Bigger Coaching Impact: Bob Diaco Or Ralph Friedgen
By Jackson Wang
Change came be tough for anyone. But change can also be good, and that’s what UConn and Rutgers are hoping for with new coaches in 2014.
After a disappointing 3-9 season, the Huskies brought in Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, hoping he can bring UConn back to its glory days. The Scarlet Knights also are hoping former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen can get their offense going after it averaged just 365 yards per game this season.
Both coaches will play a significant role this year, but who will make the bigger impact?
The Case For Bob Diaco
There’s no doubt Diaco is more than qualified for this job. While serving as the defensive coordinator for the Fighting Irish, his defense allowed opponents to put up just more than 300 yards per game in 2013.
During the 2012 season, his defense didn’t allow a rushing touchdown until the eighth game of the year. Notre Dame let up 305 yards per game that season, including just 105 on the ground.
Last season, opponents managed just more than 340 yards per game on the Huskies’ defense, including 133 rushing yards. With a solid group of defensive players returning next season, Diaco and his defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter should have a great 2014.
The Case For Ralph Friedgen
After taking three seasons off from college football, Friedgen is back to doing what he does best. Known as an offensive guru for creating a balanced pass and run attack, Friedgen will bring a pro-style system to Rutgers this fall.
While at Maryland, where he served as head coach for 10 years, Friedgen had five bowl wins, as well as two ACC Coach of the Year awards. In his last season at Maryland, Friedgen’s offense averaged 352 yards a game, including 138 on the ground per game.
The Scarlet Knights already are used to a pro-style offense, so when Friedgen installs his schemes this fall, it shouldn’t be too difficult for the players to learn.
I always believe in the cliché "offense wins ball games, defense wins championships." So I’m going with Diaco.
Not only will he continue to improve that UConn defense, the Huskies offense also will get better. UConn averaged just more than 318 yards of offense each game in 2013, including 84 rushing yards. Those are not very impressive stats.
To help fix that problem, Diaco brought in Central Michigan offensive coordinator Mike Cumming to run the unit at UConn. In 2012, Cumming’s offense averaged nearly 400 yards per game. Last season, the offense put up 341 yards a game, including 133 yards on the ground.
The Huskies hope the production of his Central Michigan offenses translates to UConn since the team barely got moving in 2013.