As expected UConn has hired T.J. Weist as the new offensive coordinator, replacing George DeLeone, who had served in the role the last two years. Weist, the former Cincinnati wide receivers coach, is now tasked with getting one of the country's least productive offenses on track for 2013.
“I believe that you win games running the ball and throwing the football," Weist said in comments distributed by the university. "I’m not going to characterize us as a run the football or throw the football team, but I want to be an aggressive play caller. I want to spread the field; vertically and horizontally. Based on personnel, I want to be able to attack and have a physical offense with a balance to it. We can throw deep; no question. We just need to get the ball to our playmakers. I think we’re going to put our players in the best position to make plays.”
As a side note, we hope this means the end to the wildcat. We like Scott McCummings, and think he has a place in this offense, but we made it clear on several occasions that DeLeone's wildcat packages only exacerbated things.
One of the criticisms of this offense has been the lack of big-play talent. That was more the case in 2011, Paul Pasqualoni's first year as coach, but less so in 2012. Weist was asked if he sees any playmakers currently on the roster.
“One of the first things I did and will continue to do is evaluate the personnel," he said. "You’ve got to look at your people and see what you can do well. I was pleased, at times, with what I saw because I saw guys making plays. Obviously, you can always find areas where you can do better at, but it’s the ability to continue drives that win ballgames, it’s not just the big plays. I was enthused with [seeing] some of the skill guys we have here and knowing that most of the line is coming back.”
Weist also addressed the elephant in the room: DeLeone remains on staff, he just won't be calling plays.
“First, coach DeLeone is one of the most respected coaches in the industry. When I walk in the door, one thing I want to do is learn from him. I’m excited to learn from him, talk football with him, work with him, coach with him, learn from the experience he has had as the offensive coordinator here and try to make it better.
"I have so much respect for him and I’m looking forward to spending time with him. We’ve got the same goal, so I think that’s what it comes down to. I think we’re going to work together well and think he’s a valuable asset to all of us here.”