Through two games, UConn's offense is a mess; the passing game is inconsistent, the running game is nonexistent, and both could be exposed Saturday when Michigan comes to town. The one thing that has changed from the two previous 5-7 seasons: offensive coordinator.
Coach Paul Pasqualoni's long-time friend George DeLeone was demoted this spring and T.J. Weist was hired in his place. Weist, formerly a wide receivers coach at Cincinnati, arrived in Storrs with a clear vision for how to revitalize this offense. Two losses into the season and it hasn't happened.
"Personally, I think it needs to be better," Weist said earlier this week, according to the Hartford Courant. "Did we make enough plays to win the game (against Maryland)? Statistics really mean nothing. You can say what you want, that we made more plays and we did this and did that, but when you look at it on Sunday and watch film we have to make better plays and I have to. It is my job and our job as an offensive staff to say, 'OK, what is the defense giving us? What is the best call in the situation, especially late in the game in critical situations …
"I'm just like any player who doesn't make a play," Weist continued. "I have to evaluate, did I make the right calls at the right time, what do I have to adjust to? I've got a whole new set of play-calls, a whole new set of situations coming for Michigan so I have to say, how am I calling plays? Am I calling them fast enough? Are they clear enough? Are they adjusting to the defense the correct way? I think we're coming together as an offensive staff, as a full staff, me getting to know all the guys, how we handle game situations and my players."
Sounds good, but the reality is that without a running game, defenses will continue to tee off on quarterback Chandler Whitmer.
"It's a combination of everything," Weist explained of the running-game woes. "Sometimes it is the blocking. Sometimes it could be one guy missing his block, sometimes it could be a perimeter block. We had a play Saturday where if the receiver blocks for Lyle [McCombs] on the screen it's a touchdown. Instead, it's a 9-yard gain but if he just keeps leverage on his block it's a touchdown."
On Saturday, we'll find out if this is the week everything finally comes together for this unit.