What’s goin on?
Haven’t met him yet but new UConn offensive coordinator T.J. Weist was hoot and very serious all in one during a teleconference with local media a short while ago.
Thanks to Brendan Flynn and Mike Enright from UConn athletic communications for pushing some of the quotes. I’ll throw those at the end but there’s one thing you all really should know about Weist and that is he learned a lot about the game from one of the best offensive coordinators to ever hold the title in Alabama’s Homer Smith (don”t know? Google him)
Anybody who has been around Smith has a story. That name is gold in college football circles. Smith passed away in 2011.
Anyway, here’s Weist on meeting Smith and how he prepared him for coaching
“Homer Smith takes me back to the days where obviously I had just finished playing at Alabama,” Weist said. “I walked into Bill Curry’s office. “Right when I finished playing I said ‘Coach I want to get into coaching’ and he said ‘Well, OK go down to our new coordinator’s office and ask him what you can do’. I walked down there and had no idea who Homer Smith was. It was the best six months of my coaching career, was my first six months, because Homer Smith took me as a student coach and taught me separation techniques as a wide receiver; personally took me on the field and showed me…he wanted me to be the demonstrator for the offensive skill guys and literally taught me an unbelievable amount of football and I stayed there for two years under him and Tommy Bowden on offense and I mean Homer, Coach Smith, was unbelievable because there’s nobody really like him and there really hasn’t been.
“With all the degrees that he had, his level of intelligence was beyond what most educators earn much less coaches and what I learned from him was a systematic approach to football, just taking intelligence to a higher level. Coach Smith taught me that you can take players and not force your offense to go down to their level but bring them up to a higher level of intelligence, a higher level of learning, a deeper, systematic learning. I watched him evolve and I watched how he installed his offenses from that standpoint and that was the most impressive thing to me was that his system he could elevate the thought process of the player to a higher level.”
Now that’s deep isn’t it?
Here are some general thoughts from Weist on being at UConn and what he wants to accomplish. He mentioned winning a Big East championship a lot.
What are your thoughts about coming to UConn and what are your goals?
“I’m excited to be here because I’m excited to be a part of this coaching staff. Coaching against [UConn] for the last three years, one thing I’ve noticed is that they’ve always been a tough football team; always been a well disciplined and coached team. Knowing coach Pasqualoni in his career and what he’s done, I’m excited to be a part of his program and building of this program. From a goal standpoint, it’s hard for me to say what our goals are going to be. I need to learn the personnel and learn the staff and really just talk it through with coach and see what we can do to make this upcoming season work toward a BIG EAST championship. [Right now] I’m really just learning the personnel and learning about the players coming back. I’m of the same mindset with coach Pasqualoni that we’re going to be a physical offense and we’re going to be efficient and productive.”
What can we expect to see from your offensive style?
“I believe that you win games running the ball and throwing the football. I’m not going to characterize us as a run the football or throw the football team, but I want to be an aggressive play caller. I want to spread the field; vertically and horizontally. Based on personnel, I want to be able to attack and have a physical offense with a balance to it. We can throw deep; no question. We just need to get the ball to our playmakers. I think we’re going to put our players in the best position to make plays.”
How will you treat the dynamic of having George DeLeone still on the staff?
“First, coach DeLeone is one of the most respected coaches in the industry. When I walk in the door, one thing I want to do is learn from him. I’m excited to learn from him, talk football with him, work with him, coach with him, learn from the experience he has had as the offensive coordinator here and try to make it better. That’s what it comes down to. We’re in this to win. So I’m going to work with him to make this offense better and do whatever we can to win a BIG EAST championship. I have so much respect for him and I’m looking forward to spending time with him. We’ve got the same goal, so I think that’s what it comes down to. I think we’re going to work together well and think he’s a valuable asset to all of us here.”
Do you see playmakers on the UConn roster?
“One of the first things I did and will continue to do is evaluate the personnel. You’ve got to look at your people and see what you can do well. I was pleased, at times, with what I saw because I saw guys making plays. Obviously, you can always find areas where you can do better at, but it’s the ability to continue drives that win ballgames, it’s not just the big plays. I was enthused with [seeing] some of the skill guys we have here and knowing that most of the line is coming back.”