Wednesday, March 04, 2015

UConn's Diaco: "There is nothing that is the same"

A year ago Bob Diaco headed into spring practice still trying to clean up so many things about the program he was hired to breath life into. It is a process that resulted in some key players sent packing and ultimately led to a revamping of his offensive coaching staff.

As UConn kicks off its 2015 spring practice on Saturday, Diaco said "there is nothing that is the same. Every single person has improved."

Much of the change had to do with the strides the players have made in transforming their bodies. Diaco went through a breakdown of players who either dropped or added weight (with it mostly being the latter) while dropping their body fat percentage.
It started when he discussed the offensive line.

Ryan Crozier went from 282 to 298 pounds while dropping from 28 to 26 percent of body fat
Steve Hashemi added 12 pounds while dropping his body fat
Andreas Knappe dropped a staggering 7 percent of his body fat while going from 301 to 311
Fellow returning starting offensive tackle Richard Levy dropped 16 pounds and has "more functional weight" according to Diaco.
Daniel Oak who Diaco said "is going to have to be a player for us" added 12 pounds while dropping three percent of body fat
Trey Rutherford went from 289 to 296 and a 1 percent drop in body fat
Thomas Hopkins dropped 2 percent of his body fat

As for other position
WR Dhameer Bradley and LB/DE Luke Carrezola added seven pounds each, LB Vontae Diggs is up 10 pounds, RB Max DeLorenzo added 12 pounds and Diaco said "he is faster than we was."
RB Ron Johnson went from 217 to 224 which Diaco termed "pretty significant."
DL Sheriden Lawley went from 238 to 268 and maintained same body fat according to Diaco
DE Kenton Adeyemi added 23 pounds to 287 and dropped body fat one full point, 23 pounds
TE Sean McQuillan is now 253 pounds, DE/LB Cam Stapleton added 24 pounds while dropping his body fat two percent. while fellow TE Alec Bloom dropped his body fat by 2 percent while adding 16 pounds.

"There's a lot of success stories, holistic approach, a lifestyle," Diaco said. "It is not just going into weight room and training hard which they do. It is nutrition, food quality, schedule, lifestyle ..."

UConn also had 36 players honored for attaining at least a 3.0 GPA in the two most recent semesters including punter Justin Wain, defensive end Sean Marinan and quarterback Will Rishell recognized for 4.0 GPAs.

"It's all correlated, there are a few guys but most of the teams that are great, the best players on the team most of them are good students and some. Very few great team produce players who are poor students. There is a direct correlation between aptitude and achievement in class and performance on field as critic components as evaluating (players). "If you are players who can't get it done in the class you are going to be the same guy leaving us holding the bag on game day or on third down."
As for some other issues, Diaco said that freshman Tyler Davis will not be restricted, there is no plan to cutting back of the expectations of Davis because the Huskies only have three scholarship quarterbacks. He said although Tim Boyle has seen live game action in the last two seasons, Boyle, Bryant Shirreffs and Davis will be working from a clean slate. Diaco would love for there to be a pecking order at some point during spring practice. Shirreffs did see plenty of time running the scout or look team in practice but Diaco said that is not even like comparing apples to oranges but more like comparing apples to broccoli. What he said about the two most experienced quarterbacks on the roster is hardly a surprise as Boyle has a better arm and Shirreffs has more foot speed.

As for center, Oak and Kyle Bockleoh figure to battle it out for the position but starting guards Tyler Samra and Crozier as well as Zach Rugg could get a look at center."

He also referred to move of Matt Walsh from fullback to linebacker as an "experiment." He feels like Walsh has some abilities to help fill a void at inside linebacker but they will make a decision based on whether Walsh can most help the team on offense or defense.

Diaco said that he expects every player to be able to take part in the first spring practice although some players may be more limited than others.

Diaco also said it is a "definite possibility" that UConn could add another player before the start of preseason practice in August and he is "working that process."

He also said new offensive coordinator Frank Verducci has "full clearance to install his offense."


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