Until the right foot of either Chad Christen or South Florida kicker Marvin Kloss clobbers the ball at 12:08 p.m. this Saturday, there will be countless stories written about freshman quarterback Tim Boyle starting his first game.
This article isn't one of them, because we have the Spark Notes on most those tales right here:
He's ready, he's nervous and we all will just have to wait and see how he does.
Now, you should still go read those articles. But for the time being, here is absolutely everything else you need to know about the lead-up to Saturday's kickoff.
Injuries and depth chart changes
"I've got to go back and see how Bill Belichick handles injures." — UConn interim head coach T.J. Weist
Well, coach, you're off to a shaky start.
Officially, right tackle Kevin Friend and wide receiver Shakim Phillips are questionable. However, they're also officially AWOL from the team's two-deep depth chart this week, which you can find here. Thus, it is nearly certain that neither starter will see the field against South Florida. Weist revealed that Phillips has yet to even run routes in practice, while Friend practiced "a little" last Sunday. Outside linebacker Graham Stewart went without mention over the presser, though he too is nowhere to be found on the depth chart. Back-up Jefferson Ashiru is expected to start in his place for the third straight game.
Though, to be fair, Weist did work in the phrase "day to day" a couple of times. So, to some degree, coach Belichick would be proud.
On the flip side, wide receiver Kamal Abrams will play against the Bulls. The junior is fully recovered from a knee injury that has sidelined him since the team's gameday warm-ups prior to the Towson game. He is listed as a first team wideout along with Geremy Davis, who was responsible for carrying the Huskies' pass offense against Buffalo.
Offensive line notes
Despite the reports of joyful player outbursts immediately after Paul Pasqualoni's firing, the happiest man in the Burton Family Football Complex, according to Weist, is new offensive line coach Mike Foley.
"He's so happy to be back coaching the line," Weist said. "Loves it, lives it.... He's put his own style, own system in."
While it would be logical to expect that some difficulty would accompany this sort of mid-season transition, left guard Steve Greene said the starters are already accustomed to Foley and his teaching techniques. As fourth or fifth-year players, they were all previously tutored by the tenured position coach when he taught offensive line during the Randy Edsall era.
In his return, Foley has simplified things for his linemen, most notably in pass protection. There is a great deal less verbiage, and now, one word can account for an entire protection scheme.
Coaching staff updates
Most importantly, Weist will continue to call the plays and act as de facto offensive coordinator.
Next, UConn has not added any new coaches to its staff. Weist wants to take his time with any change, so as to ensure that it's the right one. He touted a pair of offensive graduate assistants, who have done a good job of filling in to coach the tight ends and help with the wide receivers.
On gameday, the defensive coaches will keep their positions either on the sideline or up in the booth. On the offensive side of the ball, things are much different. As the interim head coach, Weist will logically move from the booth down to the field. He'll be accompanied by new offensive line coach Mike Foley and the aforementioned graduate assistants leading the receivers and tight ends. Quarterbacks coach Shane Day and running backs/special teams coach Kermit Buggs will be up the press box.
Weist, Boyle and Greene each spoke separately to South Florida's great athleticism, and how that physical ability is the first thing to jump out from the film. The interim coach later remarked that USF did a good job of "out-scheming" Cincinnati last Saturday, en route to their first victory of the season. The Bulls topped the Bearcats 26-20 at home, despite scoring zero offensive touchdowns.
He also remarked that there's a great deal of familiarity with the opposing coaching staff down in Tampa. Weist worked with first-year South Florida head coach Willie Taggart while the two were employed at Western Kentucky. Furthermore, Weist had previously recruited many of the players who will line up for the Bulls.
Running back Joe Williams is still suspended indefinitely, as his larceny case has been continued to November 5. Weist said the junior won't return to the team until the legal case has been resolved.
Signs with the message of "All In" and a background picture depicting Rentschler Field have been taped to nearly every door in the facility.
Boyle on the coaching change: "Been a bunch of fun. It was a bit dull when Coach P was here with the long days." Although, Boyle did go on to say he was "blessed" and "very thankful" for what Pasqualoni did for him.