STORRS, Conn. -
The University of Connecticut football team wraps up the regular season this Saturday when it plays at nationally-ranked Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Gametime is 7:00 p.m. with an ESPNU national television audience and it will be also heard on the UConn IMG Radio Network.
UConn clinched bowl eligibility last Saturday with a 20-17 win over No. 13 Houston at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The Huskies are 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the American Athletic Conference. The Owls are 9-2 on the season and 6-1 in the American.
UConn will face a ranked team for the second week in a row as the Owls check in at No. 25 in the latest Associated Press poll.
The Huskies will play in a bowl game for the first time since the 2010 season and make sure you check out UConnBowl.com from now until the game for the most information on the bowl scene.
For a look at the UConn Media Notes, CLICK HERE.
Tuesday was Media Day in Storrs. Here is a wrapup of the day with quotes, video and Twitter feeds.
UConn Head Coach Bob Diaco
"Hello everyone, thanks for coming. The team is doing well over the University break time, you get a little bit more time to be together. The staff obviously has a full slate of work to do, but it's good to be around them and pop in and out and spend a little bit more time taking care of themselves and on academics in the study center. It's a great week for that. I'm sure they are ready for a break, like the rest of the student body was, but they're enjoying their time together. They gave the appropriate amount of time to the victory from Saturday, a great win. The team played hard and we were pleased with how they played and executed. They were pleased. Overall, just an honor day for the seniors. We were proud to all be a part of that moment for them. It's a special moment, because you win the game. I've been on teams, as a player and as a coach, that you didn't win that senior day, and as much as you talk about it being a memory, it's very forgettable when you don't win and very memorable when you do. I'm excited that we all had the opportunity to pull together for that cause and get that job done for them. They were so appreciative of everyone's effort and showed it and said it. The response form that group was just great after the game. Onto the next opponent, a very exciting match-up in our half of the conference. It will be an exciting game against a great team. I have so much respect and admiration for Coach Matt Rhule and how his team plays. I'm a big fan of his and how his team plays, and have been. They play tough, hard nose, fundamentally sound football. He's a nuts and bolts guy, not trying to trick anyone. He just likes playing hard nose football and has a bunch of guys that do the same. You can see the general care for each other during the play and how the program works. It's a class outfit that plays a brand of football that we like to play. It'll be an exciting game, exciting match-up and one we're looking forward to, getting started in our preparation in our game week."
On Tommy Myers' and Bryant Shirreffs' injuries: "Tommy's season is over. It was a season-ending injury, that isn't, it's a big deal because he wanted to continue to play, but it won't be anything that lingers into the future, but it will require an amount of time. He won't be able to play this weekend or a bowl game, but then shortly after that, he'll be full-speed. I'd be shocked if he's not fully participating in winter conditioning. It's his lower leg and then I can't really expand upon that. Byrant's day-to-day. He was feeling much better on Sunday then he was Saturday night. He was feeling better on Monday than he was Sunday. Same thing for today. He will be out with the offense today at practice, but the amount of exertion is still to be determined, but I would expect it to be very minimal today."
On if they are pleased with the growth of the young players on defense: "They're being led by the seniors. So for every person that you mentioned, Julian (Campenni) is talking adjacent to Foley (Fatukasi), Foley is being helped on a daily basis by Sean Marinan, helping him become a more professional player as a coach's son and senior. Andrew Adams makes all the checks. He puts the appropriate coverage and that level of communication has given Jamar Summers the opportunity to play fast. The same thing goes with (Marquise) Vann as it relates to (Luke) Carrezola. Vann puts a lot of activity on for Carrezola during the course of the game. We're real pleased with the younger guys, but we're really pleased with our seniors and the work they're doing to create production."
On the growth of Noel Thomas: "Noel is taking care of a lot of areas in his life that have distracted him, not that it's all peaches and cream right now or that he's on an easy streak right now, but it's so much better than it ever was. That's a brick or several bricks that he's lifted off the load of the board and that's added to a real frame, professional approach when it comes to the building. He comes here to get ready to play well, in meetings, in the strength and conditioning opponent, when he's eating in the dining hall and then on the practice field. He's also asserted himself as a leader amongst those, specifically the freshmen wide receivers that need direction. The can easily point to him to see, on a play-by-play basis, the effort and output necessary to be a productive player, even when the play is not going to you. There's a lot of things, you see a great catch, a circus catch or a point of attack action, but there's some backside action that he's really cleaned his game up and really worked hard to assure on a play-to-play basis that he's doing the work like it should be done. That's great for Tyraiq (Beals) and Hergy (Mayala) and Aaron (McLean) and Frank (Battle) and Brian (Coney), five freshmen that are really going to be special players here."
Junior, Wide Receiver, Noel Thomas
On how being a role model on the team has helped him mature as a player: "The younger guys definitely help me out to try and make me a better leader, because I do have to help them out when they need it. They are young guys and they're developing really well. I'm happy I can lead them."
On his own personal growth as a receiver: "My confidence level is raising every week. That's the biggest thing right there. When you're confident, you play better."
On the culture of the team: "We're not just a team now, we're a family. Everybody has the same vision, the same goal and everybody is on the same page. When you're playing in the game and you're on the field, you're not on the field with your friends, you're really on the field with your brothers, and it just means so much more to you when you feel that way."
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