Bob Diaco won the press conference.
Wearing slicked back hair, a fresh shave, a nicely-tailored suit and an omnipresent smile, Connecticut's newest head coach looked like the polar opposite of its previous head coach. Which, of course, is exactly what the program needs. Diaco waited 14,907 days for today, for the day he finally became a head football coach, and it showed. He was all over the place - in a good way.
Diaco will shave off the morose that grew over UConn football - a program that started this season 0-9 and is 13-23 since its 2010 Big East championship - and paint it over with a fresh coat of Diaco's own optimism.
Diaco on recruiting the Northeast: "The Northeast is packed with football fans. The interest in the game trickles down to creating great athletes and a great pool of football players in our footprint. It's an incredible recruiting hotbed."
Diaco on Connecticut's facilities: "This school has great facilities. From a facilities standpoint and a resources standpoint, you're not going to find anywhere in the country that has it nicer."
Diaco on the American Athletic Conference: "Off the charts fun."
Diaco on the American's bowl line-up: "Get your bathing suits ready."
Diaco on the demand of UConn season tickets: "Get the ticket while you can because soon you won't be able to get it."
Diaco didn't offer much by way of specific - give him a break, he didn't officially get the job until 1:30 Thursday morning - but he offered a passionate, eloquate answer on what he expect the Huskies' offense to look like (we'll post the full video when we find it). "A guy with great play calls that his players can't run will fail. We need to overwhelm the opponent at the point of attack. We need to do all the things that I hated - tempo changes, formation shifts, every screen imaginable, chuck it down the field, move the pocket," Diaco said. "That, to me, will be an offense that's very hard to stop."
The two biggest tasks facing the newest head Huskie will be to recruit players and create a culture of winning with the players already on campus. He's clearly well suited to accomplish the first task, and unveiled his plan to meet goal No. 2: "We need to compete in meetings, compete in the weight room, compete in spring drills, compete in teh summer," Diaco said. "You set up opportunities to win, and then you glorify that winning. I'm going to make sure as an organization we let them know that they just won."
After hearing Chris Petersen speak the last week about fit, fit, fit, and fit, Diaco-to-Connecticut feels like a perfect match. Diaco got the job he wanted, and Connecticut got someone that wants to be at Connecticut. "We're at UConn, it's exactly the right fit for us," said Diaco. "I'm exactly the right fit for this team, and it's exactly the right fit for me."
"I believe that I was put onto this Earth by the good Lord to teach young men how to be men in football," Diaco said. "I love football and I love inherently the people that serve this game."
One win down, many more to go.