Warde Manuel mum on coaching staff changes
Considering the news that broke earlier in the day that George DeLeone was relinquishing his offensive coordinator position, it wasn't too hard to figure out what was the first subject broached with him. However, Manuel declined to comment on either the move of DeLeone to associate head coach while remaining the offensive line coach and the departure of defensive coordinator Don Brown to Boston College.
"I don't want to comment on that until we have our coordinators," Manuel said. "I’ll comment when we have hire our coordinators."
I was able to ask Manuel about a conversation I heard he had with the team shortly after the end of the regular season. I had heard that he lit into the team telling them to get with the program or head for the exits and that head coach Paul Pasqualoni has his full support.
Manuel said he did meet with the team but the conversation did not transpire the way I described above.
Coming off back to back losing seasons, I was curious if he viewed this upcoming season even more pivotal than normal.
Since I periodically see reports out of Michigan with Michigan AD Dave Brandon continuing to hope that next year's UConn/Michigan game gets moved out of Rentschler Field and into a larger stadium, I asked Manuel for his take on the subject.
Finally, he spoke about having eight members of the 2012 squad playing in postseason all-star games as Nick Williams returned a pair of kickoffs for 37 yards in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Classic last week, Jory Johnson and Ryan Griffin are playing in the Raycom College Football All-Star Classic on Saturday while Sio Moore will be playing in the East-West Shrine Game on Saturday as well. On Jan. 26 the trio of Dwayne Gratz, Trevardo Williams and Blidi Wreh-Wilson are taking part in the Senior Bowl and Michael Smith compete in the Texas vs. The Nation event on Feb. 2.
"That I love, it always wonderful when any of our guys go and to have eight is a real testament to talent we have on the squad and the potential that we continue to have," Manuel said. "We just have to fulfill the potential that we have because we have talent and we have a lot of guys with ability, a lot of high quality, high character kids. They’ve been through a lot and never stopped playing for UConn and their teammates. It is a testament of who they are and how they were raised, how they carried themselves and I will always be proud of this senior class."