Mike Cummings is the new offensive coordinator under new Huskies coach Bob Diaco and he arrives in Storrs knowing very little about a program that won just three times in 2013, and that was after back-to-back 5-7 seasons under Paul Pasqualoni.
"I've heard some stories about the quarterbacks," Cummings said, via the Hartford Courant. "I watched the quarterback [in the final two games]. I have familiarity with [Casey Cochran]. So that's about it right now. He came in, I met him, he's a good guy. He seems like quite a competitor from what I saw on the field."
Cochran, the redshirt freshman who came on late last season and led the Huskies to three straight wins, has to be the favorite, although such things are hard to predict when a new coaching staff comes on the scene. A year ago, Chandler Whitmer was the frontrunner before he was replaced midseason by true freshman Tim Boyle, who gave way to Cochran a few weeks later.
Whomever's under center, they should benefit from Cummings calling the plays. At Central Michigan, where Cummings was the offensive coordinator the previous four seasons, his offense was ranked in the Top 25 in the country in passing in 2010 and 2011. And in 2012, the unit averaged 6.2 yards per snap and scored 30 points 10 times. And Cummings feels that success can happen at UConn too.
"There's no doubt it's applicable to UConn," he said. "The way this team is going to be built is very similar to what we have done, in terms of the personnel. We had to run the football. But as you run the football, you have to be balanced. You want to use that running game to set up a play-action pass, then use the controlled passing game and throw it down the field. You've got to be able to do those things. You've got to be able to take your shots. That's what we want to do on offense."
Ultimately, any success will be predicated on the talent and Cummings concedes that he's not yet familiar with the Huskies' roster. Depending on what he finds, he may have to be flexible with the type of offense UConn can run, something he's also familiar with.
"When we went to Central Michigan, we had a plan for what we were going to do to install the offense," Cummings said. "When we got there, the personnel dictated that we couldn't do what we wanted to do. So we tailored that plan. I think anybody that's going to be successful is going to tailor their plan. Their vision is going to be one thing, but you've got to tailor that to the personnel that you have."