Checking in: UConn QB coach Shane Day

February, 29, 2012
2/29/12
1:30
PM ET
You can say UConn assistant coach Shane Day might have the toughest task among all league assistants this spring.

Not only has he just started a new job, Day is tasked with helping develop the next Huskies starting quarterback. This, of course, is the biggest question facing UConn going into spring practice next month.

Day said in a recent phone interview he realized the spotlight would be on his players once he arrived on campus in Storrs to interview for the quarterbacks coach job.

"I went around to talk to administrators, the athletic director, football operations -- everyone told me about the quarterback situation," Day said. "Even fans randomly told me about the situation at quarterback."

[+] EnlargeConnecticut Huskies quarterback Johnny McEntee
Jim Brown (US PRESSWIRE)Johnny McEntee played the most of any of UConn's quarterbacks last season, throwing for 2,110 yards and 12 TDs with eight picks.
The situation is a familiar one for UConn fans. Just like last spring, there is an open competition for the starting job. The Huskies have five players in contention this time around -- returning starter Johnny McEntee, Scott McCummings, Michael Nebrich, true freshman Casey Cochran and junior college transfer Chandler Whitmer.

Day said all five players will be given the same opportunity to win the starting job, but he's not quite sure how all the reps are going to be divided.

"That's the hardest part," Day said. "We talked about this a lot as a staff. We're in a unique situation where we have five guys. After watching them on tape, they all bring something to the table. We are as a staff planning on how to parcel out all those reps. It's going to be difficult. Hopefully somebody emerges halfway through so we can tailor those reps to the guys that are leading the charge."

Day has met with his quarterbacks and told them they all have a "blank slate." He already has watched cut-ups of last year, but wants to judge each player based on what he sees during the spring. He did not want to comment on the performance of the three players returning from last season -- McEntee, McCummings and Nebrich -- because he was not with the team.

But Day did say that McCummings will not be strictly a Wildcat quarterback in the spring. "We want to develop him like all the other guys," Day said.

He also defended the inconsistent McEntee, saying, "I don't think people understand how hard it is to go from not playing to starting. It takes time to get back to your timing. The strength for him is his playing experience and the strength of his arm."

And it is not a given that the two new players -- Cochran and Whitmer -- are automatically favorites to emerge from the group.

"It is a process, so it's going to take some time," Day said. "You can't make an evaluation in one day. We'll see how they all respond. They're all on a blank slate so to speak. We'll see how they do when they step on the field."

Day has spent the majority of his career as an offensive assistant in the NFL. Last year, he worked with the Bears' Jay Cutler, so he certainly understands what it means when players come under scrutiny. Day said what appealed to him most about coming into the college ranks is being able to teach and make a bigger impact on his players' lives.

His coaching style might also help in determining the quarterback of the future for the Huskies.

"The most important thing is I'm a teacher, and I teach first," Day said. "When you get on the field, that's where it changes. I like to apply pressure to see how guys handle it. The game is a pressure game on Saturdays, so you have to simulate that at practice and see how they respond."

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