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Pride on the Line for Senior Blue Devils
NEW BRITAIN — When the Central Connecticut State football team gathered for practice on Tuesday, the ingredients were in place for a flat day. The Blue Devils were coming off a loss at Monmouth that crippled their hopes of winning the Northeast Conference. The injury bug had bitten Central. Worse yet, the weather was unforgiving. Its hard enough to get ready for a football practice in nice weather. It’s much tougher in the cold rain that fell on Tuesday.
Head coach Jeff McInerney, by his own admission, entered that practice feeling down. By the end of the week, his spirits were lifted and he was back to being his usual jovial self.
The Blue Devils were anything but flat.
“I told them that they picked me up,” McInerney said. “This team is mentally tough and I’m proud of them. We had a great practice. It coudln’t have been worse, coming in after a tough loss in awful weather. It says a lot about our character. I think we’re going to be OK. I’m not worried about (a letdown) at all. I think we have consistency. But the unfortunate thing is we’re not going to be NEC champs.”
Central will need to be tough mentally and physically if it will win after one of its longest trips of the year. CCSU is at Robert Morris today (1 p.m.) after a long bus ride and facing the knowledge that there’s little more to play for than pride.
“It’s tough on the seniors,” McInerney said. “They’re a tough group. They play the game for the right reasons.”
McInerney also believes his team knows how close it is to contention. A young group lost to North Dakota State after early mistakes let the game get away, to Albany when Central’s chance to tie failed in the final minute, and to Monmouth in a game that was close until the Hawks converted a fake punt late.
“We lost three tough road games and with breaks all three games could have gone either way,” McInerney said. “The kids have tried their butts off. Things happen for a reason. Now we have to play and I think we will.”
The Blue Devils do have milestones to play for today. Quarterback Aubrey Norris will go for his 2,000th career passing yard. With 31 yards he would become the 9th Blue Devil to achieve that number. But the Blue Devils will be playing for team history as well. CCSU is just 3-11 against the Colonials, and is looking forward to trying to start evening that total today.
“It will be tough,” McInerney said. “They’re well-coached and they can throw the football. Their tight end makes a lot of plays in the red zone… They’re very capable.”
The Blue Devils have been more than capable this season as well, but are looking for their first big conference win.
“We’re 0-6 against Albany and Monmouth since I’ve been here and 10-1 against everyone else (in the NEC),” McInerney said. “I know that. But this is a good team.”
Robert Morris gave McInerney that loss in 2006.
Now, more than ever, his team needs a big win.
Pride on the line for senior Blue Devils
By Matt Straub, The New Britain Herald