First-year UConn coach Bob Diaco has to be one of the most upbeat people in Storrs. After a 1-6 start -- including a five-game losing streak, he remained positive, remained confident that his plan would work. The only question was when it might all come together because rebuilding isn't an overnight process.
We saw glimpses of that plan last Saturday when the Huskies' offense exploded for 37 points in a win vs. UCF, and the as after a solid showing the week before against 18th-ranked ECU when quarterback Chandler Whitmer threw for more than 300 yards and the Huskies scored 21 points in a loss. And it's been the mix of young and experienced players coming together that have led to this new-found success.
"I never stood up here and said there weren't enough players to have a good team, not one time have I ever made any (statement) or insinuated that," Diaco said Tuesday, via the New Haven Register. "We've got enough players to have a good team but we are just not a good team. We are getting better and better every day and that is all I ever said. We have to work on eliminating losing, work on the things that cause winning. There are enough players to have a good team."
And that includes freshmen running backs Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson, who appear to be keys to UConn's future.
"They are going to be a problem (for opponents) -- Arkeel, Ron, (wide receiver) Noel (Thomas), Thomas Lucas, Dhameer Bradley, Brian Lemelle, Tommy Myers and Alec (Bloom), you are talking about first and second year players, they are impacting the games right now and imagine in two and a half years what it is going to look like," Diaco said.
It's hard not to take the coach seriously, even if everything he says is exceedingly upbeat despite the circumstances. The Huskies have another tough test this week when they face Army in Yankee Stadium.