Notes from Tuesday’s presser with T.J. Weist

HE’S BAAACCCKKK – In his five seasons as coach with the offensive line for head coach Randy Edsall, Mike Foley put up some very impressive numbers.
In those combined five seasons, UConn averaged 181.2 yards a game (11,596 yards in 64 games) as the Huskies posted four winning seasons and appeared in four straight bowl games. Best was a 216.4-yard per game average in 2008 when the team rushed for 2,813 yards.
However, when Paul Pasqualoni took over as head coach in 2011 and brought George DeLeone with him to be offensive line coach, Foley moved to tight ends.
The rushing results were near disastrous.
Over the next 28 games – leading up the Pasqualoni and DeLeone’s firing last week – the rushing average fell to just 95 yards a game and this season is just a dismal 45.8 yards.
So, one the of the first things interim head coach T.J. Weist did was restore Foley to his old offensive line coaching position, much to the delight of the linemen, who initially learned their skills from Foley.
“I love coach Foley. I loved him when we had him, missed him when he wasn’t there. Now that he’s been back, it’s been great,” redshirt senior guard Steve Greene said. “He brings a different type of mentality to the line, more physical kind of thing and honestly, the last three days you can see improvement in the way that we’re playing.
“He’s simplifying things a little bit, taking away some of the thinking, allowing us to not have to consider everything and to be able to line up and go play football.”
And as much as the players are glad to have Foley back, Foley is equally as glad to be coaching the offensive line again.
“He loves it. He loves coaching the offensive line,” Weist said. “It’s tough when you move from a position that you coached most of your career … I understand how it was when Mike moved away from offensive line. He’s so happy to be back coaching the line. He loves it, he lives it. He’s done a great job with it.
“Any coach has to infuse his temperament, infuse his language, infuse his every day teaching process to his players, so luckily we had an off-week where we could all adjust and he could put his system in with the offensive line. It was similar to what we were doing before but he just put his own personal style back in.”
THE MUSIC MAN – Last week, when the Huskies were in the process of transitioning to the new style of interim head coach T.J. Weist, the coach did his best to make that transition as smooth, and as fun, as possible. Weist did so by adding rock music to the team’s pre-practice stretching routine.
“That was a cool touch for us,” cornerback Byron Jones said about the music. “We had a wide variety of music playing out there. There’s diverse people on the team so there was something for everyone. Some of it was like, ‘What the heck?’ but it was all right. It was nice to have music out there.”
Added receiver Kamal Abrams: “That (the music) was really fun. That was great for the team because we weren’t used to that. When we came out that first day and we heard music, guys were like, ‘Is that coming from the field?’ We thought it was coming from a car (in the parking lot) and we heard it coming from the field, guys were amped and ready to go. He had a good variety. There was some that I liked and some that I didn’t like. Got to keep it fresh.”
UPDATES GALORE – On freshman quarterback Tim Boyle, who’s making his first college start on Saturday against South Florida: “Tim’s ready,” Weist said. “He’s shown the maturity that we saw in him coming out of high school and seen since he’s stepped onto the field here. He knows he’s got to get better over the next four days and he’s getting more mature every day. He’s shown good pocket presence and good intelligence for the game plan.”
On adding coaches to the staff: “Right now, we haven’t added anyone to our staff, “Weist said. “We’re still evaluating that situation, taking our time with it to make sure that if we do make a change, it’s the right change from an addition standpoint. I don’t want to bring in anyone that doesn’t fit with me or fit with our staff. I don’t want to take anyone from another staff. That limits our (selection) pool but at the same time, we’ve got good coaches on our staff, I’ve got some good young coaches that have taken over this week, and they’ve done a good job.”
On RB Joe Williams, who was suspended before the season for stealing a credit card: “There’s no update,” said Weist. “We’re just letting the legal process take its course. Right now, we’re not going to make any decisions.”
On receiver Shakim Phillips, who has not practiced this week and is not listed on the two-deep depth chart for South Florida. “I would say Shak’s questionable.” T.J. Weist said. “Always with a hamstring, you don’t know. He’s done some running but hasn’t really run routes.”
On receiver Kamal Abrams, who had knee surgery the day after the Towson game: “Kamal’s done a good job. He’s been practicing. He’s doing good. He’s getting back to the form where he was the fourth receiver for us, going into the first game. He’ll be a key factor for us this week.”