Head Coach Bob Diaco
I’m sad for our seniors. They made an investment and worked hard to not have to be home for Christmas. Based on our record right now, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Everybody is disappointed and I take full accountability; I’m responsible for all of it. What I had meshed together, considering the challenges of the season, proved to be a strain that was too great. When you leave the ball one yard short at Navy and a yard short against Syracuse, from that moment on we have been in this perpetual state of reeling and anxiousness and trying to find a way here or a way there. Overall it’s just not appropriate. These are good guys and our culture is strong. They love each other and they work. They show up positive. That feeling of ‘here we go again’ can creep in and create some deceleration. That deceleration pushes into points produced or here or there.
I can see the problems and they are fixable, absolutely. The answers are there but the team needs a break. They are in central nervous system shock based on camp, these 10 weeks and then the record that is so far beneath our expectations. It makes the hurt 100-fold. So they need the weekend and this bye week. We will work during the bye week and everybody is resolute. Even now, talking to everybody, they know we still have exciting match ups to finish the season and a lot to play for. We have a game on the road against an ACC opponent against a team that’s very important to the people of the state, the team and the University. It’s a big game and an exciting game at Boston College.
Then we are home for senior day and we want to send off these seniors the right way. So there is a lot to work towards. The team tried hard today. We fought hard and continued to strain and there is so much to clean up.
UConn Nation, I am there with you; we are in lock step. I don’t see it any differently than you see it; we are on the same page.
UCONN PLAYER QUOTES
Quarterback Donovan Williams
(On playing his first game): “It definitely killed the nerves. Now, I know what to look forward to, especially the speed of the game. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m taking it one step at a time.”
“Me as a new quarterback and Coach Corley as a new offensive coordinator, we still have a lot to learn. But he and I are going to grow stronger over the years and the offense is going to get a lot better. I’m excited for the last three games, just to finish up the season strong and learn as much as I can.”
(On his 43-yard run): “It was just instincts to go. I saw an opening and just took off. It was pretty exciting.”
Punter Justin Wain
(On his 42.4 yard average on 8 punts tonight): “It was a busy night, for sure, but I enjoy punting, so it was fine. The only thing is, when I punt less, I know we’re moving the ball. They came close a few times (to blocking it), but coming in, I knew they were known for that, so I was ready. The line did a great job, so it worked out well.”
Safety Obi Melifonwu
(On his 2 end zone interceptions); “The first one was a spin-off, and they usually throw the ball to the flat or to the corner. I just read it right. The second one, I lost my eyes a little bit on the tight end and I ended up scrambling back and I ended up on the line of where he threw it and I picked it.”
(On the season): “Coming into the season, of course everybody thought we’d go undefeated. Everybody was rallying around it. Obviously, we didn’t get the results that we wanted, and we’re in the situation we’re in. But as a team we just have to keep fighting and keep battling.”
Head Coach Matt Rhule
Obviously it was great for us to come in on the road and get a great start from our offense. Defensively, one of the better performances from those guys, getting first FBS shutout since 2011 and we did it banged up. I just talked to the guys in there, so many guys did so much, I don’t want to single to many people out. But Sequan Jefferson jumped in there, Derrick Thomas got hurt, and Sequan did a great job on special teams covering a kickoff last week. But he went out there and played corner for us and competed and really did some great things for us. Nate Harris went out there and played a fantastic football game. Big plays down the field and a couple big plays in the backfield on the bubble screens and I thought it was a total team effort.
Credit to them, they hurt us a couple times with the quarterback scrambling down the field but Phil was able to make a couple adjustments, play a couple different coverage’s so guys were flying towards the quarterback.
Offensively, anytime you can rush for 200 yards and pass for 200 yards you are going to be excited. There were a couple plays in the red zone that we wish we could get points, so the score, we wish it could have been a little bit more but it’s our 10th week and we have to win and we are going to take a bye week, going to go home and I’m proud of this team. They’ve fought and clawed and we are excited to get a little bit of a break and get healthy.
Quarterback Phillip Walker
On Toughness of the team
I’m really proud of the guys, we have gone out there and competed and even though we are a little bit beat up we haven’t made any excuses. Still out there in pads during practice week, getting after it and was able to play pretty well on a short week.
On the bye week
Couldn’t come at a better time, we are beat up and need to get the rest. And to be able to carry momentum, playing well over this latest stretch, it will feel even better to rest up.