By Erica Brancato
Bob Diaco has insisted since the moment he became UConn football’s head coach that there was plenty of work to do, but he was ready for anything. Despite a loss against Cincinnati on Saturday night, Diaco and the team held their heads high and look to use this as a learning opportunity. Though this was a tough game to swallow, the Huskies unanimously believe that they will grow and succeed.
“We have a long way to go, we have a lot of work to do,” Diaco said. “This adversity is going to create an unbreakable foundation for championships in the future. There is no doubt.”
Though Diaco acknowledged that it is impossible to play a football game and have only nine total offensive yards in the first half, the difference between the Bearcats veteran team and the Huskies young program made it extremely difficult to perform. While the Huskies are disappointed, they understand they are a process team and there will be peaks and valleys as they continue to develop.
“It is an honor to coach this team,” Diaco said. “Nobody quit. There was more leadership. More players leading the right way, saying the right things. There was an indomitable look on their face.”
Quarterback Tim Boyle made his first start of the season and played throughout the majority of the game going 13 of 21 in the air with 70 yards. Though Boyle admitted he was a bit uneasy on the field at first, he was able to get more experience and play better as the game went on.
“The game of football is about making mistakes, not trying to make them twice and trying to learn from them,” Boyle said. “I think the more snaps I get the more mistakes I’m going to make, which is weird to say, but down the road it is probably going to help me a little bit more.”
Noel Thomas, Ron Johnson, Arkeel Newsome, Ryan Crozier and Josh Mariner were among the underclassmen to play a majority of the game. In fact, the Huskies played mostly underclassmen this game, as Deshon Foxx, Geremy Davis and Ruben Frank were the only UConn seniors to start.
Diaco said he believes that with time and experience on the field, the underclassmen will develop further and thrive.
“We are going to love these guys, we are going to develop them we are going to teach the young men how to be men,” Diaco said of the underclassmen. “We are going to teach them how to play football… and as their eligibility expires they are going to have one of the greatest degrees in the country in their hand as they walk out. That’s how you have a great football team.”
While Diaco is open about the Huskies less than ideal record, the team has grown exponentially. There have been several moments of promise throughout this season and there are more moments of success to come. The team’s culture is stronger than ever and their love of the game and determination to continue to do well is evident. With the strong foundation Diaco has created, the team is ready for any challenges ahead.
“Football is not a flat line sport,” Boyle said. “You know it’s up and down and I think you need to understand that when the lows happen who actually loves the sport. Who puts their head down and pouts a little bit, or who turns the page and tries picking the team back up. Coach wants guys that love football so when we do hit those lows we can bring them back up to a high again.”