UConn trying to get to the point with latest hire

Published on Friday, 17 September 2021 16:43

Journal Inquirer

STORRS - The UConn football team needs some help scoring points. Any points, in fact.

The Huskies, shutout victims in two of their first three games this season, have made an addition to their staff they hope will help them score this weekend.

Noel Mazzone, who has some 35 years of coaching experience, was hired Wednesday by the Huskies as an offensive analyst.

At least one of the Husky players says Mazzone has had an immediate impact.

“I think he’s been a big help. He’s definitely opening our eyes to how we run things offensively, as far as running and scheme-wise, RPO’s (run-pass options) and things,” UConn running back Nate Carter said Wednesday afternoon. “Throughout the week he’s going to be able to help us offensively.”

UConn lost its opener to Fresno State 45-0, and is coming off a 49-0 loss to Purdue. In between the Huskies lost to FCS member Holy Cross and saw their head coach opt for an early retirement.

The Huskies (0-3) visit Army Saturday looking for their first win of the season, not to mention their first points against an FBS opponent.

UConn interim head coach Lou Spanos worked with Mazzone on a staff at UCLA from 2013-14. Spanos said watching what Alabama coach Nick Saban has done with analysts - Spanos himself was an analyst for the Crimson Tide in 2018 - convinced him such an addition might help the Huskies.

“I’ve worked with him and I’ve had success with him,” Spanos said. “I value his philosophy and his knowledge of the game. I think he’ll help our staff. And when I say staff I mean offense, defense, and special teams.”

Mazzone’s most recent coaching position was as Arizona’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2018-20. He was Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator from 2016-17.

Mazzone, 64, has also made coaching stops at N.C. State, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Auburn, Arizona State, and Oregon State. He also spent three seasons as the wide receivers coach with the NFL’s New York Jets.

“I want to welcome Noel to the UConn football family and I look forward to him proving valuable support to our coaching staff,” UConn Athletic Director David Benedict said in a statement. “We haven’t gotten off to the start we had hoped for but we will continue to do everything we can to achieve success on the field this season.”

Move QB questions

UConn has started two different quarterbacks already this season, and there are indications a third could see the field soon.

Sophomore Steven Krajewski, who made his debut against Purdue, is still listed at the top of the team’s depth chart at quarterback. But sophomore Jack Zergiotis, junior Micah Leon, and freshman Tyler Phommachanh are all listed as potential second-stringers on the two-deep. Zergiotis started the first two UConn games this season.

“Obviously our performance is not to our standard,” Spanos said of his team’s quarterback play and the reason for listing all four players on the depth chart.

Krajewski completed 14-of-25 passes for 99 yards with no touchdowns and one interception against Purdue.

It certainly seems as if Krajewski is likely to start again, though Spanos would not confirm such a scenario Wednesday.

“We’re going to see throughout the week of practice who can give us the best opportunity to win,” Spanos said.

The Huskies could be working on a plan to use one of their backup quarterbacks for a handful of plays this week against Army. Spanos even mentioned how the Pittsburgh Steelers did something similar with Kordell Stewart during his days on that staff.

“We’ll see. Still evaluating,” Spanos said of the Huskies’ plans.

Extra points

Starting linebacker Omar Fortt, who is third on the team in tackles, is battling an undisclosed injury and may not play this weekend. “We’ll see. Still day to day with Omar. Not sure what’s going to happen,” Spanos said. “(Today) is going to be a big day for him.” … UConn is 5-2 in its history against Army. … Army has won 11 straight home games, the sixth-longest such streak in the nation. … Through two games Army linebacker Andrew Carter leads the nation in sacks (4.5).

The Mazzone File

Career coaching history of Noel Mazzone, the UConn football team’s new offensive anaylst:

Year Team Position

1981-81 New Mexico Grad asst.

1982-86 Colorado State QB/WR coach

1987-91 TCU QB coach

1992-94 Minnesota QB coach

1995-98 Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator

1999-2001 Auburn Offensive coordinator

2002 Oregon State Offensive coordinator

2003-04 N.C. State Offensive coordinator

2005 Ole Miss Offensive coordinator

2006-08 N.J. Jets WR coach

2009 Panther Creek (N.C.) HS Offensive coordinator

2010-11 Arizona State Offensive coordinator

2012-15 UCLA Offensive coordinator

2016-17 Texas A&M Offensive coordinator

2018-20 Arizona Offensive coordinator

Posted in The Bristol Press, UConn on Friday, 17 September 2021 16:43. Updated: Friday, 17 September 2021 16:45.