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Football Heads On Long Trip To BYU

Arkeel Newsome and the Huskies are headed to BYU this Friday.

Sept. 28, 2015

STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut football team makes the longest regular-season road trip in the history of the program on Friday as it travels to BYU to face the Cougars at 10:15 p.m. Eastern. The game will be televised live nationally on ESPN2 and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.

UConn's journey to Provo will be approximately 2,000 miles - which tops a pair of trips to Dallas to play SMU. UConn's longest roadtrip remains the Phoenix area for the 2011 Fiesta Bowl.

BYU brings a 2-2 record into the game with a rugged schedule that features wins at Nebraska and over Boise State. UConn is also 2-2 on the season as it enters the game.

Monday was Media Day in Storrs this week because of the Friday game.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the UConn Media Notes.

Here are quotes and video from Media Day followed by a Twitter summary.

UConn Head Coach Bob Diaco

"Afternoon everyone. We're just wrapping up the last game. We just couldn't put a team effort, four quarters of execution in all three phases, together. When the offense was kind of clicking, the defense had trouble getting off the field. We created a lot of third downs, we just couldn't get the stop on the third down in the first half. Then when the defense had an opportunity to put it together and had the game slow down for them with stops, then the offense for whatever reason had a little bit of trouble down the stretch. Part of that is, and most of it is that Navy is a great football team, at least a very good one. I voted them into the top 25 and they're probably even better than that. I think when the dust settles, I'd be shocked if they're not a highly ranked team in the country. They're very good, specifically on offense, probably the best Navy offense I've had an opportunity to see in the time that I've been competing against them. Coach Ken and company have just done an awesome job. Outside of the loss, it was a learning experience, a quality experience for everyone involved. It's fun to play, fun to compete, fun to match wits with the players and coaches. We just have to take that next step and come out with a win, and we will.

"So looking right now at the four-game picture, as a player and coach you can't help but be encouraged. If you just look at 2-2, that might throw a bit of a blanket over that, with just a blink of an eye, it'd be 3-1, very realistically. With a little bit more of a stretch than just a blink of an eye, dare I say, we could have had an opportunity to be 4-0 if we could just execute a little better. It's been a tough stretch, a highly competitive stretch, as we knew it would be, one of the best FCS teams in the country, two academies, one in triple option, and an SEC team on the road. No rest for the weary. It's a short week. Today is kind of a mash-up, a blend of a few days, having just played Saturday and then really roaring well into game week as of today. To fly out west and play BYU, a team that beat the snot out of us a year ago, it's an exciting challenge and an exciting opportunity."

On BYU offense, if they have changed a lot with the new quarterback coach:
"I'm going to say yes to that, but I'm going to be shocked if there's no recognition and shift back to who they are. To me, it's another team that I've had the opportunity to be around for a long time. You can recall footage from Rich Rodriguez. This offense is a Rich Rod trait. Running the ball is a necessary component, and running the ball with authority. It's spread, but it's not a pass-spread offense, it's a run-spread offense. I'm not in their staff room, and I don't know exactly what they are talking about right now, but I'd be shocked if it wasn't `hey, we have to get back to who we are. I know we have this quarterback here and these guys' particular traits and the position might be a little green in terms of behind him, but we still need to run the ball.' To me, the Michigan game is not even watchable honestly for the players. Even if they had a particular plan going in, after roughly 20 minutes of football, they were down by four scores. So then all things go out the window and you're just trying to play catch up. I don't know how useful that tape is. They're a great team. No one has done what BYU has done, no one in the country. If you can challenge that let me know. I mean they are on the road in Nebraska, UCLA and Michigan and then played their rival. Who has done that in the first four weeks? To think they let the rope slip out of their hand a little bit at a 10 a.m. kick, as far as their body clock is concerned, in Michigan somewhere, it's not shocking to me. They've been awesome."

On what stands out about the BYU team after last year's game: "They're big, physical at all positions. The offensive line is giant. The defensive front is giant. The wide receivers are gigantic. They wear you out. They have a model for how they want to play. Like I said, it's run the football. The backs big. The backs are 225 pounds, 230 pounds. The backs are big. The O-line is big, and the wide receivers are big. So they're blocking and it's hard to get off the blocks. And when they're going to throw it's going to plays off of those plays. So it's play action shots, it's body in the defensive backs, the defensive front is formidable, physically imposing. Their safeties are tenacious, touch, contact, high collision players. Thinking back to the game, that's what I remember, that they were physically imposing in all three phases."

On Arkeel Newsome's performance last week and the performance of the running backs: "We're pleased with our backs. We'll continue to give the ball to the appropriate player that we believe matches up best with the opponent and run style. Arkeel (Newsome) is a heck of a back. He also has some tools in the passing game. Unfortunately when you're down and you're forced to play catch-up, you need to go with the back in the game that can do some of those other jobs, maybe even better than some of the other guys. He has good hands. He runs good routes. He's a pretty good pass protector. He's starting to turn himself into a complete package."

Redshirt Junior, Offensive Lineman, Andreas Knappe

What is the next step that the offense needs to take? "There's always things to work on. Personally, I can say a couple of execution things that needs work. I think that's the best way to get moving up."

On how much last year's BYU game impacts this year's preparation: "It's a new year and they're a new team, we're a new team. I think it's going to be a great game and obviously you might be able to learn some things from last year's game, but I think you just have to learn from what you do yourself and what you can do better."

On what the issue has been on offense: "I mean it's hard to say something. You've all seen the game as well, so you might as well be the judge too. For me personally, I think it's a couple execution things and maybe a couple of technique things too that need to get refined and polished."

The Last Meeting
August 29, 2014
Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.
UConn Falls to BYU In Season Opener, 35-10
The Huskies held BYU in check for much of the second half, but it wasn't enough as they fell to BYU, 35-10.