What’s goin’ on?
Had a good time at Geno’s Grille (great food!) on campus Monday night where the womens basketball coach, Geno Auriemma, did his radio show with Bob Joyce. It’s a good show. Geno is a great interviewee, we know, but interviewer? Pretty darned good. His guest was new UConn Coach Bob Diaco. We’ll get to some of the highlights of that but on a business note first football season tickets went on sale today. It’s an important time. You know it and everyone at UConn knows it, too. Building the brand includes supporting the team, filling the seats.
UConn has done a good job of getting the energetic Diaco out in front of folks pushing support for the program.
“It’s an incredible, exciting time,” Diaco said after the show. “,,,We’ve got seven home games, it’s going to be an awesome slate as it relates to the out of conference schedule; fun, exciting, energetic games. We’re excited about putting a team out there together and getting an absolutely great environment going in that facility with the people and the fan experience.
“We’re working with sales and marketing right now to talk about the Game Day experience so, listen, we’re trying to create an environment where it’s a great way, great family way to come spend 3 1/2 hours and really be entertained in a safe, fun exciting way.”
– As you know the staff was announced Monday and it is stocked with experience and talented people andI’m up to 11 text messages now from people who know a lot of the guys. The consensus is Diaco did a heck of a job assembling the staff. I also hear folks are really going to like the new defensive coordinator, Anthony Poindexter, from Virginia. Anyway, the media gets to sit down with the assistants Wednesday afternoon, a good move. You’ll like this about Diaco, too. While he’ll be available, tomorrow too, he wants folks to get to know the assistants more. Also, positions still need to be filled for: director of football operations, director of player personnel and director of strength and conditioning, none more important than the latter, Diaco said.
“We’re looking to build on the momentum we have right now. The way the pieces fit together are really pretty interesting and unique. It was really, really well thought out as it relates to who is balancing who and in the balance of give and take, assets and liabilities,….it’s a nice fit as it relates to the personality of different guys.”
Job 1 right now?
“We need to connect with the team and recruit,” Diaco said. “That’s it. We don’t have to re-invent Cover 2. We don’t have to figure out what’s the best formation to attack an odd front with on the right hash. I don’t want anyone in the organization talking about those things right now. It’s getting to know the team and recruiting. There’s really no time for anything else…. if they have time for other things they’re trying to figure out direct deposit or a provider for heath insurance or something.”
Some have asked exactly what the player engagement role running backs coach Ernest Jones is going to have entails. Bob Joyce asked Diaco about it on the show.
“It is a great role that he is an expert at and it is being sure the players have a year-long plan for developing in a myriad of different areas. Let’s just call it social development but it is teaching them about agents, it’s teaching them about drugs and alcohol, it’s teaching them and giving them inspirational stories from people that had adversity and perservered, bringing those people into clinic and lecture,” Diaco told Joyce. “It’s teaching them how to write a resume. It’s teaching them how to do an interview. It’s teaching them how to set a table or eat with a fork and knife properly and etiquette; a myriad of different life skills lessons and social development levels that help the players engage. It will also develop for a year-long plan, a detailed community service plan where we are out in the community helping and have some real teeth into it.
“He’ll have a whole component where he’s working with the former players, a year-long plan. And bless his heart Coach [Andy] Baylock who is fantastic and everybody knows him and he’s poured his heart out for this university for years and years and years. He’s been doing it on the grassroots, blood, sweat and tears on well-oiled heels. He’s just been hitting the bricks.Now he’s going to have some help, some staff and some plan behind him to keep the former players engaged. What’s the plan for the former players? Are we having a golf outing, do we have a gala in the winter, are we just getting together for a meet and greet, are we bringing them back for spring ball so that they can engage with the team? What’s better than having the former players engage with the team that we have right now?”
Here’s a question to the coach (BD) on the show from Geno (GA) on game-week preparation:
GA: How much time do you spend with your coaches during the course of the week putting together a game plan? When you were the defensive coordinator [At Notre Dame] you were doing this. Now that you’re the head coach how does that change your daily and weekly schedule in terms of being ready for Saturday afternoon? What do you have to do from Sunday to Saturday? Give me your schedule.
BD: It’s a great question. I don’t necessarily have this lock, stock and barrel like you do Coach as long as you’ve been doing it where you can say exactly what the week is going to look like but we need to analyze the opponent and I need to analyze the opponent in all three phases. I’m looking for matchups, assets and liabilities. So rather than as a defensive coordinator where I’ve drilled down every small, finite apsect as it relates to the offense, now to me it’s a broad base, a little bit bigger picture about what needs to happen with the ball. I’m responsible for the ball. That’s how I see it. I’m responsbile for where the ball moves, is it moving backwards, is it moving closer to their goalline when we’re utilizing special teams to move the ball; how the offense and the tempo needs to move the ball with to create wins, a victory against this specifc opponent, is it slow, is it fast? Is it a change of that tempo? Defensively, big picture, what’s going to happen with the ball? What does this team like to do with the ball and then broad-based, how we’re going to prevent that, how all three phases fit together. So to me I’m watching full game [as opposed to] watching full game pieces where I just drilled down watching the opponents offense in my cocoon and all the cut-ups related to it. Now it’s big picture with the main question: What is going to happen with the ball? Broad, big picture concept of what we should we do with the ball to beat this team and what this team wants to do with the ball to try to beat us and then create the three phases, team-blended football, to win.
GA: For us it’s a lot easier. It’s not quite as complicated. Our game plan is this: When we dribble down the floor throw the damn ball to [Breanna] Stewart. These guys have got it a lot more complicated. God Bless you man I don’t knw how you do your job…