First-year coach Bob Diaco certainly sounds the part of hard-nosed football coach with a plan. But ultimately, he won't be judged on spring or summer workouts, but instead on the same measure that sealed Paul Pasqualoni's fate: Wins and losses. And like Pasqualoni -- and every other FBS coach in the country -- much of that success (or failure) is determined by the ability to recruit.
Last week, the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller asked Diaco about his philosophy when it comes to handing out scholarships, which seems to be somewhat more liberal than Pasqualoni's approach in previous years.
"You are going to sell a car, how many people are you going to talk to about buying it?" Diaco said. "If you want to sell one car, you have to talk to about 20 people so the recruiting board is full of guys we would really like to have. We may only have one spot so first one in ... Everybody understands the landscape, the PSA (prospective student-athletes) understand the landscape, the guardians understand the landscape and the coaches understand the landscape. This is all over the country, not just at UConn."
As for the recruiting geography, Diaco and his staff are primarily focused on the Northeast, from Boston to Buffalo and all the way down to Northern Virginia. But there's still the old-school need to beat the proverbial bushes. And that's exactly what has happened since Diaco was hired in December.
“By end of spring recruiting season we went to every single Connecticut high school,” Diaco said.” "We went to every single Connecticut high school whether there was a player or not. It was predominantly well received. Some (coaches) liked the old guys. We have to win them over with care and a consistent approach. If they have a player, we will give an honest evaluation of our needs and how their players fit into our needs. We are going to go in every single spot.”
It all sounds good but the Huskies don't yet have a commitment in its 2015 class. But that should change soon; the school will host six high school players later this month, not to mention the regular non-stop recruiting process.
“We are going to recruit our footprint like it’s our home state,” Diaco said. “New York, all five boroughs. Massachusetts completely, Eastern Pennsylvania to Northern Virginia — a round semi-circle, portion of Virginia, D.C. and up to Baltimore then Delaware and straight up the coast, which is whole state of New Jersey.”