UConn coach defends play call at end of loss to Navy
STORRS, Conn. (AP) UConn football coach Bob Diaco says he called the play his offense wanted to run on Saturday with 17 seconds left and no timeouts against Navy.
The rush up the middle from inside the 1-yard-line was stuffed and the Huskies never got another play off in the 28-24 loss.
Diaco spent more than half-hour Tuesday talking to reporters about the end of the game in Annapolis and the team's clock management issues.
He said the play was well thought out and nothing about the situation was haphazard.
''The offensive team wanted to run the ball, wanted to run the ball in,'' he said. ''I think if the players believe they can execute a play, isn't that better than believing they can't execute a play?''
The Huskies had just used their final timeout because Diaco felt quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was not going to get the snap off in time, something he acknowledged Tuesday was an error.
They also changed the second down play from a pass to a run, when the spot of the ball was changed from the 2-yard line, he said.
Diaco said he takes responsibility for the fact that his team didn't get lined up to run a third down play and said the Huskies have analyzed that moment and ''worked to build some troubleshooting,'' when it comes to clock management in the future.
He also noted that the Seattle Seahawks called a pass play in a similar situation late in the Super Bowl in 2015, and ended up receiving a lot of criticism when the ball was intercepted by New England.
He said he believes the Huskies, who came back from a 21-0 deficit to take a fourth-quarter lead, will respond well to the loss.
''We've always been able to take the strain and the fire and the pain and the adversity and use it as a strengthening partner,'' he said.
''I would think that everyone in our organization would be more mentally strong and more excited for the work than they would have otherwise been without that moment.''
UConn (1-1) hosts Virginia on Saturday.
Online: AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org