Giufre ready to seize the day in new job as UConn offensive line coach

Storrs — Recently hired UConn offensive line coach Frank Giufre is all about seizing the day.

He learned about the importance of taking that approach while working for six seasons under Chuck Pagano, the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts until being fired in December.

He's known Pagano since he was 10 years old and considers him like a second father.

"I would take a bullet for him and not even ask why," Giufre said. "I'll probably get emotional talking about him because I love him so much. He's a great coach, a better person, a better father, better husband and better friend. Just seeing everything that Coach went through, beating cancer than coming back and how he just approaches every day."

"I talked to the offensive line (Monday) and basically told them the same stuff that Chuck really impressed upon us that tomorrow is not guaranteed. You've got today. Kick today's butt. And if you get tomorrow, go after tomorrow with everything you've got.

"The biggest myth in life is we have more time. And we don't, because you never know. All you've got to do is to go to ESPN and see what happened to one of our guys. I don't want to start crying about Edwin."

Edwin Jackson, a 26-year-old linebacker on the Colts, was killed in a car accident earlier this week.

Giufre brings Pagano's philosophy and 17 years of coaching experience to his new job at UConn.

"Frank is a teacher, a technician, a guy also very versed in schemes and things that we want to be able to do," coach Randy Edsall said. "When you call guys in the profession that I have a tremendous amount of respect for — Jack Cosgrove at Maine, Bruce Arians — he's a friend of mine — and Chuck Pagano, there wasn't any higher recommendations that I ever received from anybody in regards to Frank."

Prior to spending six seasons as offensive quality control coach for Indianapolis, Giufre coached in the college ranks.

At the University of Maine, where Giufre served as run game coordinator, offensive line and tight ends coach from 2007-2011, he worked with Dennis Dottin-Carter and Michael Zyskowski who are now both on Edsall's staff at UConn.

Dottin-Carter is the defensive line coach while Zyskowski is the director of player personnel for the Huskies. Both spoke highly of Edsall to Giufre.

A chance to work for Edsall was the biggest attraction about accepting the UConn position, Giufre said.

Giufre returns to familiar territory. He was born and raised in Canastota, N.Y., and spent three seasons (2004-06) as offensive line coach at Sacred Heart University.

"I was at Sacred Heart for three years down in Fairfield and loved it," Giufre said. "As you can see, I've never had a bad meal in the state of Connecticut. My wife and I and my two boys, we're just pumped up and excited to come back."

Eight different players earned starts on the offensive line for UConn last season. Red-shirt sophomore tackle Matt Peart, red-shirt freshman guard Cam DeGeorge and freshman tackle Ryan Van Demark all gained valuable experience.

Giufre has already started to evaluate his personnel and work on building relationships. He's a big believer that games are won during the week because of preparation. He wants his offensive linemen to play with an edge.

"Looking at these guys, there's some talent," Giufre said. "I'm just excited to really get a chance to sit down with each guy and get to meet them and develop a relationship with them because the Xs and Os only take you so far.

"... They've got to know that I care about them. I've got to trust them both on and off the field and they've got to have a trust with me because the offensive line is a much different positions than any of these other positions.

"Not a lot of people know when the offensive line does a great job blocking, but everybody can see it when we mess up. So that's the biggest thing, develop a relationship with them, get them all on the same page. ... I don't want five pennies, I want a nickel."


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