Thursday, November 07, 2013

UConn not using last year's Louisville win as motivation

The last victory for the UConn football program was one of the most memorable ones in program history as the Huskies went on the road and knocked off a Louisville team which would claim the Big East's automatic qualifier spot and beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

However, there has been little focus on using that performance as a springboard heading into tomorrow night's rematch.

"Sure we looked at the film, we looked at last year’s game but we are not focusing on it and make sure our players understand we are starting over this Friday night," UConn interim head coach T.J. Weist said. "When it comes down to these games it is going to come down to turnovers and efficiency on offense and defense. I think for us it has to come down to execution and up keeping momentum and forcing turnovers, not turning the football over and going out and executing."

The UConn defense, which could be without second-leading tackler Ty-Meer Brown due to a shoulder stinger, will be facing Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater who has completed 73.7 percent of his passes with 23 touchdown passes and two interceptions.

"Teddy, he’s a Heisman candidate and he can spread it anywhere on the field, all it means is you (mind) your P’s and Q’s every play," UConn senior cornerback Taylor Mack. "It is not like you can lock up on the leading receiver because he will look left and come back right."

Poor tackling has been an issue this season and with an extra week to prepare UConn has made improvement in the tackling department a major priority.

"Coach (Weist) made it a bigger responsibility to tackle more, we have the bye week and focus on that a lot more," UConn junior linebacker Yawin Smallwood said. "We have been working very hard on that and hopefully that will show on Friday."

Weist has been challenging UConn to become more physical in all phases.

"We are lacking in execution and physicality," Weist said. "We don’t think we controlled the line of scrimmage in the majority of our games especially Central Florida. We have to improve our physicality overall. We haven’t played as physical as we like as we are used to playing as we need to play against one of the better teams, the best team in our league statistically ranked as one of the top 20 teams in the country. We can’t afford to come out and not be physical as a complete football team, we focused on that, we had three good practices, physical practices, long practices and we can’t afford not to be physical but it is more about our mentality right now, our physicality and our finish, work on our players confidence in not just assignment but in technique. We have to be more physical up front."

UConn will open the gates at 6:30 p.m. so fans can watch the men's basketball opener against Maryland on the video board.

It is also Military Appreciation Day with a field-sized flag being displayed during the national anthem and a Military Appreciation Parade at halftime.


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