It's been a recurring theme in the nearly six months Bob Diaco has been on the job: The Huskies, a team that has a combined 13-23 record the last three seasons, needs to learn how to win. It's a multi-step process that started the day he was hired. And while it's not yet officially summer, the 2014 opener against BYU -- and any progress that has been made in the offseason -- is less than three months away.
But that's not exactly how Diaco is approaching his first year on the sidelines.
”I say, don’t look at the countdown clock to BYU or our car will veer off the road,” the coach told SNY.com's John Silver last week. “We aren’t at the point where our eyes can be off the road. We have to look at every step we take. Every step we take. We are like a new born baby, a baby tries and walks, it takes everything the baby has to function and stay on its feet. That is where we are as a program."
Continuing the newborn simile, is it possible for the UConn football program is advanced for its age and goes from back-to-back-to-back losers to playoff team?
In a word, yes.
"It has to do with your out of conference schedule," Diaco said. "The strength of that will allow you to get into that game if you win your conference. You play four cupcakes, and another team that plays a couple of national recognized power football teams, someone plays four cupcakes, they will take the other team. The out of conference schedule will have a lot to do with who goes to the show. That show is the (Access Bowl), the college football playoff is another issue…”
But Diaco is uninterested in looking so far ahead. Instead, he sounds like a man who has long-term goals and clear plans to get there, but he remains focused on the day-to-day minutiae that is required to accomplish those goals.
“[The team] returned [for summer workouts on June 2] and we had our first workout and the coaches can be involved now,” Diaco said. “When you go back to our first workout in the winter, it looked nothing alike. We couldn’t get through workout 1 in the winter. Not saying we crushed workout 1 in the summer, but they clearly left after finals and slept and ate right — collectively — and ate right and trained. They picked up Monday where they left off. We don’t have to spend two weeks in June to get back where we were in the middle of May…our guys show a level of commitment and want to and investment that we got a chance to see the other day.”