Aug. 30, 2012
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Connecticut Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni
“Like the tempo that we started with tonight, thought the kids were really well focused, you know as this game started. We deferred, we wanted to defer, in an effort to get our kicker out there. Chad, I thought had a very good night tonight, kicking off, I thought you don’t take those field goals for granted. This is his first live action. And I thought Chad did a very good job getting the points that we were able to get kicking field goals and I thought his kick offs were good and I liked our effort on special teams, I thought we had field position all night it started, the game started off that way, the offense had really good field position on the first possession, went down the field, so the game started. A little bit disappointed that we had the ball the start the second half, got the ball and turned it over. Three turnovers is not acceptable, So we’ve got to go back on that. I thought from a third down standpoint we were ok but we missed in the first half some critical third downs. I thought that we threw the deeper ball a little bit better than we threw the shorter pass tonight. We missed two or three third downs in the first half that were really convertible, and didn’t throw the ball far enough out of bounds on that tipped ball for the interception, so we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit there. But I thought defensively we really played well and from a special teams standpoint I thought we played very very well, we just overall, considering this is the first game of the season, we’ve got things to work on. As a coach your kind of happy that you got a lot of guys in the game, played some true freshmen tonight, we played a lot of people tonight, Blaise Driscoll got to take the knee, on the last play of the game which was great. So you got the win, played a lot of people but now we’ve got some things to work on, so we go back and work, the kids are off tomorrow, when we go back to work we got a very outstanding opponent in NC State, coming in here next week, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Paul talk a little bit about Nick Williams, I mean he can do everything, running, receiving, returning…
“[Nick is an] exciting, dynamic return guy. I love that wildcat sweep we run with him, because he’s running full speed when we hand it to him, and has a chance to circle the field and make some yards. And he’s pretty nifty with the underneath stuff, I thought he caught a pretty good pivot route a couple of times, pretty good pivots tonight, and came out of them running, especially early in the game I thought Chandler did a good job from a short pass getting the return route to him back out and there was that was one good throw he made underneath. So we are very fortunate to have him, he’s a lot of fun. He’s a leader he’s the captain of the team, he’s all business.”
Connecticut Wide Receiver Nick Williams
How does it feel to be more than a return specialist this season?
“It’s very exciting. It is what I have had in mind since coming to UConn so it is very nice to see it come full circle. I am happy with what happened tonight.”
Is it fun doing a little bit of everything for the team?
“Yes, any way I can contribute makes me happy. I’m all for it, whether it’s a rush, a return or a catch.”
Can you explain the inside handoff?
“It’s in addition to the wildcat. It’s a nice compliment to our offense.”
How important is it as a leader to come out and have the performance you did tonight? “I think it is very important. I think there are multiple facets to being a leader whether it is on or off the field. However, I do think it is important to perform well off the field because it sets the tone for the young guys and the rest of the team.”
Connecticut Quarterback Chandler Whitmer
What did you think of your performance tonight?
“I think it was alright. There are some throws I want back. I’ll go watch the film and learn from it.”
On the ability to keep the play alive with the movement of footwork:
“It’s something I’d like to bring to the table if called upon but I don’t want to do too much. If there is an opening rather than taking a sack I’d like to do that.”
Is it difficult to keep a rhythm with the wildcat?
“No, it’s not. We’ve been practicing it all camp and that is what we do with this offense. I think we do a good job with it and it keeps the defense off-guard.”
Connecticut Linebacker Yawin Smallwood
On intensity at the start of the game:
“I’ve been ready since summer. We’ve gone through a long training camp and it feels great to against players we don’t know. Last year the experience we had was not one we liked so we wanted to get off to a quick start.”
On importance of win once competition gets stronger:
“It’s going to be very important. Our offense and defense got a lot of confidence from tonight’s win. We are ready for NC State. It’s going to be a great challenge.”
UMass Head Coach Charley Molnar
On the offensive struggles today:
“There were a number of issues. It’s hard to point a finger. We didn’t run the ball very well, we didn’t throw the ball very well, we didn’t pass protect very well. I can’t really say there’s one area that’s a greater concern than the other. I also know this; I know that we’ve gotten better. I know where we are going. I’m disappointed in tonight. I’m shocked we didn’t score. I’m shocked we didn’t score quite a few times. I came into the game thinking that we made progress and that would start to show tonight and for some reason it didn’t.”
Do you think you needed to see what another team did against you to expose some of the things you need to work on?:
“No matter how hyped and how prepped the guys are, the first time they ever get into a game, you don’t know what to expect. You’d like to think that the pressure situations in practice would translate into success on the field – it doesn’t always happen that way. We had a number of guys out there who just didn’t translate what they did on the practice field into the game tonight. Will it be better next week? It damn well better be.
You seemed to be under pressure at quarterback all night:
“Some of it was definitely from UConn winning the matchup against our O-Line but a lot of the pressure was self-inflicted wounds from Mike (Wegzyn). He didn’t pull the trigger fast enough. He had guys open and just got stuck on the peg a few times.”
UMass Defensive Back Darren Thellen
Can you talk about that athletic play you made for the interception?:
“That was just, I’d say it was luck. I was in cover-2 coverage, the quarterback threw it out of bounds, I wanted to get the pick but I knew I couldn’t make it so I just jumped up I saw one of my teammates close so I just threw it to him. Fortunately he caught it and made a play.”
UMass Quarterback Mike Wezgyn
You expected to be under a lot of heat, is that what you expected from UConn?
“Definitely as much heat as I expected. Definitely played a good team in UConn. Didn’t go the way we planned, obviously. We have a lot of things to correct. Hopefully, we go back tomorrow and watch the film and correct what we need to do and do better next week.”
How do you use a game like tonight to improve yourself?
“I have to go back and look over the game and swallow your pride and learn what you did wrong to correct it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. This is more of a building type of game. When you have games like this, this isn’t what we planned. This isn’t what we wanted. You have to make a positive of it and build on this game.”