STORRS, Conn. -
The UConn football team held its annual Dog House Party on Wednesday night, which has become a tradition since Bob Diaco became the head coach.
The Dog House Party is a practice that all UConn students are invited to come to and following the UConn team has a pizza party with their fellow Husky students. In addition to the pizza party, there were door prizes for the student and a "Dress Like A Husky" Selfie Station.
"It was so great," said Diaco. "I don't know what the total was, but there were so many students here. It's just fantastic. The campus is on fire right now with the women's basketball team winning the national championship. You could feel the energy in the building tonight.
"The numbers for this event just keep doubling and doubling. The players love it. They feel special. They love engaging with the students. It's just great. It's the best."
"It's so enjoyable to have students come out," said UConn redshirt junior quarterback Bryant Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.). "It's a different atmosphere for us. It's great to see support and people that are enjoying watching us practice. The format is a little different for us. So everything in the practice, not that it isn't always enjoyable, but the coaches really map the practice out to create excitement and you can definitely see that with fans cheering and players bringing different emotions. It's a really fun time."
UConn continues its spring practice and concludes on Saturday, April 16 with the playing of the Blue vs. White Spring Game at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. with parking and admission free.
For more information on the spring game, please CLICK HERE.
Season tickets for the attractive UConn home schedule in 2016 are now on sale. To purchase yours, CLICK HERE.
The following are quotes from Wednesday night's practice.
Head Coach Bob Diaco
On the tempo of spring practices: "The guys come here ready to work. They're bigger, faster and stronger. They have a deeper aptitude and understanding of our systems in all three phases. So when you clearly know what to do, you're going to cut it loose at a higher level. They have a great anticipation of what we're going to do and how we are going to do our business. Everybody's moving fast, coaches and players."
On Garrett Anderson: "He's really throwing the ball hard. He's leaned out. He's maturing. He's having a great spring. The ball jumps out of his hands athletic and fast. He's really doing a nice job."
On the biggest improvement in Ryan Crozier: "He's healthy. He's football intelligent. He has a deeper understanding of the offense and can make the calls. He's kind of a gel in there and a comfort for everyone else around him."
RS-Jr., quarterback, Bryant Shirreffs
On how spring practice has been going for him: "It's been a unique spring, because the first practice of spring was really my first day of doing anything full-speed since the Marshall game. It was unique in that aspect that it had been two and a half or almost three months since I had really done anything full-speed. It's been good, because that gave me a chance to prepare myself mentally for football. It's been a lot of fun seeing everyone progress. I've really enjoyed it, especially having a year under my belt of game experience. Everything seems a little bit slower, so I can really focus on things I've never thought about before."
On what his focus has been this spring: "We have points of emphasis that they point out for us, and my biggest thing is improving on my accuracy. That's a pretty broad statement. There's so many different components that go into that. I'm trying to hone in on all those little details to improve the overall statement of improved accuracy. It's exciting and I'm excited for the season."
Senior, quarterback, Garrett Anderson
On what he has specifically worked on since the end of the season in terms of releasing the ball: "Really nothing specific. I just went back with my coach over break, the short winter break we had. Good thing we had a bowl game so it was a short winter break. We got to work during that time and get the release right. As the season goes on, sometimes the fundamentals break down a little bit. So it's nice to get back in there, work on the fundamentals, work on breaking everything down in the throw and getting ready to go."
On what he did to get in the great shape he's in now: "After I went to the `F' position, I had to gain weight and then lose it drastically when I was told I was going to playing quarterback again the last week of the season in the bowl game. That was definitely a change. You don't eat as much when you have to cut the weight. I feel great. When I was playing `F', I was up to 235 pounds and now I'm about 220-225. I feel great."
On the wide receivers he is working with: "It's exciting. Those guys have improved as much as anybody. It's good to see all their work really paid off. They're in here on the weekends and I'll come down and throw with them. After workouts, we just had a big workout Friday, they'll come in and we'll throw and throw routes and get ready to go. This is even before spring ball, we were doing hard winter workouts, guys are sore and they still want to work. That's really what it comes down to. That is really what pushed them to what they are now. It's going to be exciting, there's only improvement from here."