Tuesday, November 19, 2013

UConn seniors try to keep it all in perspective

Nobody would blame the 13 seniors if they were in full senioritis mode.

UConn is limping along to the worst start in program history, the Huskies were eliminated from bowl contention weeks ago and yet UConn interim head coach T.J. Weist said nobody is more zoned in on a daily basis than the senior class.

"Not at all, those are the guys who are the most engaged because those are the guys who have the most at stake, it is their senior season and it is their last 2 ½ weeks, that is all they’ve got left in their careers," Weist said. "Those are the guys who have to have the most leadership, those are the guys who are the most invested, those are the guys everybody is playing for. We are playing for our seniors, playing for our pride as football players, playing for UConn and playing for our seniors. The other guys are coming back next year and they have more seasons but these seniors have worked hard their whole careers and they deserve it and make sure every player is playing for them so I am not worried about that at all, those are the guys who are going to be working the hardest today at practice."

It's an interesting time for the seniors. Many of them will never play organized football after UConn plays Memphis on Dec. 7 while others like offensive guard Steve Greene and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen could get looks professionally. On both sides of the spectrum it is important to be focused on the current task - getting the Huskies a victory.

"This is all we have left," Greene said. "It hasn’t just been the seniors pushing them, it has been the entire team. Everybody comes in and is ready to work, ready to grind out during the week, everybody is eager to get this first win, to get this thing rolling hopefully we can end this year and give next year’s team momentum to get rolling for next year."

Weist said reserve CB David Stevenson will undergo knee surgery on Friday and is out for the rest of the season. LB Marquise Vann is also dealing with a knee injury and his status for the Temple game is yet to determined. Starting safety was on the depth chart as a starter after being sidelined for the last two games with a shoulder/neck injury.

"That was a mistake by us, he shouldn’t be on the depth chart," Weist said. "He hasn’t practiced, probably won’t practice and he is questionable for this game, He has a neck injury and we are waiting for this neck injury to either go away or get better and improve and it hasn’t yet, on the scale he is doubtful."

Offensive tackle Kevin Friend missed the SMU game with a concussion but there is a chance he could return. There is still no timetable for OG Gus Cruz to return to the field due to cardiac issues.

"I feel so bad for Kevin," Greene said, "This game is so unforgiving, it can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye and you have a guy like Kevin who has played a lot of football, played a lot of good football and he has been limited to four games this year and that is tough.

"That is a whole other situation (for Cruz), that is your heart and you don’t want to mess with that. It is tough but in college football, it is the next guy up there is no sitting and waiting for the next guy to come back, we have to be able to be interchangeable and if I go down, there is zero lack of production (drop off), it is tough to not have the guys that you thought would be there."


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