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Column: RG3 respects The Rent

By Matt McDonough
On March 5, 2012

Although spring football practice is on the horizon, there hasn't been much attention regarding the UConn football team. This is understandable as both the women's and men's basketball teams are preparing for the postseason. Despite the team's lack of publicity, Rentschler Field made headlines in an ESPN article by Jon Robinson last week.

In an interview with Robert Griffin III, former Baylor quarterback and Heisman trophy winner, Robinson asked the NFL Draft prospect questions regarding the NCAA Football video game Griffin will appear on the cover of. Robinson asked Griffin, "When you were at Baylor, what was the toughest place for you to play in terms of crowd noise?" His answer was somewhat surprising.

"The thing that people think is when you go to these big stadiums and they have 80,000 people or 100,000 people, that these are the toughest stadiums to play at, but really, those aren't," Griffin said. "When you have that many people, most of the time, the fans are pretty far away from the field. The toughest places to play are the ones that are jam-packed, are really tight to the field and sit about 45,000 people."

Here comes the best part.

"When we played at UConn my freshman year, that was the loudest place I've ever been as a football player," Griffin continued. "The stands are right next to the field, it was packed, and everyone was yelling. That was probably the coolest place for me to play at aside from Texas, Texas A&M and Nebraska."

The Heisman trophy winner called UConn one of the coolest places to play. He compared Rentschler Field to the likes of Texas, Texas A&M and Nebraska. There are a lot of things wrong with Rentschler Field, from its location to its in-game environment, but the fact that Griffin said that the loudest game was when the Bears visited the Huskies is incredible. Although the game was four years ago, this quote needs to be shown to every recruit.

A Heisman Trophy winner calling your home stadium one of the best environments in college football needs to recognized. If I'm in the UConn athletics or marketing departments, I'm making a banner next season and putting it over the student entrance at Rentschler Field. I'd let every student know what the best player in college football thought of our home field. Every freshman walking through the Rent would know what type of energy is expected in "The Dog Pound" student section.

Granted, when Baylor visited East Hartford, UConn was the better team. They proved they were in two wins over Baylor in 2008 and 2009. But the Bears were still growing and Griffin showed flashes of greatness in the loss to the Huskies four years ago. He developed into the most accurate passer and best player in the country by 2011. He will most likely wind up as the No. 2 pick in the draft and the face of an NFL franchise. And after playing in Big 12 stadiums for four years, he still thought so highly of the Rent.

UConn should be proud of what Griffin said. We shouldn't make a huge deal about it, but it's still something to appreciate. So if I'm working for the school, I'm keeping this quote in my back pocket. I'm doing what Griffin would often do with the football. Tuck it away and run with it.


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