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JOE D’ NOTEBOOK 12/8/2013

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Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood (left) with UConn interim head football coach T.J. Weist, Nov. 30, 2013. (Photo by Bob Stowell/UConn)

Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood (left) with UConn interim head football coach T.J. Weist, Nov. 30, 2013. (Photo by Bob Stowell/UConn)

SUNDAY, DEC 8- After a record setting Saturday at the Rent, the question is “Where to Now”? for the UConn football team. Yes, it was terrific senior day send off, the 45-10 rout of Memphis. Casey Cochran had the greatest day throwing the football in UConn history and Geremy Davis had the greatest day catching the ball. The 14 seniors had a memorable last game, as did Yawin Smallwood who announced after the game that he was declaring for the NFL draft after a memorable 36 game career at linebacker, where he has set the bar high for future Huskies. It was great to see Frank Guardi, injury plagued walk on wide receiver , get on the field for a play, a nice touch by Interim Head Coach T.J. Weist. And for Martin Hyppolite, who almost died in a February auto accident to get the start and score the final touchdown of the season. This senior class has a number of outstanding young men. People like Steve Greene, Chad Christen and Cole Wagner are among the players who I will miss dealing with and wish nothing but the best of luck in the future.

But among the records set yesterday was a dismal one. Only 17,086 turned out to see the game. The smallest crowd in the history of Rentschler Field. And that’s one of the things that makes the hiring of the next head football coach critical. Interest in the program is at an all time low since entering the FBS era. There is nothing worse than apathy towards a program and that has happened at UConn. Warde Manuel has to hire someone who will win right away and energize the fan base. Who is that? Your guess is as good as mine.UConn is not the only head coaching vacancy and the caliber of candidate will tell us a lot about the perception of the football program outside the Nutmeg State. This is the most important off season in program history and Manuel is off and running in the search of the new head coach.

No games this week but coaches show with Kevin Ollie, Monday at 6 from Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury and Geno Auriemma on Tuesday at 6 from Geno’s Grille in Storrs.

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