Thursday, August 14, 2014

Adams learning on the job at UConn

In our dealing with UConn football coach Bob Diaco he's been pretty positive when discussing individual players. If he is less than thrilled with what he's been seeing on the practice field those thoughts are usually not conveyed to the media. However, that was not the case when he recently discussed the play of the starting safeties.

Diaco couldn't say enough good things about Obi Melifonwu but when it came time to discuss the progress of Andrew Adams, Diaco said "he started in a very nondescript way." In Diaco's discussion of players to outsiders, that's about as damning as it gets.

Diaco did say that the safety and outside linebackers are the most complex in the defense they will be running at UConn. I've seen countless stories about this year's Notre Dame saying how the new regime is so much more open to playing younger players because the defensive scheme isn't quite so challenging to pick up.

Diaco admitted that some veteran players "have kind of been turned into freshmen."

Adams is a key member of the UConn defense. He has starting experience in each of the last two seasons and Diaco has been encouraged by what he has seen from him recently in practice.

Adams admitted that there have been some growing pains but he believes he is heading in the right direction.

"I am getting back into the swing of things," Adams said. "It is a process and it takes time so I keep working to get better every day on the field and eventually I will be there."

Adams finished seventh on the 2013 UConn squad with 42 tackles despite missing four games due to a shoulder injury suffered during preseason camp. Among returning players only fellow secondary stalwarts Byron Jones and Obi Melifonwu had more solo tackles than the 28 Adams recorded, He also had two of the team's 13 interceptions so he is being counted on for big things this season.

"We are going into the second week and everything is starting to get better," Adams said. "I am starting to see improvement. I just have to communicate into the right defense, try to be a leader on the defense, be vocal and safety is one of the cornerstone positions on the defense so I am trying to get everybody set and calm."

Diaco expressed concern about finding players to back up Adams and Melifonwu. Wilbert Lee is the most experienced of the reserve safeties. He had 10 solo tackles a season ago and along with Jordan Floyd, they are the ones who have gotten their feet wet. True freshman Anthony Watkins is listed as a cornerback but in the last practice the media was able to watch, he was working with the safeties but most of the other players I saw out there were walk-ons so that is something to keep in mind if something were to keep Adams or Melifonwu off the field.

"(There's a) collection of guys who are going to be able to do the jobs, it's almost like a Frankenstein. We have pieces, we have some tangibly gifted players who aren't necessarily the best football intelligent players at this point in their career or we have a player who has a high level of football intelligence and not have the tangible traits that the other guy has so it is like Frankenstein and we will sum it all up together and get the production we need."

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