Wednesday, February 05, 2014

With recruiting class in place, UConn's focus turns to returning players

Since getting hired as UConn's football coach the majority of Bob Diaco's time has been spent on putting together a staff and compiling the best class of recruits possible. Now it is time to use the next month to get to know the returning players who will ultimately decide the win/loss record in Diaco's debut season.

"The day that you don’t recruit, it is like shaving, you don’t look very good so we are going to recruit every day," Diaco said on Wednesday. "We are going to do our recruiting in the morning. Not that it is not our top thing that the guys want to do but the guys want to do football, the guys want to be with the team so when they have all the energy in the morning we are going to have them do recruiting initially. The main drilled down focus for the next four weeks is going to be on our team, our physical, mental and cultural development of our team for the next four weeks."

While I haven't seen an updated roster yet, the only players I've heard who are gone who had eligibility remaining are offensive tackle Xavier Hemingway, running back Joe Williams and tight end E.J. Norris. Diaco is thrilled that there wasn't more attrition with players deciding that being on their third coach in about six months was too much.

"That is what I am most excited about honestly," Diaco said. "We had a pretty good handful of guys who weren’t sure they wanted to continue to move forward based on how jaded they were per how things ended and to show them a commitment to how we were going to serve them and try to do a great job of communicating with them how important they are, everyone. We have a group of guys that are busting their butts, they are trying hard, they are making a great investment and they all want to be here. It is very exciting."

Diaco didn't have any updates on guard Gus Cruz (cardiac issue) and safety Ty-Meer Brown (shoulder/neck), who were sidelined for the second half of the 2013 season .

"I can’t at this time do any medical release," Diaco said. "I am not sure where our sports performance team is in their overall mechanics there so I am going to have to punt on that one."

In terms of trying to convince those players previously committed to UConn before he was hired, Diaco said he didn't do any of that.

"I didn’t do any convincing. Zero," Diaco said. "I didn’t do any selling. Zero. I simply presented what I believed the university to be, what I believe to be the resources for the football team and presented our staff, our culture and how we are going to conduct our business. If it was something that was going to be exciting for them to be a part of, fine. I called every one of them and this is exactly how it is going to be and if you have any issue with that you definitely don’t want to come here because you are not going to have any success, you are not going to make it. This is going to be too intense of an environment for you if you are not 100 percent completely bought in, voluntarily bought in so the selling, the convincing are not words that we do and not the way we conduct our business in that world."


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