STORRS, Conn. -
The University of Connecticut football team opened spring practice on Wednesday morning at the Mark R. Shenkman Training Center.
UConn will have 15 spring practices, including the playing of the 2016 Blue-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 16 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Admission to the game and parking are free.
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Here are some quotes and videos from Wednesday morning's practice.
Head Coach Bob Diaco
On how the first day of spring practice went: "It's not about day one, because we have a bunch of guys that loving football is in their DNA and if you love what you're doing, you can't help but have energy for it no matter what. If you really love what you do, you're going to get excited to do it. This is clearly going to be the best part of the day and one of the best parts of the week. Unfortunately, it's over and now we have to go back upstairs and get in our offices, but it was awesome and a lot of fun."
On what his message is to the team on day one: "The message is that we have to get better at some particular things. That's all we're trying to do is focus on one day. We have practice one and this is what we need to do. This is the work that we need to get done today and nothing more big-picture than that."
On all the different quarterbacks out on the field: "We said when we first started, when they roll out on the field, we'd like them to wonder if that's the tight ends. You know, who is that? Is that the linebackers? Is that the outside linebackers because they are so big and physical looking. It's fun to look at that group, a big physical group, and we have another guy coming in, who is another big, physical, athletic guy."
On how they are dealing with spring break in their training program: "It's been a grind since the Bowl game. We are cognizant of that too. So we say, and we mean it, no one is off. You know you say we have time off, no one is off, we're just away. So everybody needs time away, we just can't afford to have time off. So not that they're working and practicing and training, but they need to make sure that our culture and mission and actions represent who we are and who we believe ourselves to be."
On what he liked about today: "I really liked the energy and movement of practice. I thought the guys didn't really spend any time looking around and wondering where they were supposed to be. They were able to get a lot of work done in a short period of time, we got a lot of reps in a short period of time."
RS-Junior, Linebacker, Junior Joseph
On how he felt about the first day of practice: "It feels good to get back in the pads. Lifting and everything is cool, but there is no better feeling about this game than getting the pads on and doing football work. It felt good."
On his observation of the team today: "A lot of the young guys need to get brought up to work, but the older guys have experience the past two years with Coach Diaco on his defense. It's more just touching up on the defense and everything, but we're just trying to get the younger guys brought up on defense."
On Coach Diaco's excitement today: "Yeah, coach was very excited and animated, like he usually his. It's coach Diaco so that's just coach. It's coach being excited and that drives us to be excited."
RS-Sophomore, Offensive Line, Ryan Crozier
On what he hopes to accomplish personally this spring: "I hope just to get back and comfortable with all the guys on the line and to just be the best offensive line we can be."
On how tough it was to sit out last season: "I can't even explain it. It was terrible, honestly, but I came out to practice every day like how could I get these guys better. That helped a little bit."
On what areas he thinks they can work to improve on: "Just communication. I think we need to grow tighter together. Guys that hadn't played now have a year under their belt so we're experienced coming back out here. We're all clicking. Today felt great and we're all communicating great. I'm excited, we're going to be the best o-line."
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