Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bye week came at ideal time for UConn

What a difference a year can make.

Last year I can remember asking Bob Diaco and some of the players about the wacky October schedule when a couple of bye weeks resulted in the Huskies only playing two games in the month.

Fast forward to 2015 and UConn played five games in October and the first bye week of the season is this week.

It is clear that Diaco is planning to get some work done but more than anything, he wants to use this week to allow his players some extra time to heal up after playing 10 consecutive weeks.

"Bye weeks are important whatever time they come," senior defensive end Kenton Adeyemi said. "It is important how you handle them and manage yourself going forward. We have been going for 10/11 weeks straight. Basically, we are focusing on trying to get better as a team, working on the little things, correct whatever we can so we are ready fro Houston next week."

UConn doesn't have a ton of missing players due to injury although both running back Ron Johnson and receiver Brian Lemelle were in uniform at yesterday's practice which is not something I could say was the case a week earlier.
"We have been going since the first day of camp and 10 weeks straight in the season, we are a little sore and banged up so it really helps get our minds right, our bodies right and come Sunday we are going to full go getting ready for Houston," senior running back Max DeLorenzo said.

One of the things I noticed when watching last week's Tulane game is that the Huskies came out with tight ends Alec Bloom and Tommy Myers, DeLorenzo at fullback, Arkeel Newsome at tailback and Noel Thomas as the lone receiver. There wasn't much mystery concerning UConn's intentions on offense.

"He (UConn offensive coordinator Frank Verducci) said we were going to do that," DeLorenzo said. "He felt like we were bigger and more physical than them. We did that against ECU as well, if we can establish our will and keep moving the chains we are going to do that. That is in our DNA, we like to be a downhill run team and shot passes and that set the tempo for us.

"We knew our defense wasn't going to give up anything which they didn't, they were spectacular as always and in that environment, weather, points are very hard to come by especially with a field-goal block and nobody got in the end zone except our defense. We were protecting the ball, moving the chains, grinding the clock down and finding a way to win."

The numbers might not jump out at anybody but after not having a drive longer than 26 yards in the first half, the second drive of the third quarter the Huskies drove 64 yards on 10 plays with some hard runs by Newsome and quarterback Bryant Shirreffs with a few passes to Newsome or the tight ends mixed in. UConn set up a pass from Shirreffs to Bloom on 3rd and 1 at the Tulane 16 that likely would have resulted in a touchdown if Bloom could have made the catch. On the next play Bobby Puyol's field goal was blocked. There were some costly penalties or negative yardage plays which blew up the remaining drives but there was running room for the Huskies. While there is plenty of work to be done in this department, the fact that UConn was willing to put it out there that they planned on relying on some old fashioned smash mouth football could be a sign of things to come.


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