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Whitmer Thought About Leaving UConn

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Whitmer Thought About Leaving UConn

NBCConnecticut.com

UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer under center against Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.

In many respects, Chandler Whitmer was an innocent bystander last season. He happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and took most of the blame when Paul Pasqualoni stumbled early in his third season only to get canned before October. By the time it was over, the redshirt junior was 0-4 after throwing for 896 yards, five touchdowns, six interceptions and completing 55 percent of his passes.

He was the face of all that was wrong with the offense even though he had very little to do with the team's inability to consistently move the chains, much less score.

Whitmer was set to leave the program this offseason but a change in coaching staff, attitude and perspective kept him in Storrs and even though Casey Cocrhan was named the starter for 2014, it appears to be the right decision.

"I was out of the door," Whitmer said, according to the Hartford Courant, but after talking to new coach Bob Diaco -- who was up front and frank with the quarterback -- Whitmer decided to return.

Basically, Diaco said that if he wanted to run the scout team, signal in plays to the starting quarterback, and work his way up to something more, he'd be gladly accepted. Otherwise, it might be in his best interest to move on. Whitmer accepted.

"I wanted to come back, set the record straight and not leave UConn the way things ended last year," Whitmer said. "I wanted to change my attitude. I grew as a man. I credit to that to coach Diaco, the way he has changed the culture. He has increased the love. It's very easy for me to be a better teammate."

"Every day since, he has repaired, rebuilt and gained back the respect of his teammates," Diaco said. "He didn't have to gain back [the coaches'] respect. He got it through his actions."

Cochran, who has dropped 30 pounds since last season, has taken on a new approach to preparing for the season.

"I've transformed my body," he said. "I have a different lifestyle now and it feels amazing. The misconception is if you work as hard as you can in the weight room and running, you'll have a good body. I brought in eating aspects, diet and sleep."

And now not only is Whitmer in the good graces of those playing alongside him, but also those responsible for determining who plays and who doesn't.

"Every day since, he has repaired, rebuilt and gained back the respect of his teammates," Diaco said. "He didn't have to gain back [the coaches'] respect. He got it through his actions."

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