Diaco and his endless patience.
TORRINGTON: It’s hard to imagine how UConn head coach Bob Diaco maintains his positive, upbeat approach to a situation that to the rest of the world just looks awful.
His Huskies come back home this Saturday to take on Temple at Rentschler Field at 4 p.m. after a tough to witness 17-14 loss to USF on Friday in Florida.
To his credit, Diaco has said all along that his program and team was going to need time and patience from a world that wants instant gratification yesterday.
“We’re playing a young, immature team,” Diaco said during his Monday morning conference call. “They continue to play hard and I’m proud of them for that.”
He’s been brutally honest about his team as well, reminding folks that they are not a very good football team, yet.
Yet is the key word.
You do see differences in this team this year compared to last.
The defense played well in every game with the exception of the first half against BYU but that was BYU.
The kicking game has been a non-issue all season with consistent efforts from Bobby Puyol (5-5 in FG) and Justin Wain (41.8 average) while the return game has gotten a punt return from Deshon Foxx for a touchdown in week two.
Defensively, the Huskies need help from their offense so they can get off the field but they have overall played pretty well.
They may have taken a step back on Friday against a team you may have thought they could beat, especially when you saw how well they played against Boise State at home the week before, but Diaco had seen enough on the team’s first series on offense a strip sack of Chandler Whitmer resulted in a turnover which USF turned into the game’s first points.
The day Diaco does not have to address a turnover on his teams opening drive that results in points for the opposition will be a great one for the first year head coach for certain.
Changing a culture of losing doesn’t happen over-night because it didn’t begin in that fashion.
“We have to stop the things that create losing,” Diaco has said on many occasions this year and until the Huskies do, folks who don’t want to be are going to have to be patient.
NOTES: Temple comes to “The Rent” on Saturday in a 4 p.m. start.
The Owls sport a 2-1 record and will be playing their first conference game against a Huskies team that got their first win a year ago in Philadelphia when they scored 28 second half points to win 28-21.
“They have some good, physical guys,” Diaco said. “Their defensive front is a physical front that plays good, rugged football.”
Temple scorched Delaware State by a 59-0 score last week and ran for almost 200 yards with three different runners in on the carries.
UConn is ranked 26th in the nation in punt returns with a 13.67 average. The Huskies also rank 46th in net punting (39.07) thanks to Wain and the coverage teams.
They are 68th in the country in penalties with 23 (206 yards).
The bad news is where the most work is needed.
120 out of 125 in rushing per game at 62.5 and sacks allowed at 122 with 17 given up.
Only Miami (OH with 18) and AAC foe SMU (21) have more.
The crack the top 100 at 100 in passing yards with 189 per game.