For the 15 seniors on the UConn Huskies football roster, this is probably not how they envisioned their final season going.
They most likely thought their college careers would end in a bowl game. Instead, they're facing the possibility of going 0-12.
So you know, they'll be the ones who worked the hardest this week in preparation for tonight's tilt against the Temple Owls.
"Those are the guys who are most engaged," said interim head coach T.J. Weist. "They have the most at stake. It's their senior season. It's their last 2.5 weeks in their career. Those are the guys who have to have the most leadership. Those are the guys who are most invested. Those are the guys who everybody is playing for."
When you talk to them, you know this is not how they want to go out.
"It's our last three opportunities to play college football ever," said redshirt senior Tim Willman. "And we know that. It's something that we have to keep the team together and not let anyone jump ship and just be "All In" like our motto that Coach Weist put in his first day."
"All we have left is these last three games," said redshirt senior Steve Greene. "We want to make it the best we can. We want to win out on these three games if we can. This team in general isn't one that's going to quit. We come in ready to work, ready to get better and grind out throughout the week. Ready to show up on Saturdays to get this thing right finally.
During the games you can see how hard this team is working for its first win. Obviously only the players and coaches get to see the practices. There has been improvement under Coach Weist, it just hasn't translated into wins.
So what is UConn playing for these final games.
"We're playing for our seniors, playing for our pride, playing our pride as football players, playing for UConn," said Weist. "The other guys are coming back next year, they have more seasons. But these seniors have worked hard their whole careers and they deserve it. And I'll make sure that every player is playing for them."
One of those players playing hard for them will be redshirt freshman quarterback Casey Cochran.
"We want to win for these guys, said Cochran. "They've been here four or five years. And they deserve to go out on a higher note. We've been frustrated all year because these guys have been leading us all off season and season and they are great leaders."
This senior class is on their third head coach, third defensive coordinator, third offensive coordinator and the list could go on. Their class (redshirt seniors) has been to two bowl games, the PapaJohns.com Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Basically, they've been through a lot and their legacy will most likely be dictated by these final three games.
"We're a class that's had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, said Greene. "Big East Championship and BCS Bowl in 2010. Right now we're 0-9. Being able to fight through adversity and hopefully if all goes well, give them momentum going forward into next year."
Hopefully we're talking about a UConn win in the morning and then how the seniors would like to finish their last two home games with wins and end their final season on a three-game winning streak.
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photo credit: ian bethune - sox & dawgs