Weist, Boyle prepare for new roles
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 00:10
He may be new to his role, but T.J. Weist already seems more than at ease in fulfilling some of his duties unrelated to football.
One of those, of course, is speaking to the media, which the interim head coach did on Tuesday for his first pregame press conference.
“So I suppose I make an opening statement,” Weist quipped to begin the press conference. “Is that how this works?”
That kind of sly humor was on display throughout the 30 minute question-and-answer session, as Weist joked that he needed to “go back and see how Bill Belichick handled injuries” when asked about the status of wide receiver Shakim Philips.
And though he seemed to enjoy putting his public speaking skills on display – Weist urged reporters to ask more questions at the end of the press conference with a chiding, “Come on, that’s it?” – he did admit that being head coach has required some adjustment.
“It’s more of handing all the other things a head coach has to do,” Weist said of the balancing act. “The football is fairly – I’m not going to say easy, but it’s natural to me. It’s juggling all the press conferences, radio shows, everything else that a head coach has to do that a coordinator doesn’t have to do, a position coach doesn’t have to do, and still being able to coach football.”
Boyle’s familiar territory
Like Weist, freshman quarterback Tim Boyle will face a new set of challenges on Saturday as he assumes the starting role, taking over for junior Chandler Whitmer after just four games.
Boyle, who attended Xavier High School in Middletown, has drawn positive reviews from his coach thus far for his work in practice.
“Tim’s ready,” Weist said. “He’s responded well. He’s shown the maturity that we saw in him coming out of high school and have seen with him since he stepped on campus…he gets more mature every day.”
In addition to his maturity, Boyle’s presence, ability to make plays and football intelligence have endeared him to the coaching staff and earned him the chance to start, Weist said.
Also working in the freshman’s favor is his familiarity with playing at Rentschler Field, which he got the chance to do during his high school days.
“Definitely playing there for four games of my own,” Boyle said, “playing in four games – the three state championships and the All-Star Game – and the four that we’ve played at UConn will definitely help me with the atmosphere and feeling comfortable when it comes to game time.”
Boyle is 17 of 37 with three touchdowns and four interceptions in those four games on the Rentschler turf. More importantly, he is 4-0 in those games.
Of course, high school statistics against high school competition matter little in a practical sense at the collegiate level, but the confidence boost they can provide is certainly a bonus.
In the last handful of years, UConn and South Florida have had something of a rivalry on the football field.
Though the two schools are neither traditional powers nor rivals in the historical sense, the Bulls and Huskies have taken part in some close, meaningful games as of late.
UConn has won three of the last four matchups, but USF got the upper hand in the series last season. All four games were decided by seven points or fewer and only one – the 2009 game – featured more than 35 total points.
Among those contests was the famous “snow game” in which Dave Teggart kicked a last second field goal to give the Huskies a 29-27.
Teggart again came through with some last-minute magic the next year, in 2010, when his 52-yarder sent UConn to a 19-16 win and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.
This year, however, both teams have struggled mightily in the first third of the season.
While the Huskies find themselves 0-4 and near the bottom of the national list in just about every offensive statistic, USF enters at 1-4 and has had issues with turnovers.
Though the Bulls are coming off a surprising 26-23 win against Cincinnati, their offense did not score a touchdown in the game. Instead, they relied heavily on special teams and defense – a field goal return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery that also went for six – to do the scoring.
Given the two teams’ propensity for ugly offense – UConn ranks No. 119 in total offense and USF ranks No. 120 out of 123 schools – coupled with capable defenses, Saturday’s matchup has the potential to be another close, low-scoring battle.