Tuesday, December 22, 2015

UConn QB Bryant Shirreffs to have cheering section in St. Pete

The last time I caught up with UConn starting quarterback Bryant Shirreffs he was having some fun with his parents through the media.

It just happens that two of the six bowls being played on Dec. 26 includes not only Bryant Shirreffs playing for UConn in the St. Petersburg Bowl but his brother Evan suiting up for Miami in the Sun Bowl (although he is redshirting this season).

"I'll guess they have decide who they love (more)," Bryant Shirreffs deadpanned when he met with the media before heading down to Florida.

Naturally when I caught up for Shirreffs after today's practice at Calvary Christian High School, I had to get an update of the itinerary of Shirreffs' mother and father.

"They are in Texas right now seeing my brother and then they are going to come on Christmas Day, see me the day before the game," Shirreffs said.

If both brothers were expected to play, it could be a tougher choice for the Shirreffs clan but it makes sense to have them come to watch Bryant play rather than see Evan stand on the sidelines.

"It is a good time but it is definitely stressful especially for my mom," Shirreffs said. "She is a pro at coordinating everything and I am sure everything is going to work out smoothly."

Obviously the main order of business coming down to Florida is to try to end the season on a winning note.

Senior linebacker Graham Stewart, the only UConn player expected to play who has previously played in a bowl game, might have put it the best.

"You go to the bowl game to beat the other team, you are not just going down there to have a frolic in the sunshine," Stewart said.

However, while the UConn and Marshall teams are in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, they are doing much more than just prepare for the bowl game. There was a visit to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg and a Fill the Bowl where players from both teams competed to see which squad could pack the most meals for children.

I had the misfortune of getting caught in horrendous traffic on I-275 due to an accident and although I did make it to the hospital before the visit with the children came to an end, my journey up several floors in the hospital did allow me to run into the Marshall players and coaches and not the UConn traveling party.

I did speak to senior defensive end Kenton Adeyemi about this week being more than just football. Whether it is going all in on these charity events or enjoying the amazing weather, this is one week that Adeyemi and his teammates won't soon forget.

"So far it has been unbelievable out here," Adeyemi said. "I am a Connecticut guy and right now I am used to snow and 29 degree temperature, going out and shoveling my front lawn. Even the Fill the Bowl, the competition between the teams, you always want to give back."


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