Monday, August 11, 2014

UConn's offense finishes scrimmage in style

The two sides had squared off for a couple of hours on their home field and it was a veritable dead heat. There was one play left in the intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday at Rentschler Field and the stage was set. If the offense managed to get the first down they would be the winners of the scrimmage but the defense would emerge victorious with a stop.

When the dust cleared it was the offense which jubilantly walked off the field with the hard-earned victory.

"We had a critical situation where they had a prescribed amount of plays that they were going to get, no more and if the offense got a first down, they won; if the defense got the stop they won, The offense, the offensive line reset the line of scrimmage and we were able to move the ball and win the game. There is nothing like that moment, nothing better than the game ending with your unit on the field and your unit secures the win."

Even a couple days later the moment has not lost its luster with UConn's offensive players and coaches.

"It is great, get a first down, the game is over," junior running back Max DeLorenzo said. "We were pumped. We know the defense has done their thing but we know we have to put points on the board, keep moving them off the field and control the game. It is not how you start but it is how you finish and we finished really strong."

While the media was not invited to the scrimmage, it sounds as if the scrimmage came down to good old fashioned smash mouth football. A year ago UConn usually spread the field with three receiver sets and sometimes would even go with four receivers at a time. It seems pretty clear that the Huskies want to get back to winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. There is likely to be more two tight end formations this season and while potential go-to backs Josh Marriner and Arkeel Newsome aren't the biggest guys around, they have both drawn rave reviews from Diaco for their tremendous strength.

"There is nothing bad to say," junior tight end Sean McQuillan said. "Coach (Mike) Cummings (UConn's offensive coordinator and tight end coach), he drills that down every day and make sure everything is spot on. As camp progresses it is going to get better and better. It is going to become second nature to us and hopefully we can get to running the ball like we did in the past."

As for the scrimmage, Diaco just felt like the time was right.

"They were a little lethargic, a little dead legged but it didn't really show (in the scrimmage)," Diaco said. "You saw intensity, you saw a lot of action, you saw guys getting after it,they were taking care of each other, encouraging each other, communication was high. We selected the day for a few reasons, the energy at the facility itself. We didn't tell them (in advance), we surprised them with it to create a little bit of anxiousness or overblown emotion.


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