DURHAM, N.H. – After coming up just short in a 24-20 loss at home against UAlbany (1-2), the No. 24 University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (0-1) had their following two games postponed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns within the UNH program. The Wildcats were set to host No. 11 Delaware (2-0) at home in week two and go on the road to No. 16 Villanova (1-1) in week three. They now look ahead to their trip to No. 18 Rhode Island (2-0) on April 3.
Head coach Sean McDonnell addressed the media on Wednesday afternoon and noted that things are trending in the right direction. He explained that the number of positive tests has been going down and the team will test again on Thursday. The results of this round of testing will give an indication if the team will be able to get back to practice on Friday.
The team has not been allowed into the facility during their time off and have only been able to do a limited amount of lifting and individual work. Athletes who are not in quarantine have been allowed to work out at the Hamel Recreation Center on campus.
McDonnell explained how the unknown has been the toughest part of this entire experience for his staff and the team.
“We’ve made adjustments as a staff as we’ve moved things along to keep practices going,” said McDonnell. “Having never been through anything like this before, it’s a lot more difficult than it seems.”
When asked about the mood of the team, he said the players were feeling “all of the above.” McDonnell went on to note how the team needs to get back to the basics in terms of their mindset. After reaching their goal of making it to week one against UAlbany, he explained that the coaches and players need to get back to just being focused on getting to their next step. In this case, that step is URI on April 3.
McDonnell praised the Rams for how much they’ve improved since the last time these two teams faced off, noting that “this ain’t the same football team we played two years ago.”
UNH will have more film on Rhode Island than they will on the Wildcats. After the Rams’ first two games, McDonnell says that he sees resiliency, mental toughness and preparation within that program.
During the basketball season the America East Conference (AE) had a minimum number of games required for a school to make the conference tournament. The Hockey East (HEC) Conference implemented the Hockey East Power Index as a point system to account for any lost games. It’s uncertain if the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) require a minimum number of games to be eligible for postseason contention. The Wildcats have played the fewest number of games in the CAA Northern Division to this point.
Photo courtesy of Cameron Beall//TNH Staff.