Tuesday presser: Diaco talks future

John F. Silver

STORRS, Conn. — UConn head coach Bob Diaco doesn’t have any answers right now.

He asked if there were any questions for him during his weekly media day teleconference.

There weren’t many questions, and fewer good ones.

The truth is, there isn’t much to talk about right now for the 2-7 UConn football team.

That number kind of hangs around the weight of the program . It isn’t unexpected, not in the least and certainly not from me. Diaco has warned of the problems with this team since I talked in his office in June. Every issue has played out.

Diaco never promised wins this year. Never. There are reasons why winning was going to be difficult this season and all of it, experience, physical development, depth and scheme have all come back to haunt the Huskies at one time or the other. That us how building from the ground up looks like.

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UConn football: Cincinnati next, Memphis time set

The UConn football team is playing out the string here in 2014.

UConn’s game on Saturday against Memphis at Rentschler Field will be at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

The Huskies’ game on Nov. 29 at Memphis, a surprise contender in the American, will take place at 4: p.m. and be aired on ESPN News.

UConn is coming off a 35-21 loss to Army two weeks ago, and had its final bye week of the year last week. The Huskies play Cincinnati, at Memphis and are then home on Dec. 6 against Southern Methodist.

Head coach Bob Diaco, who was on Brian Kelly’s staff at Cincinnati that went 12-0 and was ranked No. 3 in the country, raved about his experience there on Monday’s AAC conference call.

I loved it,” Diaco said.  I lived in this little town just northeast of the city, I loved living there, my family loved it… It was a very easy city to live in, very friendly, big city but kind of a Midwest feel, which is cool. I really liked that.”

John F. Silver

The Huskies, at 2-7 are now set to play out the string in conference. The Huskies will play two of the better teams in the league as Cincinnati, coming off a win over East Carolina, are 1/2 game out of first with surprising Memphis 5-1, 7-3 in conference.  Cincinnati and Memphis are the two favorites to win the league, and the Tigers face USF this Saturday and end the season against UConn at home on Nov. 29.  

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Silver’s Top 25 ballot: FSU deserves No. 1

Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) gestures to the crowd as the Florida State Seminoles beat the Miami Hurricanes 30-26 at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) gestures to the crowd as the Florida State Seminoles beat the Miami Hurricanes 30-26 at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

Florida State is the last power unbeaten. Why shouldn’t they be ranked No. 1? There comes a point in the process where winning trumps all. Winning should. One of the worst parts of the new college football playoff committee is wins and losses don’t matter anymore, it’s how you win or lose.  Style points?

One of the most frustrating parts of watching how this unfolds every week is the discounting of wins. To me, winning trumps style. EVERY TIME. Florida State has showed more moxie on the field than any team in the country this year. What does that count for? No. 1 in my book.

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The ballot: Silver’s AP Top 25

Nov 8, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeAndrew White (2) celebrates with teammates offensive lineman Ryan Kelly (70) and tight end Brian Vogler (84) after catching a touchdown against the LSU Tigers during the overtime of a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 20-13 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 8, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeAndrew White (2) celebrates with teammates offensive lineman Ryan Kelly (70) and tight end Brian Vogler (84) after catching a touchdown against the LSU Tigers during the overtime of a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 20-13 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

I was on the road at Yankee Stadium all day for UConn-Army, so didn’t catch much football live, but I did keep tabs on all the big games. Here’s what sticks out — Ohio State beating Michigan State like that shocks the entire process. Ohio State’s lone loss was to Va. Tech, and that was before JT Barrett got comfortable. Auburn losing to A&M knocks them out IMO from consideration. They are a 2-loss team that has gotten lucky. They aren’t among the Top 4 teams in the country. Alabama beats LSU in OT. LSU  is the best three-loss team I’ve ever seen. Arizona State wrecking Notre Dame was a surprise at the margin, not the result. I like TCU, but I have giving up 61 to Baylor on my brain with them. Baylor? They can’t play defense. I don’t trust them defensively in a big game.  

Full AP Poll here at 2 p.m.

So, in the end, the top four for me are Miss State, Florida State, Alabama and Oregon. Imagine an Alabama/FSU semifinal? I think only 1-SEC team gets in, the SEC title game winner even with two losses. There is a good chance that the SEC knocks itself out. That would be poetic justice and leave a lot of complaining and whining, which is good for college football.

As far as the G5 access bowl bid, Marshall is the team, Colorado State (and Boise) hovering and I threw Georgia Southern and its 8-2 record at No. 25. Ga. Southern lost to NC State by 1, and Ga Tech by 4. I don’t expect Georgia Southern to break through in the other 59 voters. But, I am not putting Texas A&M in.  One win over Auburn doesn’t undo 59-0 to Alabama and three losses to ranked teams.

Silver’s Top 25 ballot

1. Miss State

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Postgame: Anatomy of a final play

Nov 8, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer (10) rushes the ball against Army at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 8, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer (10) rushes the ball against Army at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

NEW YORK — Chandler Whitmer had just scrambled for 43 yards on three runs with the clock ticking down.

Whitmer had taken a couple of big hits and after consecutive rushes for 10 yards and 7 yards and had the Huskies inside the 10-yard at the six-yard line.

Think about what’s happening.

Let’s go into the moment.

UConn had just trailed 28-14 with 4 minutes to play, and after Whitmer engineered a miraculous rally with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Noel Thomas, then an onside kick recovery, and the Huskies were six yards from pulling the game out of the fire.

Whitmer got up from the hard hit down at the 6-yard line and with the clock running looked for a play. The Huskies were running around and the play was a bit late getting in. Players were running in on the field, and then off it. Whitmer looked around, perhaps out of breath, and considered calling UConn’s last time out.

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Gameday Preview: UConn at Army, 3:30 p.m

 PrintUConn (2-6) vs. Army (2-6)army

John Silver previews UConn vs. Army

Saturday: 3:30 p.m.

TV: CBS Sports Network

Place:  Yankee Stadium, New York

Line: UConn -4.5

Nov 1, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer (10) passes the ball against the UCF Knights in the first quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 1, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer (10) passes the ball against the UCF Knights in the first quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

In the Spotlight: UConn primed for run?

The skinny: UConn has four games left,what can it do?The Huskies are 2-6, and have four games left with one at Yankee Stadium and two at Rentschler Field with the only true road game at Memphis on Nov. 29.

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UConn football: Playing for the future

Nov 1, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies wide receiver Noel Thomas (5) runs the ball for a touchdown against the UCF Knights in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 1, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies wide receiver Noel Thomas (5) runs the ball for a touchdown against the UCF Knights in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29.  Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

John F. Silver

Bob Diaco always had a sober view of things at UConn.

For all his charisma and positive thinking, he never said things were going to be easy and that to expect a quick fix. To the contrary, especially with the attrition of plenty of rotation players (Shakim Phillips, Ty-Meer Brown, Lyle McCombs, David Stevenson, Tyree Clark just to name a few) the Huskies were left with inexperience and underdevelopment at many key positions.

So, while the preseason expectations may have been a bowl game for many outside the program, Diaco never uttered those words. Never.

After seven games, the Huskies are about where Diaco thought they would be.

The record isn’t good —  2-6. Not acceptable at any level.

Don’t confuse that with no talent.

The Huskies have players, many left over from deposed coach Paul Pasqualoni. Diaco, for all his sober assessment of where the team is, has lauded plenty of the young talent on the team.

He was quick to point that out on Tuesday as the Huskies prepare for Army on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. UConn’s not been a very good team. That doesn’t mean there isn’t the ingredients to make one.

For the record, there’s talent here. That’s from Diaco, not me. To read more of this story, click here