Friday, January 09, 2015

UConn's Diaco: "We expect a much higher level of everything"

In a perfect world, Bob Diaco's first season at the helm of the UConn program would have included a few more wins while the young players got an introduction to the world of collegiate football.

The first part of his wish list did not come true as the Huskies limped their way to a 2-10 finish with some rather forgettable performances. But Diaco has no regrets is holding true to his plan.

When I spoke to him yesterday, he rattled off the snap counts of players who came into the program either last year or the season before and how their on-field experience a season ago sped up the learning curve.

Here are some of the numbers he threw out there

Jamar Summers (638 snaps), Vontae Diggs (280), Cam Stapleton (200), Cole Ormsby (400), Junior Joseph (516), Foley Fatukasi (195), Alec Bloom (180), Ryan Crozier (250), Ron Johnson (almost 300), Matt Walsh (270), Arkeel Newsome (185), Tommy Myers (302)

Diaco said he is going to hold those players to a higher expectation level since they were able to learn on the job more than many freshmen normally do.

"We did it by design and moving forward we expect a much higher level of everything, mostly culture where they are more ready, the vernacular and language, expectations set," Diaco said. "We don't have to talk about it every day, We are going to lead by example. They are coaching each other on it. Now when a player doesn't know or has forgotten to go down a path, three players grab him before I do and that is where our program is at right now."

For the second year in a row, the senior class will be on the small side. There are just 14 juniors on the final 2014 roster but what the class lacks in quantity it could make up for in quality.

Linebacker Marquise Vann is a returning captain while his classmates Andrew Adams, Kenton Adeyemi, Julian Campenni, Max DeLorenzo, Dalton Gifford, Junior Lee, Sean McQuillan, Dominick Manco, Tyler Samra and Graham Stewart could continue to play significant roles next season.


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