Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Marriner opening some eyes at UConn

If you want to engage UConn football coach Bob Diaco in a lengthy discussion about his team I would suggest just mentioning the name Josh Marriner.

There may not  be a player who has seen his stock rise more since the end of the 2013 season than the redshirt freshman from Chesapeake, Virginia.

With some high-profile freshmen including two-time New Haven Register State Football Most Valuable Player Arkeel Newsome and the return of Lyle McCombs, Max DeLorenzo and the potential of Joe Williams being thrown in the mix,Marriner's name was rarely mentioned when discussions of UConn tailbacks were starting up.

Well, McCombs (UConn's leading rusher in each of the last three seasons) and Williams are no longer a part of the program and Marriner's star is most certainly on the rise.

In UConn's preseason depth chart he is listed as a co-No. 1 guy at tailback along with DeLorenzo.

Diaco could not say enough good things about the 5-foot-9, 193-pound Marriner.

"Josh is pound for pound the strongest player on our team," Diaco said at Tuesday's American Athletic Conference football media day. "This guy is fast, he is strong, he is powerful. he is a tackle breaker with leg drive, he can push through tacklers and he can also make you miss, he's got some gas to otherwise extend runs that are needed. He is such a fantastic young guy, I can't say enough good things about him,selfless, a great teammate, works hard, one of the hardest workers on the team. He has been so fun to coach."

A couple other quick items from media day.

Diaco said he figures to play with a 4-3 defense about half the time and will be in a 3-4 the rest of the time. He also said he expects every player to be medically cleared to take part in the first practice on Saturday. That includes guard Gus Cruz, who started the first five games of the season before being shut down with a cardiac issue. Also, Diaco would not reveal when the team captains would be named but he said they will not be appointed by him but chosen after a vote by the members of the team.

There will be plenty more from the day's festivities to come.


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