During Bob Diaco’s tenure as head coach of UConn Football, the offense was a liability. It was plodding, intentionally outdated and, at its worst, went over 257 consecutive minutes without scoring a touchdown across four games in 2016.
New head coach Randy Edsall wants to change that.
“The ball is spread out,” wide receiver Hergy Mayala said. “If you can make plays, you’re going to get the ball.”
UConn wouldn’t be able to make this tempo adjustment by simply lining up more quickly at the line and running a more spread-out offense. In practice, everything is fast.
“Tempo is something that can be used anywhere,” tight end Tommy Myers said. “Football is fast-paced no matter what you’re doing.”
Sometimes moving quickly can make a team more prone to mistakes, though. A receiver might run the wrong route or a lineman could miss a block if there’s a miscommunication. But if they are prepared, it can free players to play and react naturally instead of overthinking it.
“There’s less thinking,” offensive lineman Matt Peart said. “There’s more focusing on the game and just going out and getting your block. It’s line up and go.”
Schools across the country are looking to go faster, and the American conference has been quick to pick up on the trend. Teams like Houston, Tulsa, and USF spread defenses out and get back to the line of scrimmage quickly.
The UConn defense will also be benefiting from the offense’s new style, as defenders will now be more acclimated to this approach.
“It makes us think faster and have to communicate better,” cornerback Jamar Summers said. “That’s a benefit for us for when we play fast teams. It definitely helps us preparation-wise.”
Aside from how it might benefit the players, faster offenses provide a more entertaining product for the fans. For Husky fans who have been lulled into sleep by the UConn offenses of late, these developments should come as welcome news. The offense will be more entertaining and the defense will be better suited to stop modern offenses.
“[The fans] are going to love it,” Mayala said. “Lots of big plays, you just have to see it.”