EAST HARTFORD, Conn - The University of Connecticut football team held a scrimmage at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on Thursday morning following the taking of the annual team photo.
Here are quotes following the scrimmage plus a photo gallery and a Twitter wrapup of the day.
Head Coach Bob Diaco
On improvements that he's seen: "Improvements in every area. They were improving coming out here the last time. It's always harder for one side of the ball when you get your first honked up scrimmage. It's hard. There's a lot of moving parts on that side of the ball, and it takes time. It never looks as good as the defense initially, but they're getting better and better. The whole team is getting better and better."
On if he is ready to officially name his starting quarterback: "I am, but I'm not going to, because we're in camp and I'm going to wait for game week. I know it seems like it's game week, but have a two-a-day tomorrow and one-a-day Saturday, and then we break camp."
On if ball security means job security: "Oh definitely. They've done a nice job. The ball carriers have been much better, and obviously the proof will be in the pudding on game day, but even leading up to this point there's a lot less ball security errors in the preparation."
On differences in Noel Thomas at this time between last year and this year: "Noel has always been a talented player. He's a very talented player. That has always been the case. Now though, he has a professionalism to his approach that is as good as anybody I've ever been around. A light came on, he flipped the switch, he's working towards manhood and doing it the right way, being a man of toughness but also a gentleman and character. When your better players or your best players are your hardest workers, you've got a chance."
On Tim (Boyle) throwing the ball better today: "That is always the case. I don't think accuracy is going to be an issue. It hasn't been. I think it's when the decision making process when you're under duress, and he's starting to clean that up. He's always been an accurate passer when it's all good. It's when you're under duress what you do with the football and how you protect it and where your head goes. He's really growing up and maturing."
On if the development of those receivers makes him think about what to do with the other group: "I don't think so. I think that what we have right now with our football family is an understanding that at the X position for example, they want to have the very best X player they can have, and at the Y position they want to have the very best Y position they can have. So these groups are collectively trying to put their position together to produce, and I think that's what they are trying to get done. I don't see it being a management issue, because they are all invested in that position producing."
On Arkeel Newsome getting the ball as much as possible: "Arkeel has to get the ball. He's an electric player. He's an aggressive player who has excellent contact speed, which is kind of a rare trait. On teams, there's not a lot of people that run faster when they're on the field than when they're in their gym shorts. He runs faster when he's on the field than when he's in his gym shorts. He has to get the ball."
On Max DeLorenzo as a veteran player: "He has been a great teammate. Right now he's focused on being a great teammate. Whatever role that is from week to week is one he'll buy and own and be great. He's been fantastic."
Follow up - On veteran players in general: "Priceless. We took our team photo today and have them in the front row, and they are the back bone of the team. Strong back bone, strong team. Weak back bone, weak team. You can kind of look at the front row and see the year. At least the team photos I've had the chance to observe."
On Arkeel being a versatile, #2 guy for coach: "I see Arkeel as a star. I don't see him as a number two guy. I see runs and plays that he does well. I see him as a starter."
On Noel and Bryant Shirreffs having a good connection: "Absolutely. If I was a quarterback, I would throw the ball to Noel. He's probably going to catch it."
R-Senior, Running Back Max DeLorenzo
On if losing records is what is driving them: "Yes, especially our senior class, because we haven't been to a bowl game yet. I don't even know if we have over 15 total wins combined in our four seasons. We're really hungry. It's 14 days from now and we can't wait."
On if all the running backs are getting even carries: "I know we will all have roles. We'll all have certain roles; we have certain packages for all of us. Carries-wise, I see it as one guy could get five carries one game, one guy could get 20 carries the next game. It all depends on who is doing well, who is hot, and the opponent's defense. We'll see what happens."
On Bryant Shirreffs and what he's been doing to win the number one spot: "He had a great spring. That carried over into, what are we at, two weeks now into camp. He really took control of the huddle. He has the ability to make plays on his feet, which in college is a big plus. He has gotten a lot better throwing and making plays with his arm. We're happy about that."
-- Jim Fuller (@NHRJimFuller) August 21, 2015
-- Desmond Conner (@desmondconner) August 21, 2015
-- Patrick Eaton-Robb (@peatonrobb) August 21, 2015
-- Jim Fuller (@NHRJimFuller) August 20, 2015
-- Brian Koonz (@briankoonz) August 21, 2015
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