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Diaco Has High Praise For Quarterbacks, Offensive Line

Aug. 17, 2016

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STORRS, Conn. - The UConn football team held two practices on Wednesday in comfortable weather on the Storrs campus. Preseason camp continues for the Huskies as excitement for the upcoming 2016 season grows.

UConn opens the season vs. Maine on Thursday, Sept. 1 and a have total of five games in the month -- with matchups at Navy (Sept. 10), home against Virginia (Sept. 17) and Syracuse (Sept. 24) and a Thursday night road matchup at Houston on Sept. 29.

"There's been really strong leadership from our senior players, in particular, and the senior and junior class as a whole," said UConn head coach Bob Diaco following the Wednesday practice. "They are holding themselves accountable and we're doing a lot less as coaches driving that."

Diaco affirmed that redshirt junior Bryant Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.) was the starting quarterback for the Huskies. Shirreffs started 12 games for UConn last year as the Huskies returned to the bowl game scene with an appearance in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

"I think we have four good quarterbacks. I feel like any of the four could go in and run the offense. It's Bryant as our starter and that's never changed," said Diaco. "He's taken over and moved his game forward. We don't have a quarterback controversy. We're not going into Practice 16 wondering who the quarterback is. It's really a lot of fun that way. It's a great group and they're all getting ready for when their opportunity comes. They'll all have their opportunity."

In addition to Shirreffs, senior Garrett Anderson (Walnut Creek, Calif.), redshirt freshman Brandon Bisack (Fairfield, Conn.) and freshman Donovan Williams (Dumfries, Va.) are all working at the QB spot. As he is pleased with the play of all of his quarterbacks, Diaco is also impressed with the work of the Husky offensive line.

"There aren't a lot of people loose in the backfield," said Diaco. "Getting the play started has been a bit of a problem at times during the first couple of seasons for us. As we're into practice now, we see so much less of that. Now we're just coaching a higher level of how to get to that second level."

The UConn offensive line features three starters back from last year in redshirt junior guard Tommy Hopkins (Hawthorne, N.Y.), redshirt senior guard Richard Levy (Trenton, N.J.) and redshirt senior tackle Andreas Knappe (Silkeborg, Denmark). Redshirt freshman Matt Peart (Bronx, N.Y.), who stands at 6-7, is working at left tackle while redshirt sophomore Ryan Crozier (Plantation, Fla.) is at center after missing last year with an injury.