It was supposed to be a homecoming of sorts for UConn interim coach T.J. Weist. The former Cincinnati wide receivers coach returned to his old stomping grounds hoping for a different result for the Huskies. By the time it was over, UConn had been blown out, 41-16, dropped to 0-6 on the season, and there's little hope things will get better before they get worse.
The Huskies are currently the only team in the American Athletic Conference without a win.
"We have to find ways to get momentum and to keep it," Weist said after the game, via the Hartford Courant. "We show signs on offense, defense and special teams, of making plays. We have to put it all together. We haven't had a game yet where we've put it all together. We've had great emotion, we've had great energy -- but for us, we get momentum and then we lose it."
Freshman quarterback Tim Boyle made his second start and he was under pressure for most of the afternoon. Good news: He threw for 310 yards and seemed more comfortable. Bad news: He also tossed three interceptions and was sacked eight times.
“The speed of the game, how defenses disguise their coverages," Boyle said (via SNY.com), describing some of what he needs to work on. "Practice looks great, but nothing compares to the game. I need to get more accustomed to speed of game and going through progressions faster. The protection doesn’t hold up that long, anywhere you go to Alabama, LSU and anywhere. I have to do my job faster.”
As Weist alluded to, the Huskies have yet to put together a complete effort in all three phases. And when you often go into games with less experience, depth -- and sometimes, talent -- than the opponent, that is critical.
"A lot of [the struggles] stem from our offense whether it's blocking or catching," the coach said. "We put our defense in bad positions. We have to learn that it is not just about effort, but it is about making plays. It is a tough thing to learn. It's not easy. Especially on days like today. We have to learn that it takes every man on a football team to win a football game. As soon as we can put it together, we will get momentum, make plays, and we will win games. The first thing I talked about is that this is not a 0-6 team. The character, energy, and playmaking ability on this team is not an 0-6 team. This game demands that you put it together on the football field and we haven't done that yet."
Long gone are the thoughts that UConn can salvage the season. Things were supposed to be better without Paul Pasqualoni, who was fired three weeks ago, but not only is the team still winless, there's the very real chance that a week from now they could be staring 0-7 in the face. They'll travel to Florida to face UCF, a team that just beat Louisville -- in Louisville, mind you -- 38-35.
"We're not ignorant enough to say that we're going to do the exact same things because if it ain't working, you better find something else," Weist told the media Sunday. "It can only go so far to say 'we just gotta get better.' Sure, we've got to make some changes, got to figure some things out and that's what we're doing here today, whether it's personnel, whether it's scheme, whatever it is, we've got to find a way to put our players in a better position to motivate them to make plays.
"Central Florida will be one of the best teams we face," the coach continued. "They're on a roll and we've got to go down to their place but you can say everything is stacked up against us but we look at it, it's a great position to be in because they don't expect us to be that good, they expect us to be down. We're just going to have to rise to the challenge."