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UConn Football

Jim Mora counting on end-of-game execution, energy from UConn football fans to turn close losses into wins

The UConn football team spent about 15 minutes at the end of Tuesday’s practice focusing on end-of-game situations.

In slow motion, quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson completed a 10-yard pass to his receiver, who then inched forward as teammates staggered behind. Rugby style, the offense moved up the field, tossing the ball back to a teammate as they approached a defender.


Mora stopped the drill several times, pointing out eligible ball carriers that the defense left alone and stressing the importance of covering everyone. The ball could’ve been lateraled back across the field and easily carried into the end zone with a clear path. Once that late-game lateral scenario passed Mora’s eye test, they moved onto Hail Mary positioning.

“We want to make sure we master (end-of-game situations). They may never come up the whole season, but if they do, we want to make sure we know how to react on offense and defense,” Mora said.


The team has been practicing situational football since last week and brought tackling into drills for the first time during last Saturday’s scrimmage. Mora said he doesn’t have this Saturday’s scrimmage totally planned out, but it will likely consist of more situational drills.

Despite finishing 1-11, UConn entered the fourth quarter trailing by three points or less in four of their losses last season. The Huskies ended up losing those games by a combined 28 points.

Finishing games is important, and Mora hopes UConn fans will help the team do so.

“I hope (fans) come out and support them,” he said. “I will tell you this, that these kids, these young men, they are committed, they have a great work ethic. They represent the school well. They want to compete, they want to be good and it is really important for them to feel supported. If this was a group of guys that didn’t really care, didn’t really compete, it’d be hard to get behind them, but that’s not what they are.”

Mora, who called himself a “1-0 type of guy” who is only focused on the game he’s coaching and doesn’t predict results, said the brand of football he expects UConn to play will be one that gets noticed out of the state.

“I think if (fans) come out to the Rent or if they turn on the TV on Saturday and watch his team play, I think they’ll see a team that plays with a lot of passion, a lot of grit, they play disciplined. They compete like crazy on every single down,” Mora said.

The energy surrounding the program has felt different since Mora’s hiring. He has the passion, the experience and he loves what he’s doing. Once that energy translates to the fans, Mora feels it will make a difference.


“I know this,” Mora said. “Players feed off the energy of the crowd, coaches feed off the energy of the crowd. People that tell you they don’t pay attention to the crowd are lying to you. Because we do. We feel it. We feed off of it, it makes a difference to us.”