Football is a unique sport in that there are many decisions to be made about what positions are on the field at any given time.
In baseball, the same nine positions are going to be lined up close to the same spot and in hockey there is always going to be three forwards and a pair of defensemen. The lines between positions are more blurred in basketball, but basketball coaches are never going to have the choices with regards to personnel that football coaches do.
That’s how UConn football head coach Randy Edsall likes it.
“My whole thing as a coach is utilizing our personnel to make us the best that we can,” he said at Tuesday’s weekly press conference.
Depending on what a coach wants to do, there could be five wide receivers on the field, there could be zero or, typically, somewhere in between. The onus is on the coach to get the position grouping on the field that puts their team in the best position to succeed.
Sometimes, the best player on a team could be on the bench in a crucial moment because the situation calls for three tight ends to push the ball the few last feet across the goal line, or because the quarterback needs to air it out to as many options as possible to gain a huge chunk of yardage in one play.
UConn has recently switched from a 3-3-5 defense to a 4-2-5, adding a down lineman at the expense of a linebacker, in hopes of getting to the quarterback more effectively. Former linebackers Darrian Beavers and Eli Thomas both made the switch to defensive end.
“It’s really a combination of getting our best people on the field, helping ourselves in an area where we were deficient and we weren’t as productive as I had thought we could be,” Edsall said.
The secondary is exceptionally young, with six freshmen, five of which are true freshmen, on this week’s two-deep and the coaching staff felt as though constantly blitzing was exposing that inexperience on the back end.
“Football is a situation game,” Edsall said. “In that situation, it called for a change to aid us.”