STORRS, Conn. -
The University of Connecticut football team returns to action this Saturday when it travels to Cincinnati for a 4:30 p.m. game. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
UConn brings a 3-4 record into the game and a 1-2 mark in the American Athletic Conference while Cincinnati is 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the league.
The UConn defense enters Saturday's game ranked 29th in the country in scoring defense (second in American) and 38th in total defense (second in American). UConn is tied for 17th nationally (tied for first in American) with 14 turnovers gained and are 17th in country in turnover margin.
Sophomore tailback Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia, Conn.) continues to climb the national charts as he is 26th in all-purpose yards (third in American) and 34th in kickoff returns (fourth in American). Redshirt sophomore quarterback Bryant Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.) has thrown for over 200 yards in five of his first seven collegiate starts.
For the UConn media notes, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Tuesday was Media Day in Storrs. Here is a complete review of the day with quotes, video and a Twitter roundup.
UConn Head Coach Bob Diaco
"Good afternoon everyone, thank you for coming. We're wrapping up the last game, a particularly hard loss, very disappointing loss for everyone in our football family. A lot went into it, a lot was invested in it, the energy was right, leading in the preparation was strong, so for the gate to unfold the way that it did, it was just hard. We got back together, we had our appropriate amount of time to mourn the loss, and we had a chance to get back together and go through it as a team with a fine tooth comb. That was a little bit of a change because normally we do it in a segmented way. We had a chance to come together and do it together, which was a good moment as we worked to move forward and will move forward and learn from those mistakes. That's all we can do, because the mistakes didn't happen on purpose. Everybody is trying hard, and you come out, with all credit to South Florida, they're doing a nice job, Coach Taggart did a nice job and the men on his team are doing a nice job, but we don't feel like we've been beaten yet. We just line-up and get your butt whipped. We just feel like there's these moments in these games, two games in particular, where we beat ourselves, and kudos to the team for taking of those moments, but none the less those self-inflicted wounds. They're very preventable. These games, for us, we have our program to a point where they're all going to be dog fights. It's all going to be a fourth quarter fight, which is great, but because it's so tight, every small little moment is exacerbated and really becomes a defining moment in the game. There's game where you can point back to one play and say that was the difference, which is not typical of what people do on teams. It's true, we all did this, we all take accountability, and it starts with me. But we had that moment, and that moment has passed and we've moved on to the next preparation: Cincinnati, and it began at 4 p.m. yesterday with the work. Everybody has started to that next task and looking forward to it."
On who he thought performed really well against USF: "I thought that Arkeel (Newsome) played really well in the game. I thought (Brendan) Vechery played really well in the game. I thought Noel Thomas played really well in the game. In terms of really well, I'm going to leave it at that. There were some others who played nice games. I felt like the nose guards combined to play a nice game. They weren't a major impact, but Julian (Campenni) and Mikal (Myers) did a nice job in the game."
On if the defensive performance against USF was just a blip: "Definitely. I think so. We don't do that. That's not part of our DNA. We don't bust coverages. You're going to get beat. You're going to line up on a guy who's faster than you and he's going to run past you. You're going to try and have that not happen, but it's going to happen. You're going to line up on a guy that's six inches taller than you and he's going to reach up for the ball and you're going to reach up for the ball and he's going to catch it, because he's six inches taller than you. That's going to happen. We're going to try and avoid it and try to manage match-ups, but you're going to get beat. You're going to get at a cross with a bigger guy and he's going to knock you back at times. To have alignment errors, communication errors, busted assignments, that's stuff we don't do. We don't do that. It was absolutely a blip as far as I'm concerned."
On what challenges Cincinnati is going to pose: "They're awesome on offense. They have the best group of wide receivers that we've played up to this point and maybe arguably all season. They have impact players. They can go four open ten personnel, which they do a bunch, and all four of them are weapons. You have match-up issues in every single spot. They have a big offensive line, which is fine. We have played big offensive lines before. They have really talented backs. They have a big back, 230 pounder who can run. He runs behind his pads. Then they have two other players who are appropriate size, 5'10'' to 5'11'', in there but they're 200 pounders, fast, quick, soft hands. So they have an excellent group of backs, and the quarterback can do what they like to do: just throw the ball down the field."
Redshirt Junior, Kicker, Bobby Puyol
On if the team is focused in on good practices: "We talked about it after the game. Right now, we have our back against the walls, and we either have to put up or shut up. We're built for this, we've had so many workouts where Coach Bayless puts our backs against the wall and we have to perform. We have to compete. So a lot of guys are excited for this week and just to get going, especially today, today is intense Tuesday, so we're ready to get after it."
On the 44-yd field goal attempt against USF: "The wind was kind of tricky on Saturday and I feel like I might have aimed a little too far right, trying to play the wind. It felt good, it felt really good. I thought it was going, but if it was just a couple inches to the left, it would have gone in."
On how his confidence has developed: "Practice has been key for me, to be able to prepare in a way where it's a game-like situation every single time I'm out in practice. Preparation is key and I feel that it's helped me a lot, to come into the games and be more confident."
Diaco on offensive strategy: "It's hard not to give the ball or throw the ball to Arkeel."
-- Neill Ostrout (@NeillOstrout) October 20, 2015
-- Jim Fuller (@NHRJimFuller) October 20, 2015
-- Desmond Conner (@desmondconner) October 20, 2015
Punter returner/WR Brian Lemelle has a "lower extremity" (leg) issue and is out for now.
-- Ed Daigneault (@EdDaigneault) October 20, 2015
Diaco: "Mistakes didn't happen on purpose."
-- LCS.com (@TimothyGaffney) October 20, 2015