First-year coach Bob Diaco has made it clear that he aims to change the culture of losing that has plagued the football program in recent years.
"Everything needs a ton of work," the coach said back in May. "We're way behind having a chance to think about, talking about how we're gonna win games. Right now we're talking about how not to lose."
And while every new coach speaks in similar tones, Diaco's task is daunting because he'll have to do it with very few proven playmakers.
Case in point: Phil Steele's annual American Athletic Conference Preseason team features a whopping one player -- on offense, defense and special teams -- on the first team: wide receiver Geremy Davis.
The senior is certainly deserving of the honor; last season, Davis had 71 receptions for 1,085 yards and three touchdowns in an offense that could kindly be described as inconsistent. With running back Lyle McCombs no longer with the team, Davis' role becomes even bigger.
Center Alex Mateas earned fourth-team honors and cornerback Byron Jones was named to the second team.
Jones has flown under the radar in recent years because he's played alongside some really good players. But 2014 could be his breakout season. "Byron Jones is gonna be one of the best corners in America," Diaco said, via the Tampa Bay Times. "Not one of the best corners on our team, one of the best corners in the country."
And he's going to have to be if UConn is going to be competitive in Diaco's first season.