What’s goin on?
Good to get back to UConn Monday with Spring Practice 4. Practices 5 and 6 are going off this week. Saturday is Practice 7. It is open to the media. It is also high school clinic day and if you didn’t get a chance to see Monday’s notebook check out how new UConn coach Bob Diaco would blow the thing out if he could. There just wasn’t enough time to get it all done this year..
Anyway, here’s a few more notes from Monday’s availability with Diaco post Practice 4.
Explosive plays in Diaco’s book: a rush of 10 or more yards and a pass complete for 20 or more.
No scrimmages during the spring: :”Other than Practice 15, we’re not going to have a scrimmage, per se. The practice is too valuable not to practice so during the portion percentage that we’re allowed to have live contact it will always be intermingled in practice. Saturday will be live action. It just will be intermingled in a base practice. And the template for that scrimmage being it’s the first time or that live action – I guess is a better way to say it because when you say scrimmage people have a particular picture in their mind where offense is calling plays, defense is calling defenses and the ball is moving – that will not be the template for the first time we get together. It will be scripted, The ball will be stationary. There will be no real situation that we’re working on at that time. The next time we get together and do that then we will have a ball-movement situation.”
I always ask Diaco about defense. He’s a defensive guy so I like hearing him talk about it – and he gives you a little bit more about his philosophy than he did the previous time, too, so… it’s good stuff.
“We are a 50-50, three down and 50-50 four down [defense] without changing personnel and in fact can do it just before the ball is snapped. We are a defense that needs to understand defending the plays that cause losing and being sure that we eliminate big plays. Big plays happen in the run game because you don’t have the layers. We can handle that by the call. And fundamentally layers because the players need to understand how to pursue to the football and then tackling. Those are things that create big plays in the run game that need to be eliminated on defense and those are just things in coaching and focus for the players and also systems, so, we don’t call a lot of defenses where we don’t have the layers. Because the No.1 thing is to keep the points down. The thing that produces points are big plays. So it’s the same thing in the passing game. Big plays, explosive passes where there’s been a hole punched in the top of our defense. We have to be sure we eliminate those plays.”
Diaco said wide receivers, linebackers, secondary made strides Monday. He said the running backs have been doing a nice job and he could see them all participating in the cause this year.
Diaco talked about the offensive line and how the Huskies are thin there. No secret but here he is on why the incoming freshmen probably won’t be able to help right away.
“It would be very hard. In the trenches to think that youngsters can come in here and have the kind of volume of work and just core strength and balance to hold up? I mean even if guys that are maybe not stalwarts in the organization so far, if they’re trained at a level like this and go through these kind of practices they have so much higher physical aptitude and balance. It’s such a push, pull game you have to have that volume of strength built up in your core. That’s the biggest issue with young players no matter how big or small they are they typically don’t have that volume of core strength.”