Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A healthy McQuillan ready to make an impact

His UConn teammates look on as an injured Sean McQuillan is placed into
an ambulance after taking a huge hit during an Aug. 17 football practice
One of the enduing images of the practices I was allowed to attend during preseason, it was hard to top the scary sight of seeing starting tight end Sean McQuillan being taken from the field in an ambulance after he took a bit hit from cornerback Taylor Mack.

UConn, already thin at the tight end position due to graduation and unexpected departures, were facing the possibility of losing the projected starter.

Thankfully for McQuillan, it was little more than a scary moment. He did miss about 1 1/2 weeks of camp but was cleared a couple days before the Towson game. McQuillan did not record a catch in the game but he was able to play without restriction.

Today was the first time I was able to speak to McQuillan since the day he was injured and he relived the incident.

"It was hard for me and my family," McQuillan said. "My mom was at the practice which I find of wish she wasn’t. It was a scary time and I have never been through anything like that. I’ve had one previous concussion to this point but never been through something like that. Waking up in the ambulance. I was able to wiggle my fingers and toes so it kind of reassured me that things are going to be all right. As the day started progressing, I had a massive headache and I had some whiplash on the hit but as the day started progressing I started to be a little more comfortable just knowing it was probably just a head and neck injury and it wasn’t anything more serious.

"Stuff like that is scary, it is part of the game but you never want something like that to happen to anybody. It is part of the game and I walk out to practice every day knowing that anything can happen, you have to play hard and you can’t really think about it. You know in the back of your mind that injury comes along with the game."

McQuillan believes that he will be more involved in the passing game as the season progresses beginning with Saturday's game against Maryland.

"I think this week and from weeks on I think we will get more involved," McQuillan said. "There are going to be weeks when you don’t get the ball and that is when you have to block and help the team in other areas. I am not really too concerned about it. I am sure we will get more involved and like I told you a few months ago, tight ends will be very involved in the offense this year so I am not really too worried about it."

More than anything else, McQuillan is eager for Saturday's game as it will give him and the rest of the Huskies the chance to show they are a much better team than they looked like in the loss to Towson.

"I can’t wait," McQuillan said. "That is not UConn football, that is not what we are all about. We worked entirely too hard for that be what kind of a team we are. I think we are going to come out this week and show that we can play with anybody. People didn’t realize it is new systems on both sides of the ball and I think we had to work out the kinks. I think that those are gone, the nerves are out and we are going to get to playing UConn football for sure."

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