STORRS, Conn. -
The University of Connecticut football team is in primetime action this week as it plays East Carolina on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The game will be televised by ESPNU and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
UConn brings a 3-5 record into the game and a 1-3 mark in American Athletic Conference play. The Pirates are 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the league.
UConn is ranked 19th in the country in interceptions with ten, good for second in the American. The Huskies are also tied for 27th in the country and fourth in the American with a turnover margin of plus-0.63.
Sophomore running back Arkeel Newsome (Ansonia, Conn.) continues to climb the national charts and is now 31h in all-purpose yards (fourth in the American) and 36th in kickoff returns (fourth in the American). Redshirt sophomore quarterback Bryant Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.) has thrown for over 200 yards in five of his first eight collegiate starts.
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With a Friday game, Monday was Media Day in Storrs. Here are quotes, video and a Twitter wrapup of the day.
Head Coach Bob Diaco
"Thanks for coming everybody. Losing is hard. It's not just coach speak. Losing has a contagious element. It's an old adage, but it's true. Everybody is working really hard, players, coaches and administrators to beat that back to its appropriate spot, because it doesn't really represent the work done or the improvement made to have five of the last six end the way that they have. We need to keep that in its appropriate place as a team and a football family. The other half of that quote is that winning is also contagious, so get a win and you're one away from that being a contagious element. Everybody is working towards that. There were a lot of things about last week, although really I think it was the first week we got beat. We've lost some games, but I felt like, had we been able to finish, it wouldn't have ended the way that it ended. Last week, I feel like we got beat. It felt like they truly were, that night, a better team than us, the windows were bigger. As you match offense to offense and defense to defense and ST (special teams) to ST, the windows were bigger, the ball was being placed more accurately, the skill caught it better. There were a lot of elements that just looked better, truth be told. So credit to them and kudos to them and where they are, but there were a lot of elements that I was very excited about. I am very encouraged about our team. I felt like, from the sights and sounds and how it looked and felt and what we heard as it relates to leadership and competitive belief, that spirit, had it been present a week before, I think the results would have been different. That's a reason why I was so disappointed the week before. It was a more competitive game, but I was more disappointed two weeks ago rather than Saturday night. I'm still disappointed we lost though. I'm there with you. We're still on the same page, but there were a lot of positives that happened in the game. To hold the team, really to the very bitter end when you're just trying to throw stuff against the wall, to hold a team to six points, two field goals, was pretty awesome. The first drive of the game, and the execution of it, was pretty awesome starting like that, starting fast like that is exciting. There's some elements in the game that we can build on. Then here we go, right away. I feel like we just got off the plane. It's all kind of gray as to when that actually happened how many hours ago. We're in the middle of the week, the middle of game-week. It's exciting. It has its assets, because we don't have to have this sour taste in our mouth for much longer so that's positive. We're looking forward to the contest against East Carolina. Coach McNeill is an awesome guy. Those players love him. They play like that. He has a talented ball team. We're looking forward to playing at home."
On if one of the positives of the Cincinnati game was Julian Campenni/the defensive line: "Yeah, a piece of that which I was so excited about, was that the D-line completely shuffled and the aptitude that they had to do the work was awesome. So Julian (Campenni) went and played a share of game at the three technique at the end, which activated Mikal (Myers) to a more profound role at nose. He did well and Julian did well, and it really became a situation for Foley (Folorunso Fatukasi) where he played twice as many plays as he's ever played. He was up in the upper 80s. I think he had 86 plays, and he handled them well. I was very encouraged with his overall stamina and conditioning. He's turned himself into a guy that can play hard and long, considering where we were about a year and a half ago, where he was having trouble making it through a winter conditioning workout. So it's pretty awesome to see and there were a lot of positive's pointing Julian out as one of them, not just the performance, but the ability to do both jobs."
On what this team needs to do to get over the hump and start winning football games: "I think we just have to stay on course and stay after it. We have great habits. The players have great habits. They have strong habits. We believe in those habits and prepare and show up to the contests excited. We have those things going now. We need to try and not wallow in records and losses. We need to focus on the things that we do well, focus on the positive moments and try to build on those and not collect tallies. We just need to stay on a play-by-play basis, win your individual play, win your individual match-up and stay focused to drill down to that level. Also have fun, we have another game, we have another practice, that's exciting. This is much better than doing other things. We're coaches and we're players so it's a blessing to serve at that capacity. It should like that, it should feel that. It shouldn't be wallowing in the losses, because they're not. They're winners and they're going to be. We're so close. You could flip a coin and 3-5 could easily be 5-3 or, dare I say 6-2. It's right there. Like I said, you're one win away from that winning is contagious motto rather than losing is contagious."
On East Carolina's offense: "They are similar to a couple of the offenses that we've played in that they do some of that spread, it's all at the gun run game with perimeter controls. There's a heavy amount of that run, play action, perimeter control. Then they have this two quarterback platoon. Not that the plays are different, but the emphasis is different. The one quarterback comes in and runs the ball more and it's more of a QB run game. The other player comes in and he can run, but he really doesn't run much. The sharp contrast is a concept conflict passing game compared to your standard, intermediate passing concept game with the other quarterback so you get this tale of two cities."
Sophomore, Linebacker, Luke Carrezola
On if it is tough to adjust when certain players get hurt and new bodies come in: "It's definitely different. It's hard when a kid like Cole (Ormsby) goes down. I've been around Cole and he's such a hard worker in everything that he does, one of the hardest workers on the team. Kenton (Adeyemi) comes back this week. He's a very skilled player and I think he's going to step up to the challenge. It's his senior year and he knows it. He's a very good player and can do all the jobs that we need him to do. It's hard losing guys like Cole, but we're going to put our best out there and we're going to play our best."
On if Cincinnati was a rough game physically in terms of guys getting hurt or scratched up: "Cincinnati's a physical team and we're a physical team. It's football and that's how you have to play the game. On how they keep from getting down: "It's definitely not easy when you don't see the results that you want to see, but I think in the end that's just going to make you stronger. Honestly, you go through times like this with the people you love and the people that love you, just as a family, and in the end I think it will work to our benefit. We will remember when we were 3-5 and when we loss to Cincinnati, but I think we will just bounce back from it and continue to grow."
On if it helps having a short week to get rid of the loss: "A little bit. You have to play with a short memory. It's just like in a game when you might have a bad play, but you just have to go onto the next one, because you can't keep digging yourself into a trap. You have to keep playing. We're just really looking forward to taking on ECU and expecting to win as usual."
— Jim Fuller (@NHRJimFuller) October 27, 2015
Sounds like Cole Ormsby is out for the season with a "lower extremity" injury.
— Ed Daigneault (@EdDaigneault) October 26, 2015
Diaco: Why some of the big plays against #UConn Saturday? "we weren't on body. not one play over us because we were so deep."
— Desmond Conner (@desmondconner) October 26, 2015
Diaco wants his players to "Try not wallow in records and losses.....they're winners. They're going to be."
— Neill Ostrout (@NeillOstrout) October 26, 2015
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