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Huskies Getting Ready To Head To New Orleans

Freshman tailback Ron Johnson and the Huskies visit Tulane on Saturday.
Oct. 7, 2014

STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut football team returns to action on Saturday when it travels to Tulane for an 8 p.m. game at Yulman Stadium - the new on-campus home of Green Wave Football. The game will be televised nationally by ESPNews and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.

UConn brings a 1-4 record into the game and an 0-2 mark in American Athletic Conference play while Tulane is 1-4 and 0-1.

For a copy of the UConn game notes, please CLICK HERE.

Tuesday was media day in Storrs. Here are quotes and video from head coach Bob Diaco followed by a social media recap of the day.

On the bye week: "We had a very productive bye week. It was very productive, very positive. Any time that we can kind of focus and sequester ourselves to just getting better. Now we prepare for Tulane, a conference foe on the road at night. New city, exciting city to be in. Great state for football, great high school football and an area that we'd like to continue to expand. This is an exciting game for our program."

On what the team needs to do to improve: "Well, we need to continue to grow in the areas that right now we are getting some production and performance in. Any moment that you see of the infection of success, for example on defense, if they start the feeling like `okay we got this, we're playing well, we've got a strong, stout defense,' you can see that begin and you can see it in the lack of discipline in eyes or stance or communication in different areas. So we immediately jump all over that. When you're defending, you need to be completely locked, always feeling that reactionary underdog attack. Never feeling satisfied, never feeling confident in that you've got it all figured out. That edge needs to stay sharp every single second of the preparation, let alone the competitive moments."

On having four tailbacks on the depth chart: "They are all doing well. They are all trying hard, all four have great attitudes. You are going to see Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson a lot more. I wasn't interesting in pinning the team down to a release like that because the other two are more than functional and doing a great job and have great attitudes. Arkeel and Ron still don't know in great detail the protections and all the different things that come at them on any given down. There are still some issues but just some growing that needs to happen there. So we can manage that and continue to improve. Each new look, that's one in the bank."

On Arkeel Newsome: "Arkeel is a contact-fast player. His playing speed is as fast or even faster than his actual speed. There's a lot of players in the game that when they go in the game they play slower than they run. As contact approaches, they play even slower. Arkeel is unique in that he plays as fast as he actually and may actually play faster than he is actually is. If you timed him running a 40-yard dash on the field as opposed to lining him up in gym shorts and running on a turf field, it might even be faster. That's a unique trait, not everybody has that connection between brain and fine motor skills."

On young offensive players: "You think about a guy like Alec Bloom, he may be one of the best tight ends in the country before his time is done here. He's just got to put some weight on and get stronger, but he's a proficient route-runner, he's got soft hands, he's got a way with blocking. He has a football intelligence there. There are a bunch of young guys, Ryan Crozier, Trey Rutherford, Arkeel, Ron Johnson, Alec Bloom, just on offense to name a few of the guys that just got here that get better every day."

On Cole Ormsby and rushing the passer: "Cole is an aggressive player, a fast player, he's got great change of direction so it becomes hard to block. He's got great initial quickness and that allows him to play longer than he would otherwise be. So he can play a little longer than his body frame would allow and he creates some stress with his power and he can change direction and he's as fast as the players he's chasing and that helps. "We want to pressure the quarterback more. It's hard when you're playing teams where that's not a hallmark of the game. So when you play a spread offense, which three of the five games have been, sacking the quarterback is not a part of the game. You create vertical space, and now those runs becoming victimizing runs. Some of these games we decide if it's a sack the quarterback game or a corral the quarterback game. It's all part of the plan, when we play a game where we feel we can get after the quarterback you'll see the number change."

On Tulane's offense: "If you've watched the way that Tulane has produced points, it's through explosive play runs and explosive play passes. They have three incredibly talented wide receivers, and probably more. But three in particular are big and fast, all can catch, all can really run. They've run over the top of the defensive backs in every game they've played and been able to connect on deep passes for touchdowns or scoring setups. The other scores have been Sherman Badie, who's a tackle-breaker. He's got a nice combination of vision, elusive, his running-style is a slashing, elusive style. He's got a great knack of give and take, compared to Lazedrick Thompson, who is a physical downhill run into you tackle-breaker who breaks tackles with leg drive. Badie is an elusive give and take runner, he'll set his blocks up and lean in and then absorbs contact. You very rarely see him take a hard hit because he's got a knack of taking your force and using it against you. And then he's very, very fast. There has not been a team that he's played that's been able to catch him when he hits a crease. They've had a nice, challenging schedule and they've flourished in those games."

On the defensive line: "Defensive line is coming on. They're starting to play within the structure of the defense more, and doing a better job of reading their keys and fitting within the structure and doing their job and not trying to be all things to all people. As that increases for Folorunso Fatukasi specifically, in terms of size, speed, change of direction, he's probably he best combination of all things on the d-line. We just have to get his game to mature, he's another freshman, we just need to mature his game and as that matures he'll continue to produce and become a hard guy to block."

On Tulane's defense: "Very aggressive, very attacking, pack-the-box, a lot of man, a lot of overloaded box structured, not necessarily pressures although they do run pressures. They have a very aggressive player in Nico Marley, very talented and I love watching him play. He's very aggressive and downhill at the point of attack. They have a very talented corner, a really talented safety and a couple really big 300-plus pounders inside. All those things create a challenge that we need to take advantage of what they're giving us when they give it to us." On Deshon Foxx at quarterback: "It's not a Foxx-package, it's the offense. Foxx can throw all the passes, he's got a strong arm. He can our offense from the gun, he can run our offense from under center. It's not a wildcat, Foxx can run our offense. All the calls, all the plays."

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