The View From Section 241 | The Boneyard

The View From Section 241

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
22,350
Reaction Score
5,663
On that awful weather day -- on a day that was dark and wet and damp and thick and cloudy and altogether ugly -- was the tiny bit of daylight trying to get through from time to time the light at the end of the tunner? I don't want to overreact to the win -- HCBD and this team have a long and difficult journey ahead of them even to get back to where we were under Edsall -- much less beyond it -- but especially for those of us crazy enough to stay to the end of the game yesterday (and I would bet money that, by the 4th quarter, there were more spectators in the dry, warm superstructure than there were in the bowl itself), I think the compelling reason to risk health to stay was exactly that hope. That, if it's still a long, long way from good times, at least we are now climbing back up the mountain, as opposed to testing the depths of the valley.

As great as yesterday was, there was a fluke element about it that makes me not want to overreact to it, and to wait to see if we can now handle a bad football team (yes, you Army) before overreacting. We went 20 minutes without a first down. And we produced 37 points with a shockingly small amount of total offense to support it. The D did not have one of its better games. And we saw a UCF team that seemed to come apart in weather that they've probably never seen and couldn't have been mentally prepared for. And, for all that, was I the only one worried that if the refs missed or wouldn't call the offensive pass interference on their last drive, we might not have stopped them and be heading for OT? So it was a great win, and a day that for those of us who stayed to the end won't be soon forgotten. But I don't want to think that, if we started the conference season again, we could complete for the league championship. We're not experienced, deep or good enough yet.

Let me start with HCBD. Any judgment before the end of this season (at least) is premature. He clearly was more focused on changing the culture and attitude than in squeezing out wins. That doesn't mean that he doesn't want to win -- that's always been a dumb analysis -- but that he's not willing to sacrifice doing things the right way for shortcuts that might steal a win or two along the way but will not prepare us for getting us where he wants. That's why you have to be patient with things like blowing redshirts left and right for players who aren't necessary or making the team better. Will we be worse off for it in '18? Yes, when we're playing without fifth year seniors, we will be. But he is saying I need everyone to buy in now, and if that means a sacrifice five years out -- well, none of us know if this is good in balance or not. But you see buy in, and you see effort, and you can't dismiss what he's doing. Having said that, there is no question that yesterday, he was sending his players a message that he believed in them The attempt to fake a punt early (spoiled by a procedure penalty). The fourth down conversation only down one possession in the first half. And the brilliant switch to Foxx that caught the D flat footed in the second Q. It was a good day for HCBD and his staff. There will still be bad days (because the players won the game yesterday and will lose others). But yesterday was a good day, and should have shown everyone that his first priority -- rational if not right -- is to change the attitude around the team before he worries about either the extra win now or 2018.

So, as I get in to offense, defense and specials, let me apologize. I was not as nearly as focused on small details as I usually am, because I was focused on survivial and avoiding hypothermia. On specials, we don't have the star returner we've usually had (from LIttle LT or Reggie to Nick Williams), but we have more than held our own this year by making less mistakes than our opponents on specials. See, e.g., UCF's #88, who kept being thrown out to return kicks despite clearly suffering from brain freeze. Kudos to Puyol, who despite the conditions made a huge kick to change momentum in the halftime locker room, and to Summers, while unblocked, showed athleticism in blocking their FG attempt. Yes, we need a dangerous KR, even if we have to recruit one who doesn't help that much from scimmage, but we continue to give more than we take on specials.

That was not one of the Ds better efforts. But it wasn't terrible generally other than giving up too many big passing plays. I thought Campenni, Adams and Stewart were great (and, with his athleticism and his improvement curve, we just may see huge things from Stewarn next year). Obi, on the other hand, was awful. While others missed tackles too, he was in the safety position on the last TD and totally whiffed on even getting near the WR when he started running. And the non-play he made on the ball on their long 2d Q pass down the left sideline was hard to belive. if you can't pick it you can't pick it, but you can't fail to get a hand on the ball and break it up. But if it wasn't as good a defensive effort as we've seen, it is great watching all these young guys getting playing time and playing well. We can continue to be a good defensive team -- at least on an AAC level -- going forward.

Whick takes us to offense. As I said earlier, it's hard to see how we manufactured 37 points from as little total offense and as few first downs as we've had. The big plays we've been producing the last two games, and the points, can't mask the total inability to run the ball conventionally or the inability to find WRs other than Foxx and Thomas in Geremy Davis's absence (and if you looked, there were many palys where shockingly Whitmer had plenty of time, but just couldn't find a receiver who wasn't covered. But the spread is clearly our future, and I would be shocked if we didn't see Boyle stop getting his series and Foxx sharing the QB snaps with Whitmer from here on. That having been said, kudos to the OL, which if it can't run block yet has improved in pass blocking at a rate that no one would have thought possible, to Noel Thomas who is becoming a playmaker young and before our eyes, to Ron Johnson who never stopped running hard despite not seeing a hole for three quarters or to Ansonia's own, who didn't let his reduced playing time stop him from running hard when he got his chance. And, most importantly, to Foxx, who is now playing his third offensive position in his time at UConn but is refusing to let his senior year go by without showing a big play ability that we haven't seen since the days of the Donald and Easley and Todman.

So a speedy recovery to the other idiots who joined me in sitting through four outside hours of that. Hopefully we now show that our ability to play with better teams like ECU and UCF transforms to the ability to control bad teams, and that, unlike the games against Stoney Brook, USF and Tulane, we handle Army quickly and easily. If we do, we go into an off week with huge momentum and looking at a home game against Cincy that (giving us SMU to end the year) would put us within one road win of bowl eligibility. And, will make us wonder how we could have let our opportunities to beat bad teams in TAmpa and New Orleans turned out so wrong.

And if you have the opportunity, buy tickets to Yankee Stadium and make noise. In the big picture, it can't hurt.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
4,905
Reaction Score
18,475
Right on point BL. And here's the good news. As I'm sure many of you were thinking during the game---what if Foxx as the wild dog could actually throw the ball.....! Well, I was told after the game by a player in the know that he's a good passer (was a QB in high school) and wink wink--don't be surprised to see that in the repertoire. One other thing. Mike Cummings was asked to help Foley with the O-Line so the line techniques would be oriented more to the play calling. I'm not sure about the how and why of all that but was told it helped a lot, especially with Knappe. I guess it's all part of the process. Can't wait for NYC.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
20,601
Reaction Score
44,818
I see things differently between Obi and Stewart. The long completion in the second quarter, it was John Green who failed to get his hand up (unless you're talking about the one that went through his hands and perriman caught it as he fell.). He has also been better in Coverage. Stewart on the other hand winds up with a lot of tackles on the stat sheet but on the first UCF TD and another run that was up the middle and bounced outside were squarely on him. They both still make too many physical mistakes on a defense that asks every player to execute their job, but where I see Obi improving I see the same mistakes from Stewart. Too often linemen get into him and he doesn't disengage quickly enough to effect the play. They are both physical freaks and both deliver punishing tackles when they get a clean shot at the ball carrier. That is the main reason I see both continuing to play. Speaking of physical, Junior Joseph is an absolute brick wall in run support. Love what I've seen from him. I guess it was him that bumped Ashiru from the starting lineup. I like Ashiru but he seems a little too finese, while Joseph has made it impossible to not play him with his physicality.

I like that Diaco is willing to try different things. The most infuriating thing about the previous regime was their one trick pony approach that never seemed to deviate from the script. Yeah he shut it down to frustrating levels agains USF and Tulane. He has also gone away from the slow developing play action passing game which a few of us had been screaming didn't work with this OL. Most passes yesterday were out of the gun, at least that is how I perceived it.

I love the spread. I hate that we haven't used it more at UConn. Spread out better teams and get the ball to your homerun hitters. Right now I think the HR hitters are Foxx and Newsome, with Thomas emerging. I still have high hopes for Bradley and Lemelle and see Thomas Lucas improving and Ron Johnson and Newsome being perfect compliments to one another.

The defense while not great, did force their offense off the field quite a bit and the defensivle line in particular is damn impressive. Some real playmakers coming back next year. Campeni, Myers, Adeyemi, Fotukasi, Ormsby.

The weather played a huge part in the outcome. The UCF kick return team didn't want to be out there, but UConn had to play in it too and you just felt so good for those kids gutting out what has been such a bad run for us.

Thanks for the view, it adds a ton to the forum.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2011
Messages
3,959
Reaction Score
18,560
. One other thing. Mike Cummings was asked to help Foley with the O-Line so the line techniques would be oriented more to the play calling. I'm not sure about the how and why of all that but was told it helped a lot, especially with Knappe. I guess it's all part of the process. .

This is the most heartening tidbit I've read in some time. This to me means that Diaco is breaking down the silos that can develop on a team when the coaching is only focused on their piece of the pie. I coach linemen, you coach receivers, coach 3 coaches the backs and coach 4 calls the plays. If too focused on those areas, you lose track of the offensive process (yes I said it). Seems like Diaco is taking a balanced view of the vertical silos (positions) and the horizontal process of overall offense. Requires a coaching staff on the same page with an ability to collaborate and put some degree of their egos aside.

No way this happens over the past three years but a very very positive development IMO
 

ShakyTheMohel

Is it 11:11 yet?
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
7,846
Reaction Score
16,950
Great summary as always BL.

What impressed me most about Foxx was his patience in the wildcat. For a guy who hasn't been back there often, he sure looked like he knew what to do back there.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
27,132
Reaction Score
66,697
First, kudos for sitting though the game, that's a huge effort on its own.

Your sixth paragraph was right on the money. Translation; I agree with it.

And if it was a veiled shot at me. I never said that Diaco didn't "want" to win. I have consistently said he hasn't made it priority. That he hasn't focused on winning or game planning.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
22,350
Reaction Score
5,663
First, kudos for sitting though the game, that's a huge effort on its own.

Your sixth paragraph was right on the money. Translation; I agree with it.

And if it was a veiled shot at me. I never said that Diaco didn't "want" to win. I have consistently said he hasn't made it priority. That he hasn't focused on winning or game planning.

No, it wasn't a shot at you. Plenty here have expressed that view. But it's not a yes or no issue. There is a reason closers don't get the ball for two innings in June, and it's about balancing winning one game with taking the team where you want to take it over the long haul.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
22,836
Reaction Score
9,464
Right on point BL. And here's the good news. As I'm sure many of you were thinking during the game---what if Foxx as the wild dog could actually throw the ball.....! Well, I was told after the game by a player in the know that he's a good passer (was a QB in high school) and wink wink--don't be surprised to see that in the repertoire. One other thing. Mike Cummings was asked to help Foley with the O-Line so the line techniques would be oriented more to the play calling. I'm not sure about the how and why of all that but was told it helped a lot, especially with Knappe. I guess it's all part of the process. Can't wait for NYC.

There has been tinkering all season long, by my eye, with the line splits and footwork. (Spacing between the lineman, and their stance/first steps) THe kinds of plays and the kind of offense you can run, always and forever starts up front with those 5 guys. If you can space them out, and get them in an open stance to start - and still be able to both run block and pass block out of it - you can do all kinds of stuff on offense. If you need to pack them in close and have them in tight with their stance and footwork, to be able to block, you are going to be limited. This is only by my observation only, I have not contacts to speak of with regarding this, but my guess is that we started out in September trying to run the kinds of spacing and splits and stances we are using now, but the players weren't capable of it - Foley took that I formation base offense and narrowed the work down for the OL, to try to get some kind of consistent blocking going, and recently - the bye weeks leading up to ECU, they must have opened it back up again.

One glaring example, there was an off-tackle left run, at one point, where Knappe came out of his stance at RT, and was able to pull all the way across the back of the formation to make the seal block. Phew - no way that was happening early in the season, the lineman were tripping all over themselves in pulling and trapping. A sign of the kind of potential that player has. Levy, is developing decent footwork, remaining grounded, while blocking and still moving to actually be in position to make the blocks. The interior line is improving too. This is has been consistent improvement all season long.

Anway. Nice to see the view again. I think you are off on your eval of Obi , BL.

Most important take home thing for me, is that we got the W, and it's time to move on, and realize that it did end up being a one possession game late, with our defense on the field. That's BAD. Next most important thing is that without the weather on our side, the outcome of that game is potentially much different. We overcame and won, but to think that all is well, is not true. Lots of work to do.
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
4,202
Reaction Score
10,725
Honestly, that weather was dangerous yesterday. 40 and wet is much worse than zero and dry. Good lord.

I honestly don't know what we have in Diaco. Can he be a good game day coach and strategist? Is his recruiting strategy going to work? I just don't know. I am very comfortable though, with his ability to keep young men focused and motivated. These kids could easily have packed it in against ECU and UCF, especially given the loss of leadership in Jones and Davis. Diaco also knows the defensive side of the ball, which is not a surprise.

BL, I agree that yesterday could be looked at as a fluke and I think on a dry warm day we don't win that one. But, we are beginning to see some positive signs for the future:
  • The defense will be very good next season. I really like what I see in the young Junior Joseph, Summers and Ornsby. We will need some depth to develop in the secondary.
  • The OL has some promise and Levy and Knappe have made enormous progress. I am really hoping that a year in the weight room and a year further removed from those duck*ing idiots who previously ran this thing yield further improvement and depth with this unit.
  • In Johnson and Newsome we have some real talent. Newsome, to my eye, is a half step and some time in the weight room from being a game changer. He's paying dues right now. If we can balance the offense and get some more development of the OL, I think we will get back to being a very good running team.
  • Thank heavens Whitmer came back this season and the kid deserves all the credit in the world for his courage and character. That said, he does not read the field well or quickly - he just doesn't.
  • I have no idea what Diaco is doing with Boyle.
  • QB next season is a GIANT unknown. It is my very strong sense that Diaco wants to go dual threat. I think the transfer from NCST is going to have every opportunity to win the job. I think we will desperately need to bring in a 5th year transfer or JUCO to assure some semblance of depth. I think Boyle is athletic enough to play in that type of offense.....I think.
  • Diaco's first recruiting class is....well.....interesting. If nothing else, Olie may have some kids to bring in for practice. Diaco, I think much like Edsall, has accepted UCONN's limitations in recruiting and is clearly looking for athletes to develop. We have to seriously hope he and the staff know what they are doing on this front.
I'm a huge fan and burn my lungs out at these games. But, folks, we are not running five straight to end the season. I am looking for a very competitive team next season to win 7 games and I think 2016 we might be in position to make some noise. I think Diaco started planning for 2016 the moment he stepped in the door.
 

Waquoit

Mr. Positive
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
32,610
Reaction Score
84,100
This win goes a long way to validating BD's approach. Let's win out. Why the heck not?
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Messages
7,358
Reaction Score
24,147
This win goes a long way to validating BD's approach


True, Diaco has also changed his approach on offense hasn't he? The offensive style that put up all those points yesterday in no way resembles the approach that was used earlier in the season vs Tulane. I think the staff has improved as much as the players if not more so.

That is not a problem BTW, successful managers always look to improve their own approach while the stubborn ones fail. I just hope option football is here to stay. Football has always been a copy cat game and we need to keep pace.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
6,374
Reaction Score
16,572
BL ... for the first time in awhile, I came to your section to look for you. As my friends here know, I quickly made myself MIA. Finding any spot in that stadium that had the least semblance of warmth and no wind. Some portions of play were under heaters in the Men's room.

all good ... and I do think - I said this to myself - that UCF just packed it up emotionally. Things got easier for the hungry Huskies. I would say that Foxx run was a game-changer but there were other elements.

Obi or Graham Stewart? Could be both opinions are right. They both make obvious errors and brain freeze moments. I won't vote either way. Obi should have knocked that one ball 10 yards over the side. Graham - too often - gives the edge. I really don't know what improvement or consistency developed; but, I do see more evidence of physical superior play - as mentioned.

Cummings working with Foley? Hot damn. But, that cannot be a revelation. I think WE all could see - as Diaco could - that the OLine was a HUGE HHUUUUUGEE problem. Foley was kept; Cummings with certainly good credibility at previous stops (Eric Fisher) ... both came with the assignment to work with and develop the young-uns. I bet that was from Day ONE. If we are developing skillsets to help with more spread or other assignement football, I would think that's the obvious push for this group. I see less Rutherford. I see less Crozier. They aren't subbing and running the John Calipari system anymore. That does not mean - to my way of thinking - that both (plus Oak, Hashemi, others) aren't in deep development mode. We do need more attention to how this goes forward.

We aren't a team that could have won at USF or Tulane. We sucked. I think we have developed a "suck less" venture.

I like our Nose Tackles. I love the development of some of the D kids. And finally ... the Noel Thomas week arrived; with Bradley, Lamelle, Lucas days are still possible.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
10,475
Reaction Score
2,657
A win is a win. UCF really stunk it it up, so we should not get too excited and think that we have turned some magical corner. The line play has really improved on both sides. Pass protection for sure and we are getting pressure with only 3 linemen on D. The play calling improved, especially the Whitmer called runs. Diaco said that they had really worked on some of this stuff in practice. I saw improvement the last two weeks and that's all we can ask for at this point.

See you at Yankee Stadium next week.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
27,132
Reaction Score
66,697
No, it wasn't a shot at you. Plenty here have expressed that view. But it's not a yes or no issue. There is a reason closers don't get the ball for two innings in June, and it's about balancing winning one game with taking the team where you want to take it over the long haul.
I have always believed you can learn as much winning as you can losing. Failing to game plan for BYU sent a message and the team --and got it. He is finally talking about winning (and rewriting history), he is acting like he is getting it. And I think the team is responding to that.

Of course, it's a lot easier when nothing is on the line.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
6,374
Reaction Score
16,572
How could you not have found me? by the end of the game there were less than 20 people in the entire section

I haven't seen you in a few years. Were you wearing a hat?
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
7,501
Reaction Score
15,690
How could you not have found me? by the end of the game there were less than 20 people in the entire section
BL...If you looked to your right...I was the guy in the camo coat..
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2011
Messages
2,797
Reaction Score
4,910
You had to feel good about our chances when UCF chose to stretch pre-game inside. I was hoping for a Memphis redux, and while UCF showed up, they seemed to have left their heart in the locker room.

I like the view, but would respectfully disagree on #2. His angles are bad, his tackling suspect, and if I were a complete stranger he might be the 20th guy I would guess suited up and played for a really good Florida team. Maybe the injury and time off are still impacting his game.

I had to leave at the half to get to my kids HS game, but this team really seems markedly differnt from the product served up in Tampa and Nawlins. Can they get on a roll like we saw at the end of last year?
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
3,939
Reaction Score
7,871
When Foxx was at QB there were times when either he or Johnson would have had huge gains if the handoff or keeper had been decided the other way. This offense could yield big plays for us going forward. On one Johnson TD, Foxx could have walked into the endzone if he had pulled the ball. As for Stewart he is outside contain and too often he is head up or inside shoulder as the play comes his way and he can't disengage in time or is blocked leading to big gains. In the future I want to see 6'3" or 6'4" players at this position with longer arms and speed so they can't be blocked as easy and can be more of a pass rushing threat. Diggs and Stapleton fit that profile currently.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
8,177
Reaction Score
21,418
You had to feel good about our chances when UCF chose to stretch pre-game inside. I was hoping for a Memphis redux, and while UCF showed up, they seemed to have left their heart in the locker room.

I like the view, but would respectfully disagree on #2. His angles are bad, his tackling suspect, and if I were a complete stranger he might be the 20th guy I would guess suited up and played for a really good Florida team. Maybe the injury and time off are still impacting his game.

I had to leave at the half to get to my kids HS game, but this team really seems markedly differnt from the product served up in Tampa and Nawlins. Can they get on a roll like we saw at the end of last year?

If they left the heart in the locker room, they would have rolled over down 16. I don't think that is a fair statement considering the weather. It cheapens our win also.
 

SubbaBub

Your stupidity is ruining my country.
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
32,160
Reaction Score
24,813
When Foxx was at QB there were times when either he or Johnson would have had huge gains if the handoff or keeper had been decided the other way. This offense could yield big plays for us going forward. On one Johnson TD, Foxx could have walked into the endzone if he had pulled the ball. As for Stewart he is outside contain and too often he is head up or inside shoulder as the play comes his way and he can't disengage in time or is blocked leading to big gains. In the future I want to see 6'3" or 6'4" players at this position with longer arms and speed so they can't be blocked as easy and can be more of a pass rushing threat. Diggs and Stapleton fit that profile currently.

Watching Foxx blur down the sideline is easily the highlight of the season brought a level of joy not seen at the Rent in years (maybe back to DB's 4th down run vs. Pitt). But, that offense is predicated on having a game changing athlete that we haven't had a lot of success at bringing to UConn. Power running w/ a competent passer is the long term solution for a northern school without a lot of cache. I don't see another guy like Foxx on the roster right now, who I've recently come to realize has a future on Sundays. The kid can run in the open field.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Online statistics

Members online
354
Guests online
2,197
Total visitors
2,551

Forum statistics

Threads
157,362
Messages
4,096,507
Members
9,984
Latest member
stanfordnyc


Top Bottom