Knappe likely out for opener

John F. Silver

UConn right tackle Andreas Knappe wasn’t at open practice on Monday and with good reason. The converted sophomore right tackle is nursing a leg injury and his chances of playing in the season opener is unlikely per Desmond Connor of the Hartford Courant, who talked with head coach Bob Diaco after a breakfast at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce.

Knappe was locked in a camp battle with Dalton Gifford at right tackle and appeared to have the edge. Knappe, from Denmark, is in his first season as an offensive lineman after being converted from the defensive line this past spring. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound Knappe has the size and strength of a prototypical tackle prospect.

Gifford, who started late last season, now appears to be the odds on favorite to start at right tackle against BYU in the opener on Aug. 29.

“He’s coming around. It’s going to be awhile,” Diaco said. “I mean awhile in terms of is he going to participate against BYU, I don’t think so. We’ll see what the athletic trainer says.”


Creating separation in QB depth


John F. Silver

The redshirt year of a player is valuable. When that player is a quarterback, a fifth year becomes such an incredible advantage it would take a special player to not take it (imagine UConn’s Dan Orlovsky with a fifth year in 2004?).

In almost all circumstances, a fifth year QB will be more productive than a first-year quarterback, and when UConn head coach Bob Diaco talked about protecting sophomore Tim Boyle, it was protecting that fifth year.

Tim BoyleBoyle was pushed into action, a decision that Diaco is highly critical of, and with it the 0-4 record, the zero touchdowns and eight interceptions, and the  44 percent passing against USF, Louisville, UCF and SMU were essentially a waste of a year. Boyle wasn’t ready last year and was pushed into action out of desperation.  It was an awful experience for Boyle. Pushed into action when other viable options were around and not much gained from the endeavor except how to take a humbling. His talent and skill set are superior to Cochran and Chandler Whitmer. But, quarterbacking takes times. Giving him a year to digest the offense and allow a proper training is going to pay off down the road.

The Huskies aren’t desperate now. Diaco, with the help of several small injuries that has slowed Boyle, have committed to gaining that year back as he sits out as the third quarterback.

Here’s Diaco on Boyle:

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Diaco at QB: A bold move, a risky one

John F. Silver

Bob Diaco brought in his four quarterbacks and then talked about them — right in front of them — analyzing their strengths and weaknesses.

Casey Cochran is the starter, Chander Whitmer is the key backup. Both will play.

It was the first major decision for Diaco as a head coach and it was a risky one.

If Diaco picked Cochran, no one would have said a word. If Diaco picked Whitmer, no one would have batted an eye-lash. If Diaco picked Tim Boyle as the starter and said the program hangs its hat on his potential, there would be euphoria. The selection of a quarterback is like naming a general for your army. There should be only one general in charge.

That’s conventional thinking. Diaco is not conventional. Instead, Diaco went with the unconventional setup that will leave him open to second-guessing.  Diaco’s setup makes sense to him.

“They just do different things better than the other guy,” Diaco said. “When we are going to do those things in the game, why wouldn’t we ask the guys to do those things? (not doing that) doesn’t make sense to me.”

Makes perfect sense. But, there are few cases where it has actually worked. That is what makes him going out on this limb bold. Yes, it’s risky, but it also shows Diaco has conviction in what he’s doing.

“Hopefully, it works out,” Diaco said.  “If not you guys will be chasing me with torches and pitchforks. “

The point Diaco was making on Monday is there are no winners and losers in the quarterback competition. That kind of competition, winner-take-all, isn’t how UConn manages any other position.  If you have a good run defensive tackle, and a good rush defensive tackle, why would you not utilize both in those situations?

Diaco is doing that at the QB position.

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McCombs enrolled at Rhode Island

John F. Silver

Former UConn running back Lyle McCombs, the fourth leading rusher in school history, has enrolled at Rhode Island and will complete his final year of eligibility in Kingston.

McCombs, who was enrolled in summer classes this month, was removed from the team in June after a confluence of events. McCombs was arrested twice in his time and was involved in several other incidents that caused the university to move on. He was scheduled to graduate from the school this summer.

McCombs will play for Jim Fleming, former UCF assistant and Sacred Heart University head coach.



Davis not only WR to watch

John F. Silver

Everyone knows about Geremy Davis in the American Athletic Conference. [/sny-editorial.


When you have the size of Davis, 6-3, 217-pounds, and then the production — 71 catches, 1,085 yards — it’s hard not to notice. UConn’s offense is going to revolve around getting the ball to Davis in the passing game. He’s a big play threat and a red zone target and one of the few players on the offense that can make a play with sheer size and ability and not a designed play.

The wide receiver position is far from a one-man team. The Huskies haven’t been this deep and talented and wide receiver in quite some time and with concerns on the offensive line, running back, tight end and quarterbacks, remains the one constant on the offense.

The Huskies have depth at wide receiver. The Huskies have size at wide receiver. The Huskies have speed at wide receiver.

Davis has proven that he can produce. Now it’s time for the other receivers to step in.

Davis will command so much attention it should allow a players such as Deshon Foxx free reign on the opposite side. Foxx caught 43 passes for 534 yards last year and if you think of Davis as the physical red zone threat, Foxx is the home run threat. He’s the fastest player on the team and has worked on his craft immensely since being converted from running back three years ago.

“I want to take some pressure off (Davis),” Foxx said. “So the defense won’t be focused on Geremy and we can get him some jump balls, me some slants. We just keep working and Geremy is a great football player. “

The Huskies’ wide receiver corps also goes deep with young players.

There a host of freshmen and sophomores led by Dhameer Bradley, Noel Thomas and Brian LeMelle along with redshirt freshman Thomas Lucas.

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Camp notes: QBs progressing, firece battles

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn. — UConn coach Bob Diaco is closer to naming a starting quarterback for the season opener against BYU.

Who it will be?

Well, he isn’t quite sure just yet. The competition is close between Casey Cochran, Tim Boyle and Chandler Whitmer. He wants to name a starter in the next week, so if someone is going to make a move, this week is the time to do it.

“No one player has clearly separated,”Diaco said during a press briefing Monday. Each one has had their moments of things that are very positive and very negative. We are pleased with all three.”

Here’s the most important quote about quarterbacks that Diaco said on Friday:

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Judge rules for O’Bannon in NCAA likeness case

John F. Silver

Was Power 5 autonomy not enough?

The pillars of the NCAA came down again on Friday as a federal judge ruled in favor of former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon in the use if his image and likeness.

In a 99-page ruling, federal judge rules that prohibiting athletes from being paid for use of their names, images and likeness violate antitrust law because it “unreasonably restrain trade.” The ruling also allows for trust funds to be established for athletes to share in licensing revenue.

CBS Sports writer Jon Solomon has an excellent breakdown of the decision that ended the 5-year O’Bannon case:

A 99-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued an injunction “that will enjoin the NCAA from enforcing any rules or bylaws that would prohibit its member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues generated from the use of their names, images, and likenesses in addition to a full grant-in-aid.” Wilken said the injunction will not prevent the NCAA from implementing rules capping the amount of money that may be paid to college athletes while they are enrolled in school, but the NCAA will not be allowed to set the cap below the cost of attendance.



The Autonomy concerns: Keeping up with the Joneses

John F. Silver

 Everyone loves the autonomy of the “Power 5″ conferences. The move on Thursday by the NCAA Board of Directors to give the major conferences more say in how they do things was treated with almost universal support from the big athletic crowd.

Unless you are at Boise State, which is vehemently against this move, or a member of the Ivy and Colonial on philosophical grounds, this is exactly what you were looking for. The producers having a say in how they spend their money. It will give players a stipend, allow conferences to adapt quicker and allow the highest divisions in college athletics to meet the needs. The rules can’t be the same for Texas and Texas State. They are playing on different levels.

UConn moved up to Division I-A over a decade ago so it wouldn’t be left behind in this mix. The prophetic former athletic director in Lew Perkins rightly saw the football dominance coming and positioned UConn to be a part of it.

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DB Clark no longer with team

John F. Silver

UConn junior defensive back Tyree Clark is no longer a member of the football team the school confirmed on Friday.

Clark reported to camp last Friday, but is no longer practicing with team.  Clark, played in seven games last year for the Huskies and had 12 tackles. No reason was given for his departure. UConn head coach Bob Diaco will have his next media availability on Monday.

Clark was part of a crowded and talented secondary that is the strength of the defense. Corners Byron Jones and Jhavon Williams are the starters with Jamar Summers and Javon Hadley next on the depth chart.  The Huskies also have David Stevenson, a junior, in the mix and recently moved true freshman Brice McAllister to corner during training camp and have athlete and true freshman Anthony Watkins also working there.




American Athletic commissioner Mike Aresco on autonomy

John F. Silver

American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco released a statement supporting the NCAA Board of Directors on Power 5 autonomy:  

“We are pleased that the NCAA Governance Redesign Model was adopted today by the NCAA Board of Directors. We extend our congratulations to Dr. Nathan Hatch and to the NCAA Steering Committee for its excellent work in designing a model that we believe will enjoy broad acceptance. We also appreciate the exemplary efforts of our NCAA Board representative, Dr. John Hitt of UCF, and our Conference Board chair, Dr. Gerald Turner of SMU, who were deeply engaged in this process.

“Our conference membership supports the new governance model and the opportunities it will present to enhance the student-athlete experience and student-athlete welfare. Our presidents and athletic directors are steadfast in their commitment to these ideals and also to providing our student-athletes with the ability to compete at the highest level of collegiate athletics.”