Saturday, August 02, 2014

Pretty productive first day for UConn

There were some images from the first day of spring practice that irked the newly-hired Bob Diaco.

It wasn't even players struggling to line up properly but the negative body language that riled the fiery Diaco up. Fast forward to the opening practice in preseason camp and Diaco saw none of those disturbing sights and that alone would have to make the first practice a successful one.

"Every way, they came to work excited because they were excited and they absolutely a baseline expectation and work is not going to be able to begin any other way," Diaco said. "They got a better handle on practice in terms of tempo, when they are going full speed and what that will look like, when they are in a movement teach phase and what that should look like and when they are in a walk and talk teach period and what that should look like. A lot of times you will go through a full-speed drill and guys are flopping on the ground and guys are flying around all over, they are banging into each other, knocking each other down, grabbing each other, that is not how professionals do their work. On the other side you want to walk, talk and teach installation part and guys are kicking the ground, not focused and looking off into the distance, that wasn't present today like it was on day one of spring. Things looked crisper, guys are moving faster because they are faster and they can do that longer."

Every player was able to take part in drills today which is a rarity. Diaco credited the strength and conditioning and medical staffs for improving the physical condition of the UConn players and emphasis on proper nutrition as major reasons for 100 percent participation. He may be right as it was able to see the difference in many of the players' physical appearance. This is, however, a certain amount of luck in not having a player roll an ankle doing a conditioning drill or tweak something in a shoulder while lifting. Diaco admitted to feeling a sense of pride in the fact that he never missed a practice in his five years as a player and he is hoping many of his players will be able to say the same thing.

The next step for Diaco and his staff is seeing his team in pads and that is still a few days away but all things considered, it seemed like a positive day all around for Diaco, his coaches and players.

Trevardo Williams, the career sacks leader at UConn, was not unemployed for long.

Yesterday Williams was cut loose by the Houston Texans one day after passing his physical and coming off the physically unable to perform list. Today the Arizona Cardinals swooped in and claimed the 2013 fourth-round pick off waivers.


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