UConn Huskies AD Warde Manuel brought in Bob Diaco to turn UConn football back into a winning program after three lackluster bowl-less seasons. He also happens to be the third coach at UConn since the 2013 season.
With a change in coach, comes a change in philosophies. Not just offensively, defensively or special teams, everywhere within the program, on and off the field.
"We have our culture set. It's posted all around the building," Diaco said. "So we can hit them with quick-hitting thoughts and implant that language into their hearts and minds."
"Then, we have to create activities that reinforce that ideology. And then we have to demand that they do it. Demand it in terms of coaching them through those activities, pointing out to them they're not doing it and heaping praise on them when they are."
And with spring practice No. 1 in the books, Diaco laid down the harsh truth.
"We've got enough players to have a good team, but we're not a good team," Diaco said. "We're not a good team."
To be honest, it caught me a little off guard when he said it. I wasn't quite sure he had even said it. But then he continued on and gave his reason why. And it made sense.
"Because they persist in continuing to do things that cause losing," said Diaco. "It's still a team that needs to come a long way in caring for each other."
"It's a group that needs to come a long way in understanding effort, energy, energy expenditure and strain necessary to win their individual matchups. It's a group that is an average to below average communication group. Positive communication, encouraging communication, demonstrative communication in whether its encouraging words or bringing guys along or just communicating in a drill."
"It's an easily frustrated group. When a drill comes off track or they're surprised with something else outside the scope of what they thought (would happen). It's a group that has trouble persevering through adversity and rolling with, `Hey, whatever we've got to do, let's do it, here we go.' Whatever comes at us, let's roll. It's a group that's starting to learn finishing but has trouble finishing, finishing drills, finishing plays, finishing workouts, so there are a lot of things that are present that cause losing. It's not just about a collection of players."
And if these guys can't get it done in practice how are they going to get it done in a game. But that's why there's 15 (now 14) spring practices. That's why there's a preseason camp, to get these things all corrected.
When you think about it, every single one of these guys on the team is on their third head coach. For some of the fourth-year players, this is their fourth coach (Randy Edsall, Paul Pasqualoni, T.J. Weist, Diaco). That's four different styles of coaching, four different sets of philosophies.
But something tells me that when you listen to Diaco and what he's trying to instill in the minds of the student-athletes on his team, it won't be long before these guys get it.
One, Diaco is a great coach, a great motivator.
Two, I'm pretty sure these guys don't want to go through what they did last year.
With Diaco and his coaching staff at the helm, something tells me the latter won't happen.
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