Bob Diaco used 50 players in a sloppy first half against BYU last Friday, a game the Huskies eventually lost 35-10. If that number seems high, it should. But Diaco, UConn's first-year coach, has a plan.
He said Tuesday that he'll continue to rotate players at this fevered pitch for two more weeks because after three years of less-than-mediocre football, there's a lot to sort through and that can't be accomplished during one preseason worth of practices.
"I broke the season down to particular quarters," Diaco told reporters Tuesday, via the Hartford Courant. "The first quarter is about preparation and that's where we are at as a program. … This is going to be a long, long deal. There's a lot to fix. It's going to get fixed. The team is going to win. How long that takes, we'll see.
"We're not going to cut any corners. The whole locker room needs to look a certain way. The uniforms, we're sending guys in pregame because they came out one sleeve down and one sleeve up, one leg down one leg up. I'm not going to let anything go. Players got to go to class. Period. Not going to worry about winning the game Saturday. A key starter doesn't go to class this week, he's not going to play. Every little portion of our program, we're going to get it right," he told the Courant.
Luckily, the Huskies should be able to build their confidence against Stony Brook Saturday but any positives to come from that game may be quickly erased seven days later when Boise St. comes to town. But short-term goals aside, this isn't the long-term point.
"We're not at that point in our program where we are drilling down on who the opponent is and drilling down on some kind of energy from that matchup," Diaco said, adding: "BYU and our next opponent and the opponent after that, characterize it as partners in our games. It's not something I came up with, but nonetheless very true."
Diaco continues to stress that the program he took over, the one that 13-23 in its last three seasons, will take time to rebuild.
"The concerns are our detailed understanding of our jobs," Diaco said to the Courant. "How to actually play the plays when everything starts moving fast. There's not a depth of knowledge. There are a lot of guys on both sides of the ball that really have never played or haven't played in any significant role. None of them have played in our systems."
Put another way: A victory Saturday would be nice, but ultimately, it will mean little if that doesn't become a consistent part a program that last had a winning season in 2010.