Hooey Knows Final Days Upon Him

Senior offensive lineman Sean Hooey making most of his final days in the Red & Black.

For Cincinnati senior offensive lineman Sean Hooey the season has not gone as planned. However, that has not stopped the 6-foot-9, 300-pound Michigan native from working hard as he enters the final days of being a Bearcat.

Has it surprised Hooey how quickly the last days are upon him?

"Final practices are hard to grasp," said Hooey. "I've been here for the past five years and it's hard to imagine not being out here putting on the pads and doing the same stuff.

"But I'm trying to make them count. I know it's a cliché as they say leave everything out on the field and that has been especially true with my situation as I've been trying to get back on the field since I put the pads back on.

"I've made strides and I'm back to where I was during the Delaware State game, but with all the coaching stuff going on its hard not to be upset about what has happened."

This is not the first go around for Hooey with a coaching change going into a bowl game and this time he feels the players are more prepared to handle the situation.

"The seniors have all been through this before when Coach (Brian) Kelly left," said Hooey. "All the coaches stayed that time but it still wasn't a very good process and a lot of the seniors didn't do a very good job of taking over the team and leading us.

"This time is just as messed up with a lot of the coaches leaving, but the seniors have done a pretty good job of taking control of the team and making sure the guys are not messing around and taking this serious to get the win.

"Duke is a very beatable team and we're still a very good team. We're the people out there making the plays and the coaches only give us the plays. So they'll give us plays and we've just got to execute them to get the win."

As Hooey reflected on his final days he says it's hard to believe the end is near.

"We've got two more weeks until the bowl game," said Hooey. "So that means I've only got two more weeks of being a Bearcat football player and that is nuts when I think about it. It feels like I just got here but looking back I can remember putting on a blue helmet with the Hillsdale (Mich.) H on the side and it seems like that happened twenty years ago."

Saturday will be more than another practice day for Hooey as he gets ready to fulfill his part of being a student-athlete by earning a degree in marketing.

"After four and half years I'll be walking down the aisle with my cap and gown and getting that diploma," Hooey said with a smile. "It's the reason I came here and I'm excited about it."

While playing time has been sparse since returning to the field Hooey has learned to overcome the obstacles in front of him by working on other parts of his game.

"I feel I've really improved on the mental aspect of the game," said Hooey. "What I can't do on the field I can get as much time as I want in the film room. I've just dug into the playbook and I feel my mental aspect of the game has gotten so much better."

It has been during those extra film sessions that Hooey has found some things in common with the Bearcats Belk Bowl opponent.

"Duke is not the biggest team we've faced and they are not the stoutest guys," explained Hooey. "But if I could compare them to anyone they remind me of our defense. The greatest advantage they have is they run to the football and fly around the field. We just have to match it and live up to being a fast and furious offense."

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