UConn Head Coach Bob Diaco
“I’d like to credit Navy. As I had anticipated, they lived up to being the best team that we have played so far. It was and is the strongest Navy offense that I have had the opportunity to watch at least over the last seven or eight years. They have 19 or 20 seniors in their offensive two-deep. So, they don’t miss a read, they don’t miss a fit or a window. They did that at least for the first half until our guys had a chance to settle in. But credit to Navy, they are a great team and I anticipate them winning a bunch of games here. We wish them the best, they are a class outfit and their coaching staff does a great job.
I would like to thank all of UConn Country and all the fans that came out today. The stadium was filled and filling, loud and energetic. When you pull into the lot at 7:15 a.m. and there is already a collection of people there … it’s just awesome to see.
The players are resolved to turning this thing into a winner. I know it’s tough to hear after a loss, but it’s true. I believe you guys are seeing the DNA and the culture of our team, in alignment with the University and the State. You are seeing tough gentlemen and classy character. You are seeing great effort and contact toughness and passion and energy. You are seeing a group that loves to play football. We have come a long way in that area. The guys stick to it in the face of adversity.
There is some great, great stuff. We just need to execute better to beat a great team.
As coaches, we need to help them do a better job and we will. We are executing better than we ever have but we just need to take that next step.
I’m proud of the way they fought and we can build off of that.”
What Makes Navy So Tough on Third Down
“They are just so hard to get stopped. Third down and four, third down and three, third down and five. Then we had a great chance in the beginning, and jump offside. You’ve got to get them really behind the chains because they are really tough. You focus on the fullback, who has been a victimizing, menacing player. We did a nice job there but the quarterback did a fantastic job making all the right reads in the first half.”
On Arkeel Newsome
“We just had to get him the ball move often. There were too many plays in the past when we would check down to someone else. So we tried to eliminate some of that and get him touches. I thought he had an excellent game.”
Redshirt sophomore Bryant Shirreffs
On about not being able to get into the red zone
“There were a couple of assignments that we needed to clean up. It’s a tough loss but we’re going to get ready for BYU.”
On missed opportunities
“They were self-inflicted, some assignments and our execution.”
On how Tyraiq Beals stepped up
“It’s was definitely a positive on the day. I was proud of him and a number of other guys. I was proud of everybody but it’s just tough to lose.”
Redshirt sophomore Junior Joseph
On dealing with Navy’s offense
“We had to start fast and we didn’t. With that type of offense, you have to settle in fast and if you don’t settle in fast you get in deep behind. When you’re behind dealing with that offense it’s hard to get back. It’s on the defense. Totally on the defense, starting with me. I have to play better.”
On adjustments made in the second half
“This is our team’s defense and we started to figure out what they were doing. That’s pretty much it. It’s was like playing chess with them and we finally figured it out but it was too late.”
Redshirt senior Andrew Adams
On Navy’s offense
“It’s difficult. They’re led by a four year starter in senior quarterback. He runs the offense almost to perfection. We almost have to be at perfection in order to stop them.”
On trying to stop Navy’s offense
“We got them in a lot of third down, third and mediums, third and short situations. At the end of the day, we have to make the stops on third down and get them on fourth down.”
Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo
Opening Statement - “That was a hell of a football game between two tough football teams. Give Coach Diaco credit, he has done a great job with his football team. What we saw on tape wasn’t a fluke. Them going down to Missouri and having a chance to beat them there late in the game was not a fluke. That is a well-coached, physical ball team. I thought offensively in the first half we played really, really well. We got a lead and defense played really well in the second half. And our punter had two big punts for us that really helped us; game changing kind of punts. Tough game, hats off to Coach Diaco and UConn. That’s a really good football team and we are grateful to come out of here with a win today.”
On scoring on the final drive before halftime – “Huge. We knew we were getting the ball to start the second half and going to go back-to-back possessions there. So we wanted to get some points out of it. That is the fruits of having a senior quarterback and skill guys who have been there. Know when to get out of bounds, know when to pick-up first downs. We didn’t panic. I just thought that Keenan (Reynolds) and Coach Jasper there calling plays did a great job. That was a big drive. It was a close game and that definitely kind of helped us going into the half.”
Reflecting on Keenan Reynolds Setting Records – “His career is like our motto, one game at a time. He is the one, the seniors who came up with it – 1-0 is our motto. What he has done is remarkable but he just continues to move to the next game. And that has to be our teams approach. We have only played three games, it’s not like we can pat ourselves on the back. We just have to go back and grind, be humble, know who we are continue to keep fighting.”
Senior Quarterback Keenen Reynolds
On late touchdown before the half – “That was huge for us going into the locker room. Our defensive got a great stop and we had to go down and make something happen. To do that two-minute drill, to just do our stuff, everyone was poised and calm. We practiced it, to be able to run it and get it on film in the game, it was great.”
On third down conversions – “It was huge. If you have a high third down efficiency, you are going to do very well offensively. It means that overall, you are going to be very efficient. To be able to convert on those third and mediums, it’s a big deal. We want to be in third and five, we want to avoid those third and longs. I was really proud of the guys around me, we didn’t flinch. Execution by all 11 guys at once gave us the chance to be successful.”
On playing the top-ranked defense in the AAC – “Anytime you are able to execute, it’s a big deal. Watching them on film you can tell that’s a stout defense, great tacklers. I figured that out the first drive, swarming to the ball. They were able to shut down a high powered Missouri offense, so watching them on film we knew it would be a challenge. We had to claw for every yard, all 11 guys.”
Senior Defensive Lineman Bernard Sarra
On Navy’s defensive depth – “I think you can see how our depth helps in the fourth quarter. Guys aren’t dragging. We are able to get fresh guys in there and rush the passer. We can bring guys in, rotate guys and stay fresh.”