UConn spring football practice notes.
STORRS: It feels like December. We’ve got a little more snow coming and a few more days of bone chilling weather coming our way.
What better time to talk UConn football?
On Monday, head coach Bob Diaco ran his team through their fourth practice of the spring, this one coming with the players fresh off spring break.
You don’t need to walk far when you enter the Robert H Burton football facility to see some landscape changes in the way of motivational materials lining the walls.
“Ne Te Quaesiveris Xtra” or “Do not seek outside of yourself” has taken the place of “All In” the slogan used by last year’s interim coach T.J. Weist.
“You Earn Winning. You also earn losing”, was another addition to the ever present motivational slogans meant to help the players believe and but into what the energetic Diaco is preaching.
For 20 minutes or so, reporters got to watch the beginning of the Huskies practice which featured stretching, team drills and one on one competition on the line.
Casey Cochran, who led the team to three straight wins in closing out 2013, worked with Tim Boyle, Chandler Whitmer and Michael Ecke and the quarterbacks coach on footwork drills.
Who will take the top spot on the depth chart this season amongst the first three, who all saw action during the disappointing 3-9 campaign a year ago?
Whitmer started the season and played well in a close loss to Michigan but could not get his offense moving on a consistent basis.
Boyle looked good out of the gate but struggled after a strong opener against USF and lost his starting job to Cochran.
Cochran ended the year with a 63.4 pass completion rate and rang up the stat sheet in his last game with four touchdowns and a school record 461 yards against Memphis.
It appears to be an open competition between all four, Diaco has said that he will be evaluating everyone on his roster this season before naming anybody a starter.
One player who stuck out on Monday, as he did all of last season when he had a tremendous junior year, Geremy Davis, looked strong in all drills.
The redshirt senior got a pat on the back from the head coach for his efforts during the one on one blocking drill in which he manhandled his opponent on the other side of the line.
Davis had a break out 2013, leading the team in receptions with 71 and yards with 1085 with his best game coming in the teams last when he caught 15 balls, good for 207 yards.
After the initial portion of the practice, Diaco brought his team together and advised them to “Raise their level of intensity, raise your level of focus.”
Diaco comes to Connecticut looking to rescue a program that has seen better days and has a long way to go if it wants to get back to winning, something pretty common with a majority of UConn sports programs.
The men and women’s basketball teams are coming off strong seasons, the women are running over their competition so far this year and will play in the NCAA second round on Tuesday night when they face St Joseph at Gampel Pavilion.
Kevin Ollie and the men are heading to the Sweet 16 and a date with Iowa State on Friday in New York City at Madison Square Garden.
Turning a program around that has posted a 13-23 record over the last three will be no easy task for the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator but based on the energy and attention to detail witnessed in the first few practices, Diaco appears to be up to the task.
Will his team follow his lead? Only time will tell.