STORRS - Bryant Shirreffsâ€™ tenure as a football player at UConn lasted longer than many thought it would. But it also ended too soon.
The Huskiesâ€™ senior quarterback, who led the Huskies to their only bowl game in the last seven years and who is fourth in school history in total yards, has played his last game for the school.
A concussion Shirreffs sustained 11 days ago in the Huskies loss to South Florida, which kept him out of last weekâ€™s game against Central Florida, will keep the Jefferson, Georgia native sidelined for the teamâ€™s final two games this season.
UConn faces Boston College Saturday (7 p.m., CBS Sports Net-work) at Fenway Park in Boston.
â€śI appreciate everything heâ€™s done this year, appreciate how competitive he is and how much he tried to do in order to help the team win,â€ť UConn coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday after announcing that Shirreffsâ€™ Husky career was over.
When Edsall was hired in the offseason, there were rumors that Shirreffs intended to transfer from UConn.
But Shirreffs didnâ€™t leave, nor did he show much frustration when he wasnâ€™t named the Huskiesâ€™ starter when the year began.
â€śIâ€™m glad that he did come back. To me, he had a good year. He went out and did a lot of good things,â€ť Edsall said.
Shirreffs threw for 2,287 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, completing 65.8 percent of his passes.
He also took plenty of jarring hits.
â€śBryant is one of the toughest guys Iâ€™ve ever played with,â€ť UConn linebacker Junior Joseph said. â€śHeâ€™ll put his body on the line for the whole team.â€ť
Shirreffs, who began his career at North Carolina State before transferring to UConn after one season with the Wolfpack, finishes his career with 7,404 total yards. Only Dan Orlovsky (10,421), Matt DeGennaro (9,269) and Shane Stafford (8,829) accumulated more at UConn.
When the season began, Shirreffs was bypassed as the starter for junior David Pindell. Shirreffs re-took the position midway through the opener, but apparently before and after there was never any bad blood between the two.
â€śHeâ€™s been a big help. Heâ€™s been like a brother to me on and off the field,â€ť said Pindell, who will start Saturday against the Eagles.
Said Edsall: â€śHe did everything he could to be the best player and the best teammate he could be.â€ť
As he bids goodbye to Shirreffs in one sense, Edsall is tentatively confident in his replacement. Pindell, a junior college transfer, has made solid progress in his first season of FBS competition.
â€śHe played fast and he played with more confidence,â€ť Edsall said of Pindellâ€™s performance against UCF.
Pindell said the Huskies ran a great many â€śzone readâ€ť plays against the Knights, but Edsall believes the Huskiesâ€™ playbook is nearly as wide open now as it was with Shirreffs at the helm.
â€śI donâ€™t think we were conservative with him at all last week,â€ť Edsall said.
Fanning the flames
UConn and Boston College have not played regularly since the Eagles left the Big East for the ACC in 2005, but now that theyâ€™re renewing acquaintances itâ€™s becoming something of a rivalry.
Well, sort of.
Boston College absolutely dominated the Huskies last season, winning 30-0 in Chestnut Hill by holding UConn to a paltry 121 yards of total offense. And the Eagles are 11-0-2 in the history of the series, which resumed last year after a 12-year hiatus.
Still, those on the southern end of the border war see the series as a rivalry.
â€śItâ€™s a rivalry in my mind but they have no respect for us,â€ť UConn linebacker Junior Joseph said. â€śIt is what it is.â€ť