The UConn football team travels to South Florida this weekend to face the 20th ranked Bulls.
The Huskies will try to win this one for junior linebacker Eli Thomas— who suffered a stroke last week.
Erik Dobratz caught up with head coach Randy Edsall who said its never easy to get a call that one of your players is ill.
“Yeah its a coach’s worst nightmare and usually you can tell who the phone call is coming from if the news might not be good…when Tony called me and let me know what was going on Wednesday…those aren’t the kind of phone calls that you want to get. But then what you do is you kick it in to doing the things that you have to do to support the family first and foremost and the young man and making sure everything else, you hold together.”
Your players really seemed to respond to him when we asked about him, what a great kid he is.
“Eli’s an outstanding young man and he was a guy that I’ve talked about in terms of I’ve appreciated how much when he came here , the kind of attitude that he brought to the team and the way he worked and everything else. He made an impact in a short time.”
Bye week? What about the break for coaches, getting on the road and working on your program?
“I love the going out on the road. It’s therapy for me to be able to go out and see kids first hand, practicing, playing in a game , going and talking to coaches , getting information from people. We’ve got to make sure that we gather all the information , get all the things that we need to make sure that the young men we’re bringing in here fit in every aspect of what were looking for.”
The break is over and you’re jumping right back into this with this South Florida team.
“It’s another undefeated team that we play. It seems like all of them except maybe one or two that we’ve played undefeated when we played them. Having the history of playing them when I was here before even when I was at Maryland we played them. They have talented athletes. They’re a really good football team. We have another tremendous challenge ahead of us and one that were looking forward to.”
One of the players Edsall will be relying on this weekend is senior wide receiver Hergy Mayala.
The 6-1 Montreal native is having a pretty good season for the Huskies…
Over the first six games, Mayala has 23 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Edsall says he’s become a real leader on and off the field.
Mayala had big dreams when he first arrived in Storrs and although it hasn’t gone exactly how he wanted—he wants to finish off his career strong.
“I’m proud of what i’ve been doing and what i have going on right now. I”ve always been someone that works hard. My mom always told me that hard work and for me it was a pride thing, “If you’re gonna go out there you’re gonna sign everything that you do and put your name on it.”
Huskies and Bulls kickoff on Saturday night at 7 in Tampa.