reflecting on the stages he’s gone through since being handed the reins by Warde Manuel in January, assembling a coaching staff, “earning the locker room”, as new coaches say of winning over veteran players, and putting the right pieces in the right places on the field. “I’m not nervous”, he said of approaching his first test, “We’re prepared.”
You don’t hear a lot of the traditional coach speak from the literate and eloquent Diaco, he deals in straightforward talk, minus the jingoism, that even football novices can translate and understand. “It’s critical to contain (Taysom Hill)”, Diaco said of the BYU quarterback who buys his recievers time to get open by adeptly moving in the offensive backfield, “The game changes because the coverage breaks down.”
As simple as that seems, Diaco breaks it down for football newbies, saying the breakdown occurs “When defensive players focus on the quarterback and take their eyes off their “cover” (assignment). That’s what makes big plays. Players have to stay high and wide on coverage until the quarterback breaks the line of scrimmage.”
You don’t need a high football I.Q. to understand the key to successful secondary coverage is just stay with your man and ignore the quarterback until he crosses the line of scrimmage. If Bob Diaco can make such complex defensive assignments so understandable for us it’s hard to imagine his players having a tough time absorbing it.
Tonight’s game with BYU represents a change in philosophy for UCONN football, the Huskies having traditionally opened against FCS level opponents, which do little for a BCS program, for whom just a win isn’t always enough, while a loss, as anyone who remembers the Towson State game can attest, can be devestating.
“We’ll know right out of the blocks what needs to be done”, Diaco said of his season opener, “We won’t be wondering who we are.”
While he prepares to take the team into the future Diaco has no questions about where they are in the present, “We need to get better as a program, better as a team. The players have to get better. That’s where we’re at.”
The past is erased tonight, this is a new era of UCONN football, Bob Diaco’s era. With the whole nation watching, most importantly five power conferences, the infrastructure is in place. All that’s needed now is you. Every empty seat at Rentschler Field will be noticed by those who are now making the decisions on the future of college football. If you believe in the future of UCONN football you have a simple way of proving it. Buy a Ticket.
Bob Diaco and the Huskies are ready. Are you?
That’s not a question, that’s a comment from the sports world. I’m Scott Gray.