I had a very telling experience here in St. John, while at a beach side bar, I met a guy who worked for the Hartford Housing Authority (or something close to that). Anyway, conversations between two men, wearing nothing more than glorified loin clothes can be forced at best. However, he had a Notre Dame hat on, so I figured I’d give him a good natured ribbing. Turns out he’s a UConn fan and, like so many good men, was married to a Notre Dame fan. That’s not the point here. The point is, he asked me what I thought about Randy Edsall. It surprised me, that a lot of emotion and words surfaced, that I had no problem sharing with this complete stranger. Coach Edsall is a national figure, a real coach’s coach, I told him. I said, it was frustrating as a player, who at times wanted to cut corners, to have a coach who was, by definition, not a corner cutter. He always did things the right way. Not to mention he has an unwavering work ethic and the emotional/moral capacity to lead, not from a place of rah-rah’s-go-get-em’s, but from the example set by working 18 hour days, year round. I knew it when I was a player, and then fan, media, through this seasons most tragic of circumstances, learned that he was a guiding light, spiritual rock. At the height of all “this”– a pain that rarely seems to fade, he was bringing all of UConn and college football through the most difficult of times. I got the feeling that this “answer” was more than this guy was expecting or wanted, but it was the truth. Then furthering my opinion of the man, I got a text message back from him after the game to the effect of, “wish you could have been there, I know your parents had a great time”
UConn is, in my opinion, the best 5-6 team in the country. Not that wins can heal what happened, but, man, in the fourth quarter I couldn’t stand watching those games get away. Didn’t we deserve one? It was almost as if something bigger was building. Then, there it is: UConn and Notre Dame, playing in a football game that just a few seasons earlier would have seemed impossible. UConn could win? Inconceivable. On Senior Day at Notre Dame? Now your just talking crazy. And sure enough, down 14-0, coming back to win in Double OT. I smell a Disney Movie in the making. You couldn’t have scripted it better. I was in a tropical local bar, screaming at a television, proud to be a husky. Missing those days. I was flooded with text messages, talking to the guys who, as Scott Lutrus said it earlier in the week, weren’t surprised they went down there and won. No one understands UConn football’s mentality, except UConn football, and thats the way they (we) like it.