Casey Cochran Named UConn Starter

As far as quarterback competitions go, it didn't come with quite the intrigue of, say, Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer but first-year UConn coach Bob Diaco named a starter Monday night and it's Casey Cochran.

Whether Diaco would admit it publicly or not, the redshirt sophomore was the frontrunner heading into preseason practice based on his performance last last season. After sitting behind Chandler Whitmer and Tim Boyle for three months, Cochran started the final three games, leading the Huskies to their only three wins on the year.

And now, after a solid spring and even better preseason, Cochran will be under center when UConn opens the season against BYU.

Whitmer has been named a "key backup" ("I'm all in," the senior said, via the Hartford Courant) and it looks like Boyle will be redshirted.

"It was a fierce battle dating all the way back to winter conditioning," Diaco said. "[The final decision] was negligible in all categories. Casey has improved his physical traits to try to catch up to the physical traits of Chandler. Chandler's still better in those areas, in terms of being a player.

"In the intangible area, leading, communicating, mobilizing energy, creating unit and team power, Casey edged out Chandler. It's an exceptional trait Casey has. Through Chandler's maturity, his growth, he has made that a negligible difference."

A season ago, Cochran threw for 1,293 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 63.4 percent of his passes. The difference between Cochran and Whitmer during preseason practice, according to Diaco: 64 percent to 63.5 percent.

"There wasn't a lot of debate among the coaching staff," Diaco said. "There were definitely a lot of pros and cons in my own head," he told the Courant.

But it sounds like both Cochran and Whitmer will see time during the season despite the old coaching cliche that any team with two starting quarterbacks doesn't even have one.

"I don't see two different voices," the coach said. "We're all talking the same language. They just do different things better than the other guy. So when we're going to do those things in the game, why wouldn't we ask them to do those things?

"Hopefully it works out. If it doesn't, you guys will chase me down the street with flaming torches and pitchforks."

The Diaco era officially starts Aug. 29 when BYU comes to town.

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