UConn Considering Using 300-Pound Defensive Lineman at RB as Injuries Pile Up

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There’s an old saying: don’t stand on the tracks when the train’s comin’ through. In this case, get the hell out of the way when a 300-pounder comes running through the A-gap — on the offensive side of the ball. That’s exactly what Fresno State linebackers will potentially be doing this Saturday when they face UConn.

With injuries mounting and running backs dropping like flies, UConn head coach Jim Mora is going deep into the bullpen. 6-foot-0, 300-pound defensive lineman Jelani Stafford is in consideration to be in the Huskies’ backfield against the Bulldogs.

“We look at our roster like, ‘Okay, who on our roster – no matter what position – has played running back or could play running back?’” Mora said on Tuesday, via the Hartford Courant. “We discussed it with [starting defensive lineman] Jelani Stafford who was a pretty darn good running back in high school and we gave him a little consideration.”

UConn is in dire need for bodies in its backfield after a string of injuries. Star sophomore Nate Carter and backup Brian Brewton are out. That leaves Devontae Houston, who has been playing through a shoulder injury and true freshman Victor Rosa. Stafford — believe it or not — has experience at running back.

Stafford ran for over 2,700 yards and 42 touchdowns during his time at California Area High School in Coal Center, Pennsylvania. He tallied 1,608 yards and 32 touchdowns in his junior season in 2017 alone.

Jim Mora Summoning Ghosts in Attempt to Make UConn Football a Winner

Mora may not have history on his side in attempting to turn around the program, but he does have ghosts. And that has to mean something, right?

About to embark on his first season in charge of the Huskies, Mora revealed recently he lives in a house on a hill above the UConn campus. A house filled with the supernatural — quite the metaphor of the state of that program.

“I’m convinced it’s haunted,” Mora said of his house.

No worry, however, as these aren’t bad ghosts. These are good ghosts — the kind Mora hopes can bring good fortune the Huskies’ way.

“I just warn everyone who stays that it’s haunted, but they’re good ghosts,” Mora said.

Mora, 60, was named head coach in November 2021. It’s one of the tougher coaching jobs in the country, as Mora inherits a program that went 1-11 last season and last made a bowl appearance in 2016. The Huskies last recorded a winning season in 2010 when they went 8-5 under Randy Edsall.