KEEPING POSITIVE – Tim Boyle will spend Saturday with the red baseball cap on, signaling plays to Casey Cochran against SMU. It was Boyle that took the starting job from Chandler Whitmer after four straight losses and now it’s Cochran that gets his chance after four more losses that have the Huskies standing at 0-8 heading into the final four games of the season.
“It’s always tough,” Boyle said Tuesday. “I wanted to come in here and play as well as I can and it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t. The coaches did what’s best for the team so I not going to look back on that at all. I think Casey’s is going to do a good job. He prepares really well for games and it’s my job to support him in whatever he does and support him.”
Boyle completed just 43.9 percent of his passes (58 of 132) for 619 yards and eight interceptions and at times looked overmatched against South Florida, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Louisville. According to interim head coach T.J. Weist, several of those interceptions were the result of bad decision-making under serious defensive pressure.
“You can look at what he’s done the last four games,” Weist said. “That first game (South Florida) he threw a lot of good balls. He put us in positions to score, so he probably had his best game in that first game. With probably the least pressure as he’s seen in those four games. But in this last game, some of his simple passes just weren’t on target. Some of the things even without pressure, his accuracy wasn’t that good. A lot of that was his decision-making.”
Decision-making that had to be tough for a true freshman thrown into the Division I football fire.
“There were times I knew that pocket was going to collapse and I think when I felt a little bit of pressure, I let the ball go,” Boyle said. “That’s when my delivery gets a little messed up and I speed the process up, so I have to learn from that, take a deep breath and throw the ball like I normally throw the ball.”
So, for now, it’s Cochran’s turn to get the ball and try to make something happen. And for Boyle, he’ll take his experience and work to build on it.
“I think this situation is opening my eyes to that everything’s not perfect, I’m not going to walk in here and start,” he said. “I‘m going to have to work really, really hard. Casey’s a tremendous quarterback, Chandler is a tremendous quarterback and so is Kivon (Taylor). So this is just going to help me be motivated and learn the “hots” and get bigger in the weight room and be more football smart so when I come back I’ll be ready.”
INJURY UPDATE – There was no news on guard Gus Cruz, who is undergoing treatment for a possible cardiac issue. Safety Ty-Meer Brown, who took a blow to the helmet in practice last week and did not play against Louisville, is doubtful to play on Saturday at SMU.
“Ty-Meer’s still out as of now. We’re still evaluating him,” Weist said. “Obviously he didn’t dress for the game. He had a neck injury, really a pretty serious stinger in practice and we’re still evaluating letting the swelling go down. He had too much pain really to do anything in the game and too much stiffness yesterday (Sunday) so we’re still waiting for more results and seeing how he is. He’s week-to-week right now.”
Some decent news on the injury front is slot back Deshon Foxx, who also took a shot to the head against the Cardinals in the first quarter and did not play the rest of the game, has practiced and seems to be 100 percent.
“Deshon Foxx practiced,” Weist said. “He had a stinger in the (Louisville) game and it really didn’t go away … but after the game he was fine. He’s fine, he practiced yesterday so he’s good to go.”
BIG TIMER – SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert is the NCAA leader in total offense at 409.4 yards a game. He’s thrown for 2,634 yards and 15 touchdowns and last week against Cincinnati, completed 38-of-47 passes for 403 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another TD in a 28-25 loss to Cincinnati.
It’s going to be up to the UConn defense to try and stop him.
“He’s very efficient,” Weist said. “Obviously, Garrett Gilbert’s number one in our conference in terms of total offense and passing and he’s … its impressive that he gets the ball to his weapons, obviously three of the best receivers in the league and two of the best receivers in the country. He really spreads that ball around, he’s very efficient. He’s got a strong arm and he’s physical, probably one of the biggest quarterbacks in our league. We’ve got to be disruptive on defense and really just hit him.”
Last week, the UConn defense worked hard to get pressure on Cardinals QB Teddy Bridgewater and the plan is to do the same thing this week against Gilbert.
“We had a strong game plan against Louisville and we’ve been focusing on doing the right things on every play, so if we can keep that same focus this week, we’ll be successful,” safety Andrew Adams said. “We wanted to try and get pressure on Teddy because if he’s sitting back there comfortable, it would have been a long game for us. We wanted to get pressure, make him throw his check downs, make him throw those little five-yard outs.”