As Bob Diaco arrives at UConn, he’s looking for werewolves, not vampires on his team. A werewolf is someone who transforms into a beast when he steps onto the field, a vampire, especially “Energy Vampires” will have no place in the program.
“People that are in your organization that exhaust the resources of the people around them,” said the former Notre Dame defensive coordinator. “It’s the bottom 10 percent that suck the energy from the organization, from you as a person, and normally it’s a small group that affects a large group.”
The 2012 Broyles Award winner shared another “Diaco-ism” with Rome, something used with his Irish players and intends to do the same with his Connecticut kids, about the Scorpion trying to cross the river.
“The fact of the matter is we’re going to believe what we see,” Diaco said. “If you’re someone in a negative way that is going to sting, than you’re not going to get on our back and we’re not going to swim you across the lake, or the river.”
“The scorpion couldn’t swim but the frog could,” Diaco continued. “He talked the frog into allowing him to get on his back. The frog said ‘You’re going to sting me, why would I do that?’ The scorpion said ‘No, no, no, I’m not going to sting you. I’m not going to sting you. Why would I do that? We will both drown if I sting you half way across.’”
And of course, halfway across, the scorpion stung the frog and they both drowned, because that’s what scorpions do. “So there’s just particular people that have displayed behavior that you need to believe it. We’re not just going to let that person on our back and swim them across the lake,” said Diaco. “At the same time, if it’s someone of a positive nature, doing positive things that’s producing, we’re going to believe what see there too.”
After taking the UConn job, Diaco went back to Notre Dame to say goodbye to his players in person.
“The guy that disappears in the darkness, it really kind of goes against all the messages you’ve been trying to talk about up to that point,” said the first-time head coach. “It was important to me to also reinforce Coach Kelly’s messages. So I wanted to stand in front of that group. I packed my office in the middle of the day, so I saw everyone and they watched me pack my office and leave the building. I wanted that to happen I didn’t want to slink away in the middle of the night. And I wanted to look at that team, the defense specifically, and look at them and tell them that I loved them.”
Diaco’s message to his players was this program will improve and remember what they’ve learned from memorizing the poem, ‘The Indispensable Man.’
“This program and defense will move forward,” said the coach and added: “Keep your edge sharp every day because someone is right behind you.”