UConn Football’s bowl aspirations were on the ropes going into tonight’s matchup with a solid Temple team, as the Huskies needed to win out to keep the dream alive. Those aspirations quickly met their demise early in the game and officially were extinguished with a 21-0 loss Friday night.
The biggest story of the night, however, was UConn going with true freshman Donovan Williams at quarterback in place of Bryant Shirreffs. This decision was controversial, mostly because Williams still had the opportunity to redshirt intact and could have enjoyed a long, successful four years at UConn after this. Instead, Diaco and his staff decided they’d rather see him for three games right now than have him for 12 games four years from now. It’s hard to see the benefit or logic in doing this, but that’s why I’m not a football coach, or whatever.
Temple dominated this football game, scoring all 21 points in a deflating first quarter. On the game, the Owls gained 431 yards, averaging an impressive 6.7 yards per play. They were able to overcome three turnovers, including two Obi Melifonwu picks, and a UConn defense which held strong across the final three quarters because the Huskies simply had nothing at all going on offensively.
After managing to put up just three points on the road last weekend against ECU, Diaco made the long overdue decision to demote offensive coordinator Frank Verducci and promote running backs coach David Corley to manage the attack. We’ll probably learn more about the nature and timing of how this happened in the coming days but at some point, Corley and the staff decided to go with Williams under center to give the team a spark.
Could Williams be the one? Potentially. He didn’t do anything to dissuade us from believing it was possible. He had some moments, including a 43-yard run and some nice throws, but you can only expect so much from a true freshman. The more disconcerting element is why the staff made the decision to play him with only a few games left.
At this point, it is very simple to say Diaco needs to go. This team appears to be regressing, and as of today is officially playing for next season. But it’s not that simple, and highly unlikely to occur.
Restarting from the ground up is not the answer. We’ll just have to see how these last two games play out and hope for improvement on the offensive end since Diaco has attempted a reset with the youth movement at OC and QB.
It’s clear any goodwill Diaco had from last year’s success has washed away with the disappointment of this season. Can this be a much better team next year? Absolutely. But it sucks to be punting on this one after so much promise and hope going into it.
UConn will be off next week before a matchup on the road against Boston College at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, November 19.