UConn interim head football coach T.J. Weist held a Friday morning conference call and discussed what’s been happening with the Huskies this week .., here’s some comments.
(How’s Tim Boyle done this week?)
“He’s done a good job. He’s shown good maturity in handling the offense. He’s done a good job with the schemes and throwing the ball and handling everything with the run game and all the calls that we have. Every day he gets better. Every day he’s going to have to improve. We have to find out how much pressure he can handle, how he can lead this team and drive it down the field and keep drives alive and make smart decisions. So that’s what we’re looking for out of him. Smart decisions. Efficiency. Play with maturity, handle the offense and he’s on his way to doing those things.
(You learned a lot from Alabama coach Homer Smith …)
“Coach Smith was so visceral. He was so … the academic prowess, the thought process with him was so deep. His offenses were so tied into the quarterback’s mentality, the quarterback’s deep thinking … that players had to elevate themselves mentally for coach Smith. It wasn’t that coach Smith would come in and take that football intelligence of that offense and lower it to their level, he made every player rise to a higher level of intelligence, especially the quarterback. He didn’t have to have a strong quarterback, or a tall quarterback or a strong arm. Homer knew that playing quarterback was about the mind. About the decision you make on very snap and he was always about attention to detail, every little thing you did as a quarterback. So that’s what I’ll stress to Tim, is attention to detail every single day, film study, knowing you opponent and knowing your opponent’s weaknesses, knowing you opponent’s strengths and how they fit together and how to expose their weaknesses and take advantage of them. That’s what I got from Homer and that’s what I’ll stress to him.
(Any other changes besides quarterback?)
“We’d obviously like to get Kevin Friend back at right tackle. Dalton Gifford has done a pretty good job. Jazzmar Clax has done a good job of coming back from injury, he should be ready for us to play this week, he’s done a good job at the fullback and tail back for us. He’s had some strong practices. He may see some playing time. Max DeLorenzo and Martin Hyppolite have done a good job as back-up tailbacks in different situations so we feel good about those two guys at any point in time. We trust them with the football and in protection. We’d like to get Kamal Abrams back, he’s coming off an injury. He’s practiced this week and done a good job. Brian Lemelle, as a true freshman, has made some good plays for us in practice and I’d like to see him get some more playing time and make some plays on offense. I’ve got to get him in the game more as a slot receiver. Dhameer Bradley came in and did some good things as a wide receiver so I think we’ll see more of him as a wide receiver. I’m more focused on the offense but as a head coach I’m starting to focus on the defense. I’m not as tied on it because I didn’t watch much defense those first four games, I was tied into the offense. These last few days as the head coach, my role is been focusing on the whole team and know my personnel better.
(Changes to the offensive line?)
“No … I think Jimmy (Bennett) done a good job at left tackle, he’s got to more consistent, Steven Greene has been one of our more consistent players for us. Alex Mateas has done a good job, Gus Cruz at right guard is going to start. But we’re going to have to figure out behind them who’s going to be the next guy, whether its Tyler Samra at guard or inside. Without Bullock, that puts us in a tough position, depth-wise. Kyle Schafenacker, he’s got to step up and possibly fill in that role. I think that whole offensive line, if we can get Kevin back, they all play better with Kevin.”
(How was practice this week?)
“Practice was somewhat the same. Like we said, we added some music and we changed the schedule a little bit, just a little different format but not much. I was pleased before with what we were doing I think that we knew we were going to give our guys a break these next four days so we got after it. I think it was more about the spirit of the practices, more about the energy and the focus. Are you going to se a lot of changes? No. But we understand that you don’t go 0-4 and don’t make some of the mistakes that we made and not change. We’re not going to wholesale change everything but you’ll see some changes. What I want to see is changes in execution. I want to see changes in energy and effort. Play-making.
“Every day is a special day for us. We’ve talked to our players about the opportunity we have here, obviously starting over in the conference but really in our minds, starting over the season. It’s been a great four days. Obviously, it’s been hard, taking over in this situation but it’s been exciting. I think our players have responded well.”