Monday, September 22, 2014

UConn in the NFL: Week 3

There were no lack of splash plays for UConn products in week 3 of the NFL season as Tyvon Branch hit the double-digit number in tackles for the Oakland Raiders, Robert McClain and Dwayne Gratz had seven tackles each, Darius Butler recovered a fumble, Kendall Reyes had a sack and Danny Lansanah returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Donald Brown had career-high 36 offensive touches but there was some bad news to report as Branch suffered what Raiders coach Dennis Allen feared was a fractured foot and Marcus Easley left the San Diego game with a knee injury.

Will Beatty, OT New York Giants: Started in 30-17 win over Houston
Tyvon Branch, S Oakland: Had 10 tackles in 16-9 loss to New England
Donald Brown, RB San Diego: Ran for 62 yards and caught five passes for 27 yards in 22-10 win over Buffalo
Darius Butler, CB Indianapolis: Had two tackles and recovered a fumble in 44-17 win over Jacksonville
Marcus Easley, WR Buffalo: Did not have any stats in 22-10 loss to San Diego
Dwayne Gratz, CB Jacksonville: Had a career-high seven tackles in 44-17 loss to Indianapolis
Ryan Griffin, TE Houston: Did not have any stats in 30-17 loss to New York Giants
Danny Lansanah, LB Tampa Bay: Had four tackles, a tackle for loss and returned an interception 27 yards for a TD in 56-14 loss to Atlanta
Robert McClain, CB Atlanta: Had seven tackles in 56-14 win over Tampa Bay
Sio Moore, LB Oakland: Did not play in 16-9 loss to New England
Dan Orlovsky, QB, Detroit: Did not play in 19-7 win over Green Bay
Kendall Reyes, DT San Diego: Had four tackles including a sack in 22-10 win over Buffalo
Anthony Sherman, FB Kansas City: Had 4-yard run and 1-yard catch in 34-15 win over Miami
Shamar Stephen, DT Minnesota: Did not have any stats in 20-9 loss to New Orleans
Jordan Todman, RB Jacksonville: Had 10-yard run in 44-17 loss to Indianapolis
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB Tennessee:Had three tackles and a pass defensed in 33-7 loss to Cincinnati

Sunday, September 21, 2014

UConn's Diaco has no regrets over shutting down passing game

About a day and a half after the conclusion of the disappointing 17-14 loss to South Florida UConn coach Bob Diaco said he would follow the same offensive script.

"I shut down the passing (game)," Diaco said on a Sunday afternoon conference call. "Watch our first four passes, I was concerned the game would have been 35-0. I was more inclined to play ping pong and win games on special teams and defense, that is why the play pattern started to tilt, as abysmal as it was looking on offense, we still had a chance to win the game at the end of the game."

Diaco said he is still encouraged with the direction the program is going in as his staff continues to develop young players.

"Our whole organization understands how much work needs to be done, how far away this program was or is nobody is under false pretenses," Diaco said.

"I see coaching taking root. (Personnel) change, we are not going there. We are taking over a downtrodden, losing program, we're working on winning and it is going to take some time. There's a long way to go."

While Diaco liked some of what he saw, there were some costly errors. He seemed especially irritated with Marlon Mack going 17 yards on a draw on a 3rd and 16 play on the Bulls' final scoring drive. 

"The third down draw kept drive alive, game changing play right there," Diaco said. "We are going to make that play and it is a play that you let get away, turned out to be the difference in the game, We played well enough to win, held the opponent offense to under 18 points which is excellent, still had an opportunity on defense and let one get away. That is a play we need to make, to be a great defense we have to make that play."

Diaco said the defense was alerted to guard against the draw making the result of the play all the more frustrating to him, his coaches and players.

As for the strip sack and fumble recovery by USF on the first drive, Diaco said it was simply the case of an inexperienced player making the wrong read.

"It should have been blocked from tailback position," Diaco said. "He (Ron Johnson) wasn't looking over there and he didn't see it, He's an outstanding player and has growth to do, When you play freshmen and sophomore as much, those are things we have to deal with , To do something different, play 11 players for four quarters, I am not going it. We are building a foundation of strength sooner than later."

Diaco was perturbed about the large number of pre-snap penalties including three on the tight ends. He thought the running backs were too quick to improvise when the tape showed that there were running lanes available had they been run as they were drawn up.

"Very disappointing," Diaco said. "Three instances of third down and short turn into third down and long, We are 0 for 9 on third down and have the opportunity at the end of the game to win the game, Those are things the guys needs to see, A high level of detail and discipline at tight end position in particular needs to be hallmark in how we play."

As for the touchdown on fourth down, Diaco said South Florida executed a rub or pick route leaving safety Obi Melifonwu a couple steps behind Rodney Adams on a play resulting in a 30-yard touchdown and early 14-0 lead.

Diaco once again reiterated that backup quarterback Tim Boyle was cleared to play despite what may have been reported by ESPN.

He also praised the growth of Wilbert Lee who had five special-teams tackles.

"He is doing a great job," Diaco said. "He's a tough hard nosed (player) and is becoming a great teammate."

Diaco said that Lee is continuing to earn more reps at safety as he continues to develop.

He also said that Tommy Hopkins, who has been listed as a second-string offensive tackle on some depth charts could be more suited at playing guard and he saw some time there against the Bulls.

Big game for UConn QB recruit

While UConn's passing attack was nearly nonexistent until the final offensive drive in Friday's loss to South Florida, a player who could become the Huskies quarterback of the future had much more of an impact this week.

Tyler Davis ran 19 times for 126 including scoring runs of 7, 6, 2 and 2 yards and was 10 of 15 passing for 175 yards including a 24-yard touchdown to lead his Mepham team to a 41-7 win over Calhoun.

Also, Marche Terry had a 5-yard touchdown reception and a key interception as Northern Burlington defeated Cherry Hill East 28-21 on Friday.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

UConn losing the field position battle

Perhaps had UConn been able to start a drive within the shadow of midfield things could have been different last night.

However, after starting their first three drives between their own 30-34 and failing to sustain any offensive continuity, the field position clearly swung in South Florida's favor as UConn's next five drives started on its own 9, 5, 12, 9 and 3. UConn has enough issues getting going when having the ball at the 30 or 40 but with as much as the offensive line is struggling, the odds of the Huskies getting a first down let alone sustaining a length of the field drive is simply impossible to tabulate.

It's a credit to the UConn defense that the Huskies beat Stony Brook and were within range against Boise State and Stony Brook late in the last two games considering how much pressure the Huskies D is facing.

Sure, Stony Brook had an 88-yard scoring drive and USF went 80 yards on a drive but the other seven scoring drives in the last three games have averaged only 31.7 yards.

If the defensive players are getting frustrated, they are doing a pretty good job of hiding it around us.

"I think we are all still in the box, nobody is veering out," UConn senior cornerback Byron Jones said. I think we need to keep moving forward and understand how important it is to start the game at the 'A' level. You can't come down and be down 14-0 in the first quarter. It is one of the things we are going to work on moving forward."

Near record offensive struggles dooms UConn

Before the game when I was on the air with WTIC's Bob Joyce I said that there may not be a series in the country that has as many bizarre happenings as the annual UConn/South Florida tilts.

Well, the game certainly lived up to that statement but not a heck of a lot else.

UConn went almost two entire quarters of play between pass attempts and the Huskies did not complete its first pass until its final drive of the third quarter. Yet, if the Huskies had come up with an onsides kick late in the fourth quarter the Huskies might have walked out of Raymond James Stadium with one of the most unlikely of victories in recent memory. Even after the game UConn coach Bob Diaco almost seemed amazed that the Huskies were in striking range late.

"We have a chance to win the game at the end after all that, we didn't convert a third down (in the game) and we had nine penalties, a turnover sets up a score right at the beginning and we have a chance at the very end to win the game at the very end so there are a lot of encouraging issues so right out of the chute it was 14-0."

I'll have more on this subject in my follow-up story that will be running in Sunday's paper but Diaco said he wanted to limit the negative plays and with UConn constantly backed up within the shadow of its goal line (UConn started five drives within its own 15), he was willing to run conservative dive plays rather than risk a sack or turnover. As a result UConn had eight passing yards in the first three quarters.

ESPN reported that backup quarterback Tim Boyle was unavailable to play but Diaco said that was not the case.

"He could have played," Diaco said. "He is cleared to play. He is hobbled with a lower-leg, I am not going to call it a lower-leg injury but a lower-leg pain but he was cleared for participation but it wouldn't have been prudent to (play him) under those circumstances."

There weren't too many positive but after recording 15 tackles for loss in the first three games, the Huskies had 10 against USF. Marquise Vann, who had a team-high 14 tackles, had 2 1/2 of them and Junior Joseph (who left the game for a bit after a violent collision before coming back) added two stops behind the line. Wilbert Lee had four tackles on punt returns and another on a kickoff return which was as impressive a special-teams effort I have seen in a while for a cover guy. Arkeel Newsome flashed some of his tremendous potential with 22 yards on three carries in the third quarter. He finished with 30 yards on four carries and his 7.5 yard per carry is the most for a Connecticut running back with more than one carry since Lyle McCombs ran 20 times for 164 yards in last year's USF game.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

UConn AD Manuel on expectations set for student-athletes

There is not a more pressing issue in the sports world right now than the seemingly daily reports of NFL players being charged with domestic abuse. So with UConn director of athletics Warde Manuel meeting with the five Connecticut newspaper reporters who made the trip for tonight's UConn/South Florida game I asked the always straight shooting Manuel if he has addressed UConn's student-athletes about this issue in recent days and weeks.

"I have spoken to the coaches about it," Manuel said. "It hasn't come directly from me to the student-athletes but I have talked to our coaches in the locker rooms and in the meetings they are having with our student-athletes, my address to them is about their behavior and being great citizens on campus and in the community. That is something I say to them but I haven't addressed specifically the issue of abuse. I think it is understood when I say to all of student-athletes male and female that I expect them to carry themselves with pride, passion and excellence on campus and in the community with everything that they do.

"We will address it and we will have programs specific to that - as we have in the past - this year and my expectation from all of our student-athletes is they carry themselves the way their parents, their coaches and the way I, (UConn) President (Susan) Herbst and the university community expects them to do."

Youth is being served on UConn's defense

The last couple of the year UConn's defense was spearheaded by the play of grizzled veterans.

However, one look at this year's numbers heading into tonight's American Athletic Conference opener tell a different story. The top five tacklers are players with eligibility remaining at season's end. Taking things one step further, there are seven freshmen who have recorded tackles for the Huskies.

In tonight's game, two freshmen in particular have a chance to shine. Redshirt freshman Cole Ormsby from Windsor has been seeing time at defensive end since Angelo Pruitt has been sidelined. With Pruitt retiring due to his injuries, Ormsby is not only expected to see significant time at defensive end but he is expected to split time with Kenton Adeyemi. The rapid development of true freshman Luke Carrezola is a major reason why Ormsby was able to move to defensive end.

"Last week (Adeyemi and Ormsby) participated at the same rate," UConn coach Bob Diaco said. "The outside linebackers, a few of them have a higher threshold of plays and we have three real good ones standing in the line together (ahead of Ormsby). Not that Luke Carrezola has arrived, he is just a true freshman, but he is really going to be an impact player in the future. I have been so impressed with him as a youngster so we want to keep his participation up so when Angelo sustained his lower-leg (injury), it is really nothing sustained, it is something he has genetically but when it got irritated we needed another player there and Cole is the most obvious choice. He works to keep his body size down and now he doesn't need to do that. He is really a big guy, maybe not the tallest guy but he has a real big torso and lower body so he will have a great opportunity to get even bigger than he is right now."

Ormsby recorded a sack in last week's loss to Boise State, one of three the Huskies recorded in the first three games of the season.

"I am excited because I want to prove to everybody that I can do it," Ormsby said during media day. "I am way more prepared with the new coaching staff, Coach (Vincent) Brown, Coach Wolt (Kevin Wolthausen) teaching me everything they know just trying to be disciplined with what they are teaching me.

I am ready for anything. Whatever the team needs me to do. We keep each other in check. I would want somebody telling me if I am messing up or doing bad in practice.

Linebacker Junior Joseph (seven tackles) is the top tackler among the freshmen followed by cornerback Jamar Summers. Ormsby, Fatukasi, Carrezola, Cam Stapleton and Vontae Diggs.

Last year safety Obi Melifonwu finished as the team's second-leading tackler as a redshirt freshman but the next leading tackler among freshmen was wide receiver and special-teams dynamo Noel Thomas.

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What a difference a couple years makes for UConn

Geremy Davis makes one of his seven catches in 2012 loss to South Florida
There are so many numbers associated with the UConn/South Florida series that simply defy explanation including the fact that the team finishing with the most yards of total offense have LOST the last seven meetings between the teams.

There is another one which truly blows my mind and that is the fact just nine players on UConn's current roster played for the Huskies the last time UConn played at Raymond James Stadium.

Perhaps that wouldn't be so noteworthy if that most recent game at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers occurred four or five years ago but it took place just 22 1/2 months ago.

Five players started for UConn in the 13-6 loss as quarterback Chandler Whitmer threw for 284 yards, receiver Geremy Davis led the Huskies with seven receptions and 98 yards, Gus Cruz started at right guard, Reuben Frank (now a starting linebacker/defensive end) got the start at fullback while cornerback Byron Jones led the Huskies with nine tackles.

Jefferson Ashiru, Brandon Steg (one of 10 Florida natives on this year's UConn team), Julian Campenni and B.J. McBryde also saw time in the game. Six players who saw action in the game could have been members of this year's team but aren't for one reason or another. Defensive end Angelo Pruitt made the difficult decision to give up football due to injury, Shakim Phillips and Ty-Meer Brown are playing their final season of eligibility at Boston College, Lyle McCombs is at Rhode Island, Tebucky Jones plays at Fordham while Scott McCummings isn't playing. Other than Jones' departure, the rest of the moves came after Bob Diaco was hired at UConn.

By comparison, there are 21 players who took part in the game for South Florida who are still on the Bulls' roster (although standout receiver Andre Davis is not expected to play). USF's entire starting offensive line in the 2012 game could all start tonight.

Among the other USF players who played notable roles in the game two years ago are receiver Deonte Welch (team-high five catches in '12 game), tight end Sean Price (three catches for 45 yards), linebackers Tashon Whitehust (eight tackles, sack and fumble recovery), Reshard Cliett (six tackles) and Elkino Watson (interception).

It should be pointed out that South Florida played 52 people in the 2012 game compared to 35 by the Huskies. I don't expect that to be the case tonight. In UConn's most recent game the participation report listed 56 players and that did not include Steve Hashemi, who has been seeing time on the field goal unit while USF also played 56 players per the Bulls' participation report.

Diaco alluded to the fact that he was using the first three games as a developmental period resulting in a large number of players getting into the game. When I asked Diaco whether the playing rotation would be streamlined now that UConn has hit the conference portion of the schedule, he didn't exactly provide too much clarity on his plans.

"This whole year is built like that," Diaco said. "We can't do anything to compromise our development, we can't do anything to compromise our ability to get better. We need to get better as a team, we get better as a team every week, we get better as a team at the end of the season and that has to happen, that will happen but I also don't just want to hit you with coach speak, this is a very important game. This is a conference game and the energy needs to be different today than it has been and that is my expectation that the team is going to grow into that mode to understand they better turn the screw another half crank because four you, for your seniors this is an important moment, your personal goals are out in front of us and what you want to achieve out of the season is still all present so let's see that extra heartbeat."

A pair of future Huskies will be going head to head while UConn is playing South Florida.

 John Robinson's Dwight Morrow will travel to meet Ben Hartwick's Mahwah squad.

Dwight Morrow opened the season with a 32-6 win over Cliffside Park while Mahwah's season began with a 48-0 win over Fort Lee.

The schools have enjoyed some barn burners in recent years as Mahwah won 34-28 two years ago and  Mahwah won 21-14 in overtime last season.

It wasn't too long ago when there was speculation that former UConn defensive back Robert McClain's role as the Atlanta Falcons' nickel corner was in peril. Well, that seems like ancient history now especially after he had a team-high seven tackles in Atlanta's 56-14 win over Tampa Bay.

There weren't many highlights for the Buccaneers but Danny Lansanah not only recorded four solo tackles including one tackle for loss but also returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

First down woes costing UConn

It is so easy to take a look at last week's loss to Boise State and focus on the three turnovers resulting in 21 points for the Broncos or the eight sacks surrendered including four coming on third down.

However, many of the Huskies' offensive woes can be traced to horrendous execution on first downs.

In the last 10 quarters of football UConn has run 64 first-down plays and 36 of them have gone for no gain, resulted in negative yardage or ended with a costly turnovers. That's 58 percent for those scoring at home. Taking things one step further, during UConn's scoring drives in the first three games the Huskies have averaged 8.1 yards on first down and 2.9 on non-scoring drives. No offense can thrive while putting up those kinds of numbers and if it doesn't get rectified, the sack numbers (no FBS team has given up more than UConn's 15)  will continue to pile up.

"There are only a couple of guys who played some, guys that we are really counting on like a Richard Levy, Andreas (Knappe), Dalton (Gifford), they never really played let alone (Tyler) Samra, (Trey) Rutherford, (Ryan) Crozier," UConn coach Bob Diaco said. "They need a lot of work. They are working, they are trying. We need to be more sensitive as a whole team to their needs than we have been. We have been working hard but I think it even needs another layer of care. That might be with the daily structure, that might be daily assistance. Maybe we really inspect the installation so we aren't a jack of all trades and master of none. We ave a chance to maybe master a few jobs, maybe we decrease some of the run menu and give them a few things that they can really sink their teeth into. It is not a play selection issue, it is play execution issue. Every play looks bad when every play looks like they are storming the castle."

UConn/Missouri to play home and home series

UConn announced that it has agreed to a home and home series with Missouri beginning with a game on Sept. 19, 2015 at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri with the return game set for Sept. 23, 2017 at Rentschler Field.

“We are very excited about playing a football series against Missouri as we continue to build a competitive non-conference schedule for our team and an exciting one for our loyal fans,” said UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel in a statement. “Our future football schedules have a number of games from various leagues around the country and I am happy to add Missouri and the Southeastern Conference  to those contests.”

UConn has a 2-2 record against current teams in the Southeastern Conference with a win over South Carolina in the 2010  Bowl and a 1-2 all-time series mark vs. Vanderbilt, including a win in 2010.

The Missouri series completes UConn’s non-conference scheduling for both 2015 and 2017. UConn will also play at series with Massachusetts on Sept. 10, 2016 as the Huskies make their Gillette Stadium debut  and on September 2, 2017 at Rentschler Field.

UConn will also play FCS opponent Maine on September 3, 2016.

Here is a summary of all future UConn non-conference football games under contract:

2015: September 5, Villanova; September 12, Army; September 19, at Missouri; October 2, at BYU.
2016: September 3, Maine; September 10, at UMass (Foxborough, Mass.); September 17, Virginia.
2017: September 2, UMass; September 9, Holy Cross; September 16, at Virginia; September 23, Missouri.
2018: September 8, at Boise State.
2019: September 7, Illinois; September 21, at Indiana.
2020: September 12, at Illinois; September 26, Indiana.
UConn and Tennessee have a two-game home-and-home series under contract with dates to be determined

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

UConn's Florida contingent looking forward to homecoming

While the majority of the Florida natives on the 2014 UConn football team hail more from the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area it is still going to be a chance to play in front of friends and family when the Huskies play at South Florida on Friday night.

Starting cornerback Jhavon Williams is one of the 10 Floridians on the roster and he didn't hide his enthusiasm at having a chance to return to play in the Sunshine State.

"I am looking forward to going back home, going to play in front of my family and friends going into conference play, it is going to be big," Williams said. "I am really excited. I have at least 35 family members coming to the game so it is going to be big. I am excited."

Williams is one of five players on Florida on UConn's two-deep chart joining reserve defensive backs John Green and Ellis Marder, second-string guard Ryan Crozier and starting kicker Bobby Puyol. Linebacker Brandon Steg, running back Ron Johnson and offensive linemen Kyle Schafenacker have also gotten into games this season while cornerback Javon Hadley and offensive lineman Daniel Oak also hail from Florida.

I'm sure there's been plenty of behind the scenes work getting the necessary tickets for the players coming home.

Players like Tim Boyle get to play in front of friends and family at every home game but he has enjoyed seeing those players from Florida and even Georgia get excited about playing close to home.

"It is very fun," Boyle said. "It is obviously a huge blessing for me to play in front of my hometown people, my family and friends but when we go down to Florida and all those Florida kids, they try to gather all the tickets they can get so they can get people there."

There will be more from Williams and in particular the extra pressure he places on himself being the first defensive back to wear the No. 6 jersey since the tragic death of Jasper Howard in 2009 in tomorrow's paper.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

UConn's Boyle looks to build on strong final drive

It's easy to look at final passing statistics in the Boise State game and find a eureka moment where there is none.

At first glance reserve quarterback's Tim Boyle 6 of 9 numbers with no interceptions far outdistance the 16 of 29 and two interception numbers that Chandler Whitmer had.

However, most of Boyle's best work came on the Huskies' final offensive possession when Boise State was willing to concede yards as long as the clock continued to run.

Still, for a player making his first appearance of the season, being able to move the team on that drive could prove to be invaluable for Boyle.

Boyle hooked up with Thomas Lucas and Sean McQuillan for completions of four and five yards. Boyle and Lucas connected again for a 17-yard gain. Ironically, two of his most impressive throws resulted in incompletions. Despite having a tight window to throw into, Boyle dropped a pass into the hands of Noel Thomas within the shadow of the goal line. Thomas was unable to hold onto the ball and one the next play Dhameer Bradley dropped a potential touchdown reception as UConn's final
possession in the 38-21 loss came to an end.

"It gave me a lot of confidence," Boyle said. "I know it wasn't their starting defense but any time you play a Boise State team their backups aren't going to be a bad backup group so it definitely gave me confidence in my leadership ability because I definitely was in control of that series. It was slower this year than it was last year for me, it came to be a lot easier. Seeing defenses, getting the play call in, the substitutions and all that kind of stuff. It was definitely s confidence booster for the next couple of games and I want to keep building on it."

Boyle made his first appearance of the season in the Huskies' third offensive possession. He connected with Lucas on completions on his first two passes although the plays resulted in just four yards. On third down he was sacked and that was the end of Boyle's day until it was garbage time.

A confident Boyle could be huge for the Huskies moving forward because the former Xavier High star has all the tools to be a top-flight Division I quarterback.

Calling his four-game stint as UConn's starting quarterback during the 2013 season a baptism of fire doesn't quite do the situation justice. Boyle completed just 43.9 percent of his passes for 619 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown pass, had eight interceptions and was sacked 18 times in the four games.

"Being a true freshman coming in and four weeks in college of still trying to know where my classes are, figuring out what book is for what class and trying to learn an offense and manage an offensive line where the oldest guy was 23/24 years old so I think the big picture scared me last year," Boyle said. "I just had to let the game come to me, take a deep breath and everything is going to work out."

The schedule Boyle faced was downright brutal. After debuting against the South Florida team the Huskies will play on Friday, the next three games were against eventual American Athletic Conference champion Central Florida as well as Louisville and Cincinnati, which finished second and third in the AAC.

"It is no excuse," Boyle said. "The team trusted me to get the job done when I played last year and I thought I could do a better job. It was a learning experience, you have to find a silver lining in things so I have been able to do that."

Boyle believes he is more prepared this year when he a season ago.

"I think it was more confidence in myself, I knew I could do it but it is unfortunate it wasn't being done on the field," Boyle said. "The ball is definitely coming out a lot easier this year, I am not forcing anything and that has worked well for me."

While Whitmer is still the starter, UConn coach Bob Diaco has said on multiple occasions that he considers Boyle to be the program's quarterback of the future.

"Tim has all top-notch traits," Diaco said. "He is fast, he is big, he has great vision over the linemen. He has very strong arm, he can throw all the passes, he has good touch on shallow passes, he has nice touch on the deep passes. He can zip it from the hash to the (sideline); he has that kind of strength in his arm. He has enough escapability to be a problem so those are the things I like about him. He has top-flight tangible traits."

The relationship between Boyle and Diaco started well before Diaco was hired at UConn.

"He recruited me and when I was a junior (at Xavier) he came down to my high school and when he was (Notre Dame) defensive coordinator," Boyle said. "I was kind of shell shocked when I found out Notre Dame was here to talk to me so that took me off guard a little bit but then I went to the Junior Day there and me and him have had a good relationship even when we was at Notre Dame, he did a great job of showing me around Notre Dame when he was the defensive coordinator there. It was nice knowing he was becoming the coach here because we had a nice relationship prior."

Since he is as well dressed as any coach I have ever covered I had to ask Boyle about Diaco's wardrobe when he came to visit Boyle at Xavier.

"Same guy, always a suit and tie, always with the nice hair, knows what to say at the right times," Boyle said. "That I what I admire about Coach Diaco. he is never fake to anybody which is a great trait to have as a coach."

Boyle said knowing what his participation pattern is going to be heading into the games helps him deal with what could otherwise be an uncertain situation.

"I think Coach Diaco does a good job of letting me know when I am playing," Boyle said, "I think he does that for everyone so if Chandler goes down - knock on wood, I hope he doesn't  Chandler is doing a nice job this year - and I need to be ready to go." 


UConn in NFL: Week 2

In a week when 9 of the 10 former UConn players recording statistics played on the losing teams, the highlight of the week 2 UConn alumni report s Tyvon Branch's 12 tackles in Oakland's 30-14 loss to Houston.

Branch was one of four former UConn defensive backs with at least five tackles in a game including Blidi Wreh-Wilson having a career-high six tackles in Tennessee's loss to Dallas.

The biggest news of the week could be that Oakland linebacker Sio Moore suffered an ankle injury and he had an MRI done yesterday.

Will Beatty, OT New York Giants: Started in 25-14 loss to Arizona
Tyvon Branch, S Oakland: Had 12 tackles in 30-14 loss to Houston
Donald Brown, RB San Diego: Ran for 21 yards and caught three passes for 10 yards in 30-21 win over Seattle
Darius Butler, CB Indianapolis: Had five tackles and two passes defensed in 30-27 loss to Philadelphia
Marcus Easley, WR Buffalo: Didn't have any stats in 29-10 win over Miami
Dwayne Gratz, CB Jacksonville: Had five tackles and two passes defensed in 41-10 loss to Washington
Ryan Griffin, TE Houston: Did not have any stats in 30-27 win over Oakland
Danny Lansanah, LB Tampa Bay: Had three tackles in 19-17 loss to St. Louis
Robert McClain, CB Atlanta: Had two tackles in 24-10 loss to Cincinnati
Sio Moore, LB Oakland: Had six tackles in 30-14 loss to Houston
Dan Orlovsky, QB Detroit: Did not play in 24-7 loss to Carolina
Kendall Reyes, DT San Diego: Did not have any stats in 30-21 win over Seattle
Anthony Sherman, FB Kansas City: Did not have any stats in 24-17 loss to Denver
Shamar Stephen DT Minnesota: Had three tackles in 30-7 loss to New England
Jordan Todman, RB Jacksonville: Averaged 27.4 yards on five kickoff returns in 41-10 loss to Washington
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB Tennessee: Had six tackles in 26-10 loss to Dallas