STORRS, Conn. --- UConn head coach Bob Diaco has thought long and hard about Army's offense and the triple-option attack.
He's had to defend all the versions, Army, Navy's and the Air Force. He has watched what that offense does to players before and after games. He has even thought about how it would be implemented if he wanted to do it.
Diaco isn't considering bringing the triple-option to UConn. It's more of a thought experiment than anything.
Seeing what Deshon Foxx did against Central Florida on Saturday, makes you wonder why more aren't doing a full-option attack. Foxx in the triple-option with Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson?
Not too shabby if I don't say so myself.
The thing is. Few team consider the offense. Even less actually run it.
"I'm not sure, I don't know," Diaco said.
Diaco figured it was fans, administrators and others that want to see open offenses. As far as yardage and production, those running attacks are very good when run right (Florida had a 60-6 run to pass balance last Saturday and put up over 400 yards rushing against Georgia).
Diaco specifically likes army's version, which is the classic execution based attack that is a hallmark of all three service Academies.
"It's an awesome offense," Diaco said. "I thought many many many nights about how I would implement the offense."
East Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies linebacker Graham Stewart (2) sacks UCF Knights quarterback Justin Holman (13) in the second half at Rentschler Field. UConn defeated UCF 37-29. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
What Diaco has to do this week is defend it. He's used to it as the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator and faced all three versions. UConn players should get used to it too. UConn has Army this Saturday at Yankee Stadium and next year in East Hartford. Navy joins the American (Army is a team the American would also welcome if it wanted to change indy status) next year and annually it looks like that specific offense will be on the schedule more often than not (Navy will be in the South division of the American).
With that comes a host of issues.
Army (2-6) is averaging 294.8 yards rushing an 367 yards of total offense this season. The Black Knights play a disciplined style and it's so different than what UConn sees week-to-week it requires extra preparation. The UConn scout team was constructed several weeks ago to learn the Army offense and UConn is going to practice against a team that unit for the first time live on Tuesday.
The hard part is coming off the game and getting ready for the next week. It's a preparation nightmare.
" So disruptive to schedule, I can't tell you," Diaco said. "It's more disruptive to go from this preparation to conventional defense."
Army is 2-6 and often physically out-matched. But, that's for teams that are disciplined and on point. If UConn's defense isn't focused, Army will take advantage.
With a young team that hasn't seen this version of the option, it's a concern. The Black Knights are led by Larry Dixon's 683 yards and five touchdowns while quarterback Angel Santiago has 543 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
"They run the ball, they run it great, very proficient and talented runners," Diaco said. " It's an unbelievable system to defend. A complete and utter nightmare."
Army is 2-6, but has been competitive this season. Army lost to Yale 49-43 in OT, but defeated Buffalo and scared Wake Forest before falling 24-21. Army's defense gives up yards and points, but for the most part the offense has moved the ball save against Stanford.
The Huskies get their test on Saturday at Yankee Stadium at 3:30 p.m.
Junior Joseph is now getting the majority of snaps in running down situations with Jefferson Ashiru the pass defending linebacker. Diaco likes his power and ability to workout against the run. Ashiru comes in and defends against the pass and Diaco said he uses that position like a toolbox and putting in what the team needs.
Diaco is familiar with the trip to the Bronx as his family had season tickets to Yankee games when he was growing up in New Jersey. The tickets rotated among his family, but he has spent his share of time at the old Yankee Stadium.
Geremy Davis is on the depth chart and Diaco is expecting him to play this week.
Best quote from Diaco?
"We are not going to out-tough the United States Army."