Football Notebook: Weist takes blame, Boyle impresses in loss to USF
Published: Sunday, October 13, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 13, 2013 22:10
New coach. New quarterback. Same result.
A 13-10 Homecoming loss to South Florida has the UConn football team sitting at 0-5 for the first time since 1978.
In its first American Athletic Conference game, UConn did look like a different team than the one coached by Paul Pasqualoni. With T.J. Weist at the helm and with freshman Tim Boyle at quarterback, the Huskies looked livelier and more effective in the run game – implementing a spread option that allowed them to move the ball with big yardage plays.
But when UConn got into USF territory, it failed to get the ball in the end zone. Three catchable passes were dropped inside the five-yard line or in the end zone, taking several points off the board for the Huskies. The only UConn touchdown came on a 52-yard run by Lyle McCombs, who set a new career high with 164 rushing yards.
“A lot of missed opportunities,” McCombs said. “Today, as an offense, we didn’t make enough plays to win this game and that’s the bottom line.”
Weist takes the blame
He has been coaching college football since 1988, but Saturday was T.J. Weist’s first crack at being a head coach. After losing to the Bulls, Weist was not looking for any sympathy or for anyone to go easy on him.
“You know when we lose as a team, I just told the team, it comes down to the head coach,” Weist said. “It comes down to did I and my staff, me and my staff, get them prepared, so this loss is on me. It’s my responsibility to do whatever it takes to win this game.”
There were notable changes between Pasqualoni’s UConn and Weist’s. The Huskies appeared to be a more energized team. The changes implemented by Weist and Mike Foley, who is working with the offensive line again after the firing of George DeLeone, appeared to be for the best, but mistakes were still made.
One of those mistakes came in the final 20 seconds when UConn was able to get the ball over midfield into USF territory. With one timeout remaining, Weist thought the clock had stopped with 16 seconds to go, meaning UConn had time for one more play to put Chad Christen into field goal range. The new coach did not make a play call and the clock kept ticking down to seven seconds, which is when Weist finally called timeout. UConn then had to air it out, but his throw to the end zone fell to the ground.
“I’m man enough to say what I did right and what I did wrong, and I told the team that’s on me,” Weist said. “So we’ll get that corrected. There’s no hiding from any of that.”
Boyle earns praise
The numbers were not pretty – 15 of 43 for 149 yards – but Middlefied native Tim Boyle looked like a quarterback with the potential to do great things for UConn.
“I think Tim stepped up, showed maturity, showed poise, handled the pressure and made some throws, made some decisions on some of the different looks they gave us, that were pretty good for a true freshman,” Weist said. “He put us in a position to win this game, so I think we’ll keep moving forward with him, we’ll get him better, and we will get better. The problem is we don’t have a lot of time to get better.”
Boyle made a couple of big plays, both with his arm and his feet, but with a 35 percent completion percentage, most of his passes failed to connect. Oftentimes early in the game, Boyle was throwing high, something that can be credited to nerves.
“I was just a little anxious,” Boyle said. “Obviously, I’m capable of making the throws, but once I got the jitters out I settled in a little bit, but that’s past me now, so I don’t expect that in the future much. I think I’ll be good.”
Despite the overthrows, a lot of Boyle’s incomplete passes came from dropped passes. The Huskies’ three dropped passes inside the five cost UConn the chance to put more points on the board, particularly on the first drop, when Spencer Parker had the ball in his hands but failed to hang on.
“It doesn’t faze me at all,” Boyle said. “You can’t let it faze you at all. A drop is a drop and you move on to the next play. If I can go back and change the future, obviously I’d want them to catch it, but that’s not possible, so just move on to the next play and try to execute.”
UConn may have lost and the numbers might not have been stellar, but Boyle has the faith of his teammates after Saturday.
“He didn’t look like a freshman to me,” McCombs said. “He was very poised out there, and he looked like he’s been doing this for a while. So we’re all confident in him – I’m confident in him – and we’re looking to move forward with him as our quarterback.”