UConn's Edsall sounds off on trying to coach this generation of players

Storrs — Randy Edsall sounded like an old-timer sitting in a porch rocking chair complaining about the younger generation on Tuesday.

Kids these days.

During Edsall's weekly press conference, the UConn football coach went on and on about the challenges coaching today's players.

It's a topic that he's covered before but did so in more detail this time.

This season is testing his patience, as he's trying to instill a work ethic and mentality into his young Huskies that will result in building a firm foundation for a successful program. They only have one win to show for their efforts so far but showed progress in last week's 24-17 loss to Houston. They visit UMass in Amherst at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Edsall kidded that he has anxiety attacks. He goes for an early morning run to clear his head before tackling the day and coaching his players.

"That's why I get up at 4:15 in the morning and run five miles every day," Edsall said. "It's today's generation. It's frustrating because there's been no accountability in a lot of households and there's been no accountability with these kids growing up.

"They've never had it tough. They've never known how to work. They've never known how to sacrifice and be disciplined. And that's the tough thing. And we're trying to change all those things."

In his previous stint in Storrs, Edsall found players that were willing to sacrifice, put in the hard work and hold each other accountable. The Huskies became a regular contender for a bowl bid.

But now players have a different mindset, according to Edsall. They don't want to take accountability and responsibility.

Football isn't the only focus for Edsall.

He's also considers teaching his players life lessons a big part of his job as a coach. The only team many of the Huskies will ever play for beyond college will be in the workplace and not the NFL.

"Everything is trying to make these kids better people, better students and better athletes," Edsall said. "And we did it before and we're working to do it again. And it's harder now than what it was then because our generation has changed, society has changed."

Edsall talked about a lesson that he taught to his players Tuesday morning.

"I had 21 kids who had to work out this morning because they didn't go to class," Edsall said. "So now you sit there and try to tell them, 'guys, if you're going to miss class, how are you going to be able to perform on a test when you don't have the information from that class? What happens if you don't go to work someday and you don't call in? You think you might be fired the next day?

"... Some of these guys, they don't get it. They've got two obligations here. ... You're supposed to be a full-time student and full-time athlete. That's all it is. Stop being on your phone all the time. Stop playing Fortnite. Go to bed early at night.

"Because, guess what? When you leave here and go in the real world, you better do that. Because if not, you won't be successful. You won't be able to hold a steady job."

g.keefe@theday.com

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