New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Could UConn make another QB change?

- By Doug Bonjour

There’s an old adage in football: If you have two quarterbac­ks, you don’t have one.

In layman’s terms, it means if a team is forced to use multiple players at the position it’s because one did not separate himself to win the starting job. Rarely, as you can imagine, does anything good come from this predicamen­t.

So it’s no surprise that UConn is in the situation it finds itself through three weeks: winless and rudderless. “Obviously, our performanc­e is not to our standard,” interim coach Lou Spanos said Wednesday of his quarterbac­ks.

The Huskies have started two already. Neither Jack Zergiotis nor Steven Krajewski did anything to suggest they could be the answer moving forward. UConn’s yet to score in

two games against FBS opponents and is averaging a measly 9.3 points and 197.3 yards overall, both in the bottom three nationally.

Given that, Spanos seems inclined to shake things up again when the Huskies visit 2-0 Army Saturday (noon, CBS

Sports Network). He’s considerin­g anything and everything, including starting freshman Tyler Phommachan­h or splitting reps at the position.

“It’s who gives us the best opportunit­y to win this game,” Spanos said. “Each week has its unique perspectiv­es. Army’s defense does a really good job. Army’s offense does a really good job. So we as coaches have to put our players at the best spot to achieve what we want.”

“The bottom line,” he added, “is to put points on the board.”

With no obvious fix, Spanos, a former defensive coordinato­r, looked outside the program for help. Noel Mazzone, a longtime college assistant, was brought in this week to serve as an offensive analyst. Mazzone, 64, was on UCLA’s staff with Spanos in 2012 and 2013, and most recently served as the offensive coordinato­r and quarterbac­ks coach at Arizona from 2018-20.

At this point another voice in the room can’t hurt, especially someone with a resume like Mazzone’s. The Huskies were blanked in their season opener by Fresno State, 45-0. Then they were upset the following week by FCS product Holy Cross, 38-28, in Randy Edsall’s final game as coach.

Spanos’ first bold decision after taking over for Edsall was to replace Zergiotis, who had thrown three intercepti­ons and completed only 41.4% in two starts, with Krajewski. It didn’t help, though. Krajewski passed for 99 yards and was picked off once in a 49-0 loss to Purdue last Saturday.

The other two signalcall­ers on the roster — North Carolina State transfer Micah Leon and Phommachan­h, a Stratford native and Avon Old Farms alum — have yet to take a snap at UConn.

Don’t be shocked if Spanos starts using different quarterbac­ks in different packages, drawing on his experience in the NFL.

“I’ve never been a head coach, but I’ve been around a lot of good coaches,” said Spanos, who among his many stops was a defensive assistant under Bill Cowher with the Pittsburgh Steelers. “The year we went to the AFC Championsh­ip (2001), we had Kordell Stewart, and we had change at the offensive coordinato­r. And then there were other places, too, where we had different quarterbac­ks getting the best opportunit­y.”

The Huskies did move the ball against Purdue early, driving inside Boilermake­rs territory on four of their first five possession­s. But their inability to finish those opportunit­ies plagued them again.

Amid those struggles, players are staying upbeat. Spanos, too.

“We have high energy,” freshman running back Nate Carter said. “What happened last week happened last week. We put that behind us. We’re working on Army. We’re all locked in. We’re really having good practices, physical practices. We’re ready to get the ball rolling.

“Spanos has been really great so far. He’s made a lot of connection­s with the players and he adds a lot more energy and positivity to our team.”

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