Better late than never, eh?
Now standing at 2-9, UConn faces one last chance to etch out a win in what has undoubtedly been a long and treacherous year. The team's season finale will arrive at 1 p.m. this Saturday when the Memphis Tigers make their first ever trip to Rentschler Field.
After the Huskies rolled Rutgers 28-17 last Saturday, Weist lauded his team's effort as the most complete of the season. The offense, defense and special teams were all in unison, executing their assignments to achieve victory. Today, he kept it simple.
"We just finally made plays. We finally didn't beat ourselves," he said.
That recipe should do just fine against a Tigers team that will enter East Hartford with a 3-8 mark that includes wins over Arkansas State and University of Tennessee-Martin.
However two weekends ago, Memphis fell by only a touchdown at Louisville, when their defense battered star Cardinal quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Tigers could not replicate that kind of performance in their most recent game, a 41-21 home loss courtesy of Temple and its freshman signal caller P.J. Walker.
Walker connected on 20 of his 32 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns against the Tigers to become the AAC offensive player of the week.
On the other side of the ball, Memphis has struggled to generate points consistently, averaging just over 20 per game. Yawin Smallwood and Shamar Stephen shared that the Tiger offense does boast many athletes, who are often positioned out into space. Stephen compared their style of play to Maryland and offered that they will likely attempt to attack the Huskies in a way similar to that the Terrapins did.
Saluting the Seniors
The 2013 senior class, comprised of 13 Huskies, will suit up for the final time this weekend and partake in the annual pregame Senior Day festivities. Amongst the group are 11 current starters, including the injured Jesse Joseph and Kevin Friend. Each of the 13 has made significant contributions this year's campaign, albeit a disappointing one overall.
Upon answering the first question of the day about his seniors, Weist left no doubt about his feelings towards that group.
"It is unbelievably critical to send these guys off right,"
"[the seniors are] very serious about winning, about leading this team," he said. "Been very mature about leading the team and their approach."
Those seniors are as follows:
G/C Tyler Bullock, OT Jimmy Bennett, OG Steve Greene, CB Taylor Mack, LB Ryan Donahue, DE Jesse Joseph, DT Shamar Stephen, DE Tim Willman, K Chad Christen, P Cole Wagner, RB Martin Hyppolite, OT Kevin Friend and TE Spencer Parker.
Coaching search update... or lack thereof
Predictably, every UConn coach and player opted to largely keep their focus on the upcoming Memphis game, rather than disclose many thoughts on the coaching decision athletic director Warde Manuel will face once the season is over. Weist is considered a candidate to become the next Husky head coach, and he believes he has gotten better in his interim role as the season as progressed.
Ultimately, though, he knows the matter is out of his hands and he stressed that everyone in the building is doing their best to work towards a win this Saturday.
"Haven't really paid attention to it ... That's Warde's decision."
Talk from the Trainer's Room
Right tackle Kevin Friend is questionable with a concussion. He has yet to pass all the required tests. Weist lauded the job back-up tackle Dalton Gifford has done in his stead.
According to Weist, Stephen has been receiving a lot of attention from NFL scouts. The interim coach shared that amongst the many things he's told them, he's stressed that Stephen is one of the team's best leaders.
Upon being prompted, Smallwood predicted that Jesse Joseph will be the first senior to cry on Saturday.
Weist's likely final presser of the year ended with a question about his alma mater, Alabama, and its loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Weist playfully refused to call Auburn by name, saying "that other team" and smiled curtly while talking about the painful loss.