It's Senior Day for the UConn Huskies football team and that means it's time to say goodbye to 14 seniors who have spent the last four-six years of their lives in Storrs.
They are: Jimmy Bennett, Tyler Bullock, Chad Christen, Ryan Donohue, Kevin Friend, Steve Greene, Frank Guardi, Martin Hyppolite, Jesse Joseph, Taylor Mack, Spencer Parker, Shamar Stephen, Cole Wagner, and Tim Willman,
No matter what lies ahead for them and interim head coach T.J. Weist, he'd like to see them leave Rentschler Field as winners of their third straight game today.
"It's unbelievably important," said Weist. "It's critical to send these guys off right, because this senior class has been through the ups and downs. They've had to go through two losing seasons after perhaps the best season in program history in 2010. And then they had to deal with the coaching change this season and the emotional aspect of that."
"Now they've been fighting back and winning some games and we want to send them off with some momentum. I want them to know they were part of something special. It may not be winning a championship or a winning season but I feel they could at least be a part of something that didn't go right, but they made it right."
So if you're heading over to Rentschler Field this morning, close up your tailgate a little early and be in your seats at 12:30 p.m. and give these seniors the salute they deserve.
After all they are a big part of the reason why the Huskies are 2-9 and not 0-11 right now.
"No one may ever look at this team and see anything special about it because of our record," Weist said. "But the respect that the senior class gets for finishing off this season makes the difference."
FRIEND WILL MISS HIS FINAL GAME; WILLIAMS BACK
Unfortunately for senior RT Kevin Friend, his chances of playing today are 0%. He's still battling a concussion and hadn't passed any of the tests. Fellow seniors Spencer Parker and Jesse Joseph will play today. Joseph, who injured his elbow in last week's win, will be wearing a brace on his elbow.
Sean McQuillan, Marquise Vann, Ty-Meer Brown, Gus Cruz, Shakim Phillips are also out for the game.
However, some good news for the secondary as freshman Jhavon Williams has been cleared to play after missing the last two games with a concussion.
BENNETT NOT DONE
While it remains to be seen whether or not other seniors will get a chance to show their stuff in postseason All-Star Games, LT Jimmy Bennett will get an opportunity to do so. He's been selected to participate in the Inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl that will be held in Charleston, South Carolina on January, 11 2014.
"I am kind of nervous," Bennett said. "I have never played in an all-star game, I didn’t play in one in high school, even in Pee Wees I didn’t even play in one. I am kind of excited, it is going to be a learning experience just like in college saying ‘these guys are good, everybody is good.’"
SMALLWOOD EXPECTS JOSEPH TO CRY
While you expect most of the tears to be shed by the families of the seniors, I'm sure there will be some emotions from the 14 seniors as their honored today. LB Yawin Smallwood, who by the way could be playing his final game at the Rent as well, thinks that Jesse Joseph will be the one who cries the most.
"He acts like he's tough but he's a little softy deep down," said Smallwood. "It might be worse (in reference to Knowshon Moreno crying). He's been here a long time. He's put a lot of sweat in the bucket. I feel it's going to be a tough thing for him to go out there."
MANUEL TO SPEAK ABOUT COACHING SEARCH
UConn AD Warde Manuel will speak at 11 a.m. this morning about the process for the coaching search. I will do my best to get something posted as soon as I can after the press conference.
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