T.J. Weist didn't make the decision to bench Chandler Whitmer alone. It was one of the last acts of just-fired coach Paul Pasqualoni, and one with which Weist apparently agreed. And that means when the Huskies face USF a week from Saturday, they'll do so with true freshman Tim Boyle under center.
On Wednesday, Weist issued a statement explaining why Boyle was the choice over Whitmer, who had been the starter since 2012.
“Chandler Whitmer has exhibited outstanding character and integrity since the day I stepped on to this campus and even before I got here," the interim coach said. "He has worked extremely hard, put in a lot of hours at his craft, and done everything in his power to help this team be successful.
"We all know the QB takes an unfair amount of criticism when a team loses. To Chandler’s credit he has handled the criticism with class and dignity. He has done everything in his power to improve and do the best job possible. We haven’t always put him in the best position to be successful, having had multiple injuries at the wide receiver and the offensive line positions and to his credit he has not complained. He’s gone out and battled every game for this team.
“That being said, we feel like at this time we need to give Tim a chance to play and see if he can provide a spark for our team," Weist continued. "He has been working hard and deserves and opportunity to show what he can do. Chandler is still a big factor and leader on this team and we know that he will continue to prepare as if he’s the starter and when his number is called he will be ready to help this team in whatever capacity is needed. He’s been a great mentor to Tim up to this point and given his integrity and character we know he will continue to do whatever it takes to help Tim and this team be successful.”
It says something about Boyle that he's practiced well enough over the first month of the season to earn the starting nod. Of course, that also says something about the current state of UConn's offense, and the quarterback position in particular.
The upside: Going with Boyle in no way affects a season already lost. If nothing else, Weist -- or whomever is eventually hired as Pasqualoni's full-time replacement -- will know what they have at quarterback, a position that's been a question mark since Pasqualoni arrived after the 2010 season.