The UConn football team will look to continue its winning ways on Saturday when it takes on Syracuse at 1:00 p.m. at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
UConn is 2-1 on the season and coming off a thrilling 13-10 win over Virginia last Saturday while Syracuse is 1-2 win a win over Colgate and losses to Louisville and USF.
Saturday is Military Appreciation Day at Pratt & Whitney Stadium and a large flag will be unfurled during the national anthem by military personnel. The UConn marching band will also do a special salute to the military during their halftime show.
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Tuesday was the weekly media day in Storrs. Here are quotes and video from head coach Bob Diaco and redshirt defensive senior Mikal Myers (Newburgh, N.Y.), plus a Twitter recap of the day.
UConn Head Coach Bob Diaco
Opening Statement: "I'm excited to have the opportunity to make a lot of corrections after a win. The energy is high. The players are positive. We have a chance to get some plays corrected. I'm very proud of the way our guys played and the energy, passion, intensity and perseverance they showed. What we're getting now, which is new to our culture, is great leadership from the seniors and older players. They're very demonstrative on the sideline and in the huddle. It's very positive and appropriate. It's an easy group to follow. There's not a lot of seniors, but there is a strong group seniors. That piece was very evident again during the course of the game. I'm really proud of the way they played, for the most part, in respect to toughness and strain. There were some small fundamental, tactical things to clean up and we have a chance to do that after a win. Moving forward, we face another great opponent. It's an exciting regional game. I think that's fun for everyone. It's a fun, interesting match-up and we're excited to get into the game."On his evaluation of Bryant Shirreffs' play against Virginia: "I thought Bryant played a real nice game. I don't have any real issues other than the ball that he errantly threw in the high red zone. We're in scoring range and we should've come away with at least three points there. To have us not have the opportunity there is a critical error for him. But there were a whole bunch of other things that we were disappointed in. As I've said, he's inclined to run and scramble to run and I don't want to coach that out of him. We just keep showing him moments where he threw the ball down field and then moments where we could have."
On the play of his defense after adjusting back to conventional looks from the triple-option of Navy: "I thought that the defense played well in the Navy game. They had a few early passes that set up scores but other than that, they were on their work. It's a totally depth to prepare for Navy so to transition from the triple-option back to the conventional defensive football is a challenge. I think they did that well for the most part down the stretch. It was a disappointing that we had three explosive plays on the final drive. That moment shouldn't have been that interesting." On the tempo of the Syracuse offense: "In one instance, I believe they ran a play, the 40-second clock started, and they snapped the ball six seconds later. There were 34 seconds still left on the clock. They're operating at a very fast clip. If the rules allow for it and we keep moving officiating in a way that facilitates it, then we're going to keep going that way. It's like defending two games."
On getting Arkeel Newsome involved in the offensive gameplan: "We want to make sure he gets his touches. We have to get Arkeel the ball. If he's going to touch the ball 13 times, then he needs to do all the kickoff returns because that's not enough. He needs the ball more than that. He's got a pretty overwhelming role on offense either running it or catching it. We have to keep getting him the ball. He's a special player." On preparing in practice for the high-tempo offense: "It's virtually impossible. It's impossible, actually, because they don't know the play. The scout team has to look at the play and then try to execute the play. There's that moment of them looking at the play and that's where you lose all the time. You can think outside-the-box and maybe give them a few core plays that become hand signals. It can be a shock to the defense. I believe that we're built physically and systemically well for it but it's still very challenging."
-- Hartford Courant (@hartfordcourant) September 20, 2016
-- Jim Fuller (@NHRJimFuller) September 20, 2016
Diaco: "I'm definitely an optimist," said he views team as being one play away from 3-0, not two plays away from being 0-3.
-- Mike Anthony (@ManthonyCourant) September 20, 2016
Diaco says Syracuse's offensive pace can be dangerous because defense has no time to sub out exhausted players. Opens guys to injury.
-- Ed Daigneault (@EdDaigneault) September 20, 2016