Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shirreffs thrilled to be back on the field for UConn

The last practice I attended, the only head gear being worn by UConn starting quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was a winter hat.

Today, however, Shirreffs was thrilled to have his UConn helmet on and more than happy to be running things with the first-team offense.

"My body actually feels even better because I got some time away and let my body recover," Shirreffs said. "I was definitely missing playing in a day to day basis but now we are back at it, having fun.

"I definitely wanted to be out there. If they would have let me, I would have played. It is tough but I am grateful to be able to play again."

Shirreffs hesitated a bit when he was asked how close he was to being able to play against Temple in the regular-season finale.

"It is a tough question," Shirreffs said. "I would have played, if it was the day after Houston I would have played but it wouldn't have been smart. I didn't pass enough levels and whatever protocol there was for me to be able to play in a live setting. It was unfortunte for me and I wish I could have finished out the season but I am grateful that I can play (in the St. Petersburg Bowl).

"It was a pretty big hit, it is probably the hardest hit I've taken. It is football, I have taken a lot of hits and it wasn't anything special about that."

Shirreffs is pretty excited at the prospects of playing in a bowl game.

"My entire life, I have watched bowl games, try to pick who was going to win each game," Shirreffs said. "Football has been a part of my life for so long so to be a part of a program turning around and making it to a bowl has been huge for me. It has been tough for me waiting to play and now I get to play and I am having fun with my brothers."

Speaking of brothers, his brother Evan is a true freshman quarterback at Miami. Evan Shirreffs is redshirting but still the Hurricanes play Washington State in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 26 at 2 p.m. That happens to be three hours after the Huskies begin their bowl game.

"The burden is on my parents, especially my mom because she is a home body and she likes to hang out with me and my brother," Shirreffs said. "I don't know the plan yet, I'll guess they have decide who they love (more)."

Receiver Noel Thomas, who was in class, and linebacker Matt Walsh, who is receiving treatment from the lower-body injury he suffered against Temple were the only players on the two-deep who I expected to see out there and were not at practice. Receivers Brian Lemelle and Thomas Lucas were both taking part in drills.


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