STORRS, Conn. - Redshirt senior linebacker Junior Joseph, freshman defensive back Brayden Brown and senior defensive back Jamar Summers have all been able to come to the mutual understanding that confidence is what has been the driving force behind the defense and the success they have had these past couple of weeks.
Brayden Brown, only being a freshman has shown that he is here to play the game. The Fort Hill high school product is buying into what the coaches are asking of the unit to do which he believes has translated to the team’s success. “I think its confidence from both players and coaches. Players are showing more confidence in practice and the coaches are having more confidence in us because we’re doing what they’re coaching us and we’re staying coachable so I think it goes both ways,” said Brown.
Head Coach Randy Edsall expects that confidence to lead to future successes for the Huskies. “I think the reason they have confidence is because of how we’re preparing and I think anytime you prepare well and you go out and play and win that should get you more confidence and it should get you more incentive to go out and work harder and prepare harder knowing what you have at stake.”
When the UConn football team hosted Memphis two weeks ago, many of the guys walked away simply feeling embarrassed. The game was a major wakeup call with the team allowing a program-record 70 points to extend their losing streak to four games. After reflecting on the outcome the defense promised themselves that a result like the one they had that night would not happen again.
“Obviously, a lot of people turned their back on us because we gave up 70 points and that was definitely tough on us,” said Summers. “But seeing how people reacted we definitely realized that is up to us to make changes and allow ourselves to not face that again. We’ve definitely been honing in on that and learning to grind through it.”
These past two weekends the Huskies defense has stepped up, allowing 34 points combined by the Owls and Golden Hurricane but most importantly, winning both contests.
The coaching staff can take a lot of the responsibility for this progress. Defensive backs coach Curome Cox is bringing his charisma into practice to inspire his players. “At the end of the day, he’s young still so he still has that swagger to him. Obviously he played and he can coach it from our perspective,” added Summers.
Summers is one of the players who had a bit of a slower adjustment than others when it came to the new staffing techniques and admits that it has definitely been a learning process for him. Nonetheless, he has come a long way and has been moving in the right direction which inevitably is showing on the field.
“He’s started practicing better, he started listening better, he started doing those things that Coach Cox was asking him to do and played within the scheme of what we want him to do and it’s showing up on the film and on the field. That’s what he’s got to continue to do and if he continues to do that than his play will continually get better and better each week,” commented Coach Edsall.
Looking ahead to this weekend, Missouri is sure to be a challenge but the fact that they are part of the SEC is not something that our guys are ready to let discourage them. It just means more work, more practice and more concentration.
“With an SEC team, their offense is top two or three in the SEC and when you’re in a conference like that with Alabama and you’re up there statistically on offense you have to bring you’re A-game because they play the best of the best, said Joseph. “So we just have to buckle down, increase our intensity, watch a lot of film and give it our all.”
If the defense continues to work hard and make adjustments then the results of the past two weeks will become a regular occurrence for the Huskies.
“Defense wins games and field position wins games,” Coach Edsall said, “that to me, that’ll never change.”