Randy Edsall led his team back on the practice field late Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's game in Morgantown. The matchup with West Virginia, a team Connecticut has never beaten, was being hyped as a potential program changer shortly after Saturday's 38-25 win over Louisville.
However, that game was the farthest thing from the minds of the Huskies' players, coaches and fans, just 10 hours later. So much has happened since Saturday afternoon. A life was lost. A soon-to-be father gone. Tears were shed. Mourning ensued from Storrs, CT all the way to Miami, FL.
In the midst of it all, boys became men. Coaches became fathers. The courage captain Desi Cullen displayed Sunday afternoon is incomprehensible. The composure coach Edsall has shown everytime he steps to the microphone, is flat-out astonishing. After promising to Jasper's mom that he would look after her child, guaranteeing the potential harm he faced on the streets of Miami from the day he was born, would be over, the unthinkable happened in the most rural of places.
As Robert 'Reggie' McClain put it yesterday, "Me and Jazz, we always wanted to beat West Virginia. This is the year."
A win Saturday would mean so much more than a victory on a 100 yard field in the middle of Appalachia. It would be a tribute to a fallen brother. They will play for Jazz. Some have dedicated their careers to him.
Monday, Howard's family stepped into the locker room, the same room where their son and nephew joked around and prepared to play the game he loved each day and delivered a simple message. Play for Jazz. Win for Jazz. Make the Orange Bowl, for Jazz.
That's just what the Huskies plan on doing.