November 11, 2003
STORRS, CT - The University of Connecticut football team held the final installment of its weekly media luncheons on Tuesday at the Hale Hall Lounge as the Huskies gear up to face Wake Forest on Saturday. Here is a sampling of what was said.
Head Coach Randy Edsall
On Wake Forest:
We've got a tremendous challenge this weekend. You take a look at them offensively and it's scary. Cory Randolph is an excellent athlete at quarterback. Chris Barclay, their running back, is also very good. They do a lot of good things. They run some option and they'll also spread you out. It's going to be a tremendous challenge. They're very talented offensively. Defensively, it's a different scheme than what we've played against all year. It's a 3-3-5 scheme, a stacked type defense. They have guys that are very athletic on defense and very active. I'm sure that coming off of their loss to North Carolina that they're going to be geared up to play and get their sixth win to make them bowl eligible.
How much will you look at their games vs. common opponents BC and NC State?:
Those games were early in the season for them. I just know that they're a good football team from when I watch them on tape. We can look at it from a comparative standpoint, but I think it just comes down to what you do on game day. We know the caliber of opponents that they have to go against week-in and week-out from playing Georgia Tech last year and NC State a few weeks ago. We'll just go in and play as hard as we can.
On the importance of this year's senior leadership:
That's one of the biggest things that this team has had this year, leadership from the captains and the seniors. They've been hearing these same words over and over for four or five years about one game at a time and they've gotten the big picture. They get the message that I've been trying to get across to them. These guys (captains Feldeisen, Mulcahy and Osunde), are old enough and mature enough to understand that these are the things that we have to do. They really understand the big picture and the expectations of how I want this program run. The big thing now is that everyone has grown up in this system. This is the way it has been since the day they got here and it just goes on and on and it doesn't change.
Which was the team's best effort this season?:
I don't think there is one because I don't think we've played our best game in all three phases. We haven't won the kicking game one time in all 11 games that we've played so far. To be sitting here at 8-3 after 11 games and not win the kicking game, in the coaches' point of view, is almost unheard of. You've got to REALLY win the other two phases - offense and defense - to do that. That's the thing that really shows the heart and soul and the guts of this football team. When you do that, you've really put the pressure on the other side.
Is there anything different about this game due to the bowl possibilities?:
No. Our players are the same. I could put up bulletin board material and it wouldn't faze them a bit. This is the 12th game of the season. We're not approaching it any differently. The bottom line is that all you can do is go out and play hard each and every week and you put the wins in the bank at the end of the year and see how many you have. That's all we can do. Everything else is out of our control. We've been very good doing that for 11 games so we're not going to change for the 12th.
Sophomore Linebacker James Hargrave
On playing last week with a broken thumb:
The pain wasn't that bad. It's just the love of the game that made me get back on the field. A couple of times I hit my hand, but when you're out there and the emotions are going through you, you really don't feel it.
How frustrating was missing the Western Michigan game (with the injury)?:
Honestly, it was terrible. It didn't hit me until that Friday, seeing my teammates leaving on the bus (for the walk-through at the stadium) and I was just in my dorm room sitting by myself. It was depressing. Then Terry (Caulley) was talking to me and said 'now you know how I feel like.' I told Terry I have no idea how he does it. It was hard just for me to miss one game and he's missed more than half the season. It was very hard.
How would this team feel if it doesn't play again after Saturday (in a bowl)?:
I think to not play another game would hurt. But, then we would have something to strive for next year. It would make us work harder during the off-season and in spring practice to get where we want to get to.
Is there satisfaction in knowing that you're a part of a special building process?:
It's a great feeling that you're helping a team that struggled before and is now doing great things. One of the biggest parts that people don't realize about that new stadium is the fans. Just playing in front of all of those people means a lot. They really lifted us up during some of those games. Without them, who knows how some of those games would have went. We're very thankful for them and for everybody who came out and supported us this year. Just being a part of this team has been great. Not just for me, but for everyone. Even our families talk about how well we're going. I'm glad that I'm a part of this team.