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Jim Mora's Tall Work of Building Culture and What It Means for UConn Football Leadership - The Hartford Courant

Storrs — Much of the talk after the first day of UConn football camp was about cultural development. This term is widely used but seldom defined.

For Huskies, it’s more than two drones flying over a perfectly manicured driving range, flashy social media posts, catchphrases, hashtags and public recognition. That’s what strength and conditioning coach Quan Tompkins is doing when training at the back of his zone at the end, Will his night running his back pushing transfer. Head coach Jim Mora paces in the middle of the field and yells instructions, stopping occasionally to acknowledge a job well done.

For the final five minutes of practice, the entire team huddled at the back of the end zone to see kicker Noël Luheras nearly run into the cameraman on the scissor lift between the uprights. Or get together for a workout during the summer.

All of which were branded with the “Husky Revolution”.

The move was inspired by Mora and his staff, but executed by the players. Many of the players wore blue and white last season, but there were many who didn’t. rice field.

“We’re more brotherly now,” running back Nate Carter said Friday after the team’s first fall practice. to keep.”

Carter said that even with the typical opening day rust during practice, the team played itself out in 90-degree sun until the final whistle sounded three hours after the first player stepped onto the field. He said that he had gathered around himself.

“These long, grueling practices will drive us toward finishing the game in the fourth quarter,” Carter said.

The Huskies lost four of their 11 losses last season and were within three points entering the fourth quarter.

The leadership has broadly come from a returning player who has been through it all with the Huskies since the start of last season. Players like Carter and linebacker Jackson Mitchell stuck it out after former head coach Randy Edsall resigned following one of those close matches. They could have relocated, but they trusted the new administration instead.

And despite an image overhaul and numerous new names on the roster, they continue to lead.

“This team has clear leaders. They’re leaders because of what they do, the way they act and behave, and the standards they hold,” Mora said. You get leadership, you get respect.”

For Mitchell, who led the team in tackles last season, developing culture begins with dedication.

“You can’t have a successful team if the best players don’t give it their all. The best players should be the players who work the hardest and put in the most extra work and stuff like that. said Mitchell.

When Mora first arrived at Storrs, the team had a lengthy meeting about culture. In setting new standards for the program, he emphasized the importance of positive thinking. A simple concept complicated by the program’s poor recent history.

“Respect,” Mitchell said. “Because we’re competing here, we’re going to have hiccups and we’ll argue, but on Saturday we’ll play for each other and fight together.

“It’s my mindset every day to come here and make my teammates better.If we all have the mindset of not trying to That guy but trying to be Man As a team, we feel that we can win many matches. ”

The revolution is still in progress. A 1-11 team will never be a strong team with a new coach and a few good words. Work will begin in the spring, and the Huskies’ identity will continue to develop by the team’s season opener against Utah State on August 27.

“It’s a process because some people don’t have a lot of success here,” Mora said. “And when things go wrong, we tend to fall into the old trap of ‘Oh, let’s do it again.

“We have to keep it going. Even without that kind of conversation, I feel like we’re on the right track.”

Regardless of what plays were made during practice Friday, one of the spectators was thrilled, regardless of who made a good cut or a good read.

“This is the most unqualified group of players I’ve ever had, and it’s refreshing,” Mora said.