As BC gets ready for the home finale agains the Connecticut Huskies, we sat down with The UConn Blog to talk the Huskies, Bob Diaco, and a transitioning offense.
BCI: Bob Diaco was a name that many Boston College fans were hoping would end up at Chestnut Hill. What is the overall impression you have had as the Huskies HC?
UConn Blog: Overall I believe he's moving the program in the right direction, despite what is clearly a very poor 2016 performance. His puzzling decisions with the offensive staff, most notably hiring an offensive coordinator with zero experience calling plays, have been the primary cause of UConn's struggles on the field. But he has improved recruiting and was also dealt a raw hand in terms of the talent he inherited, especially at OL and QB.
It's gotten harder to believe in Diaco, but one has to consider the situation he walked into. Methinks our pro sports-focused fanbase has slightly unreasonable expectations for how rebuilding should go in the college game. With no free agency or draft, the growth in win total isn't always linear. He can salvage some goodwill with a win Saturday and a good performance in the finale next week, but 2017 will be a make or break year for him.
BCI: Saturday could be a tickle fight in terms of offense. What does UConn have for weapons on offense, and I know you made a change at QB. How has that changed the outlook.
UConn Blog:If I could bet on the defenses outscoring the offenses I would. The saddest part is that UConn really does have some offensive weapons, they are just not being maximized. Noel Thomas is an NFL-caliber receiver and running back Arkeel Newsome is a shifty ballcarrier capable of making big plays.
Yes, we made the move to a true freshman at QB. In his one game he has looked like one might expect a true freshman would, but does offer some upside over the previous starter, Bryant Shirreffs, with his arm strength and running ability. The downside is that he is obviously less experienced with the offense, and is still playing behind a weak o-line. Hopefully he can improve over the balance of this season and use this opportunity to be better in 2017.
BCI: Steve Addazio talked up UConn's defense in his weekly press conference. Who makes them such a formidable group.
UConn Blog: UConn has great players at all levels defensively. Up front, DT Foley Fatukasi, DE Luke Carrezola, LB Vontae Diggs, and LB EJ Levenberry are a few names to keep an eye on. In the secondary, cornerback Jamar Summers and safety Obi Melifonwu are the standouts. Unfortunately, the secondary is weak at the other safety spot and it has hurt the Huskies dearly. Their numbers are also not as good as they could be because the defense spends too much time on the field.
BCI: BC fans don't seem to care much about this game. Honestly we don't care much about anything at this point. What is the overall feeling from UConn fans? Do you expect a large contingent of Huskies fans on Saturday?
UConn Blog: There was a lot of excitement for this opportunity to play a team which we do battle with on the recruiting trail, admittedly losing more often than winning, and which we have obvious bad blood with for conference affiliation reasons. Unfortunately given how the season has played out that sentiment has waned across the season.
Hardcore UConn Football fans are still pretty excited, I'm certainly willing to admit I'd rather see UConn win this game than last year's St. Petersburg Bowl against Marshall at 11 am on Christmas Eve, but two teams who play unexciting football and are having poor seasons is not anything that a sports fan is going to want to see. A better travel party would have accompanies the Huskies if they had 2-3 more wins on the season but alas.
BCI: Prediction time: What have you got?
UConn Blog: Before the season I really thought UConn would be winning this one. Now I think it's more likely that a 3-3 tie is broken by an interception returned for a touchdown and BC wins 10-3. We beat Tulane, another defensively solid team, last year 7-3 with a pick-six as our only points, so it is not out of the question.
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