Football: Edsall stresses ‘student’ in student-athlete

UConn football head coach Randy Edsall discusses balancing football and academics. (Eric Wang/ The Daily Campus)

After a feisty and physical Tuesday morning practice, the main topic of UConn football head coach Randy Edsall’s weekly spiel to the press was not related to the on-field action. Instead, Edsall stressed the importance of success both on the field and in the classroom, and revealed that some players’ seasons are effectively over in order to focus on the latter.

According to Edsall, redshirt freshman and backup quarterback Marvin Washington has been struggling academically this semester and a decision has been made to put him on the shelf for the final three weeks of the season. Edsall said he gave Washington the choice to continue in the backup role or to take over as the team’s scout team QB and give himself more time to meet his academic eligibility requirements. Washington had previously been held back from the Huskies’ trip to USF, although Edsall did not reveal a reason. Edsall sees the redshirt freshman’s decision to focus on school a sign of growing maturity.

“I said ‘Marvin, you’ve got to learn to be a man, you’ve got to learn to make decisions for what is best for your interests going forward.’” said Edsall. “What we’re doing is right and that kid is finally seeing it. That’s the stuff that makes you feel good because you’re helping these young men become better students and better athletes.”

Linebacker Kevon Jones will also sit out the rest of the season, giving him time to focus on his grades.

“He’s a young man that had too much on his plate as a true freshman,” said Edsall. “He needs something off his plate and football’s getting taken off his plate so he can spend more time in the classroom and get off to a good start.”

Edsall also hopes that the team knows that doing the bare minimum in the classroom is selling themselves short.

“Sometimes these guys think C’s are good enough. That’s average,” said Edsall. “I don’t want these kids to be average. If I allow that, I’m cheating.”

After Edsall’s press conference ended, redshirt sophomore linebacker Eddie Hahn attested to how difficult it could be to juggle athletics and academics, particularly in the first year after gaining actual playing time.

“As a young freshman, that first semester can be really tough,” said Hahn. “My first year in college I didn’t do so well, I finished with like a 2.2 but you learn from it. You don’t have anybody telling you to go to class, do homework or all this stuff.”

Edsall, also the team’s academic liaison, stressed that part of the job is to have a watchful eye on his players’ grades. He believes that the culture of Connecticut football that he has been trying to sell can only be helped by having student athletes’ head coach involved in their academic lives.

“It’s part of what we sell. That we care about you holistically as a total person, not just an athlete,” Edsall said. “If the head coach is involved, it puts a little bit more emphasis on it.”


Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at bryan.lambert@uconn.edu.