Obviously it is (wayyy) too early to tell whether or not Bob Diaco's tenure at UConn will be a success. That said, there have been better first-year performances from head coaches in rebuild situations and any sports fan is certainly free to make a prediction as to how he or she believes next few years will play out.
While many UConn fans are in the camp that this season was all about re-building and insist that we not to look too closely at results, others claim to have seen enough to confirm that this overconfident, enigmatic personality is getting too long a leash-- perhaps due to his good looks and entertaining witticisms.
A few of our writers took the time to share what we learned about Bob Diaco after one year of watching him as the head of the football program:
Rondale Williams - Football staff writer
This season left me feeling a little concerned. There is no doubt that Diaco is a great defensive coordinator, but he made some questionable coaching decisions across the season.
Maybe, I just fell victim to all of the hoopla he brought when he introduced himself by talking about energy vampires and quoting Garth Brooks. The decision to shut down the passing game in the South Florida game was baffling. I get that the offensive line and the quarterback play was horrible, and the weather left Diaco feeling hesitant to throw the ball, but no team can exclusively run the ball and expect to win.
It was also very disappointing that we weren't able to defend the triple option against Army. I thought that game would be a win for sure and Diaco just didn't have the team ready or disciplined for that attack. Heck, even Yale beat Army! That loss forced me to seriously question the direction this program is headed.
The decision to play two quarterbacks was one that I also hated because it messed up any continuity Whitmer or Boyle could ever hope of having with their receivers. How did Don Patterson, the quarterback coach with decades of experience, let this fly?
With all that being said, I do see some hope for the future, Diaco was known for being a good recruiter during his time at Notre Dame. And to no surprise, the coaching staff has been hitting the recruiting trail hard and bringing in talented, physical players with the right attitude to make a cultural change at UConn.
I do think once Diaco gets the players he wants, and can better implement his defensive system, he will see some success at UConn. He has tried at times this year to implement the things he likes to do, but players like Reuben Frank and Graham Stewart just aren't really a good fit. I would implore any UConn fan to go look at the tapes of incoming recruits like Aaron Garland, Aaron McLean, Nazir Williams, and Tyler Davis and you will be excited for what's in store for the future of UConn football. Stay optimistic Husky fans!
Tim Fontenault - covers Men's Hockey for The UConn Blog, Football and Men's Basketball for the The Daily Campus
If Bob Diaco were to be given a grade for his rookie season as a head coach, a D would have to suffice. It could be worse – a D is a passing grade. He deserves credit for the fights the Huskies put up against Boise State and East Carolina, and of course the win over Central Florida. Other than that win, there was nothing to be proud of.
The biggest issue with Diaco’s decision making this year was the lack of playing time early on for Tim Boyle. After Casey Cochran’s concussion, Diaco burned Boyle’s redshirt just to play him a drive or two per game until late the very end of the season. Diaco said winning would be a priority from the start, but the team's clear emphasis was on developing. Why not start Boyle from the time Cochran went down?
Ben Cantor - Staff writer
Though I am disappointed in UConn's worst football season, at least record-wise, since 2001, I am not disappointed in the way Bob Diaco handled his team in his first season as head coach. After another coaching change, another system change both on the offensive and defensive sides of the football, and an injury to our starting quarterback, there were a considerable amount for factors working against the 2014 UConn Huskies, no matter who the coach is. We lacked depth and talent at possibly the most important position group in football, the offensive line, and simply did not have the personell Diaco is looking for defensively.
Throughout this tumultuous season, Bob Diaco was an overwhelmingly positive voice, preaching patience and pride in his team's development. He had more enthusiasm than I have ever seen from a UConn head football coach, and his players took pleasure in going to battle for him. Diaco has been ruthless on the recruiting trail since his first day at UConn and knows what it takes to win at a high level after coming from Notre Dame.
It took Randy Edsall over 10 years to get UConn playing at a championship level and after Paul Pasqualoni essentially erased it all, we must be patient with Diaco. Obviously this season is not what we had anticipated, but with a young defense, a talented recruiting class, and a dual-threat quarterback waiting in the wings, Diaco is poised to take this program to the next step of the process.
Aman - lead idiot
I want to hate everything that happened this season so badly: the passing game shutdown against USF, the barrage of turnovers, the slew of bad penalties, the wretched two-quarterback system, losses to Army and winless SMU. Yet all of those are defensible in some way or another and there really were a lot of factors working against Bob Diaco in his first season. Some bad luck also got in the way with the way-too early retirement of Casey Cochran.
First, there is the situation he inherited. UConn Football was left bloodied and beaten in a ditch by the Paul Pasqualoni era. Diaco could have done everything possible to keep this team together, maybe spackle some juco and graduate transfers to fill some holes and maybe he could have pulled through and made this a 6 or 7-win team. That's if the likes of Shakim Phillips, Lyle McCombs, Ty-Meer Brown and other talented upperclassmen didn't leave the program.
But in that scenario the team wouldn't really be going anywhere long-term, and obviously Diaco felt that some of those upperclassmen were a detriment to the culture he was trying to build. Other defectors probably didn't want to spend their last year or two of eligibility working through a rebuilding project. Fair enough.
I suppose we should be encouraged that Bob Diaco is taking a long-term approach rather than trying to win as soon as possible at all costs-- a strategy which might suggest he is looking to bounce after a few good years. As long as talented recruits maintain their excitement for working with this coaching staff and wearing that UConn uniform-- guys like Tyler Davis and Kevin Murphy or the explosive wide receiver Tyraiq Beals-- I'm confident this will be a good team in 2-3 years.
So what do you think Husky fans, what are your thoughts on Head Coach Bob Diaco as we begin his second year at the helm?