The assigning of numbers often comes and goes with little time for reflection.
Take the case of Eddie Hahn who thought it was be a nice change of pace to flip the No. 9 jersey he wore in high school so he requested the No. 6 at UConn. Hey, it was just another number, right? Not exactly.
Former UConn defensive back Jasper Howard was stabbed to death not long after making 11 tackles and forcing a fumble in a 38-25 win over Louisville on Oct. 17, 2009. Since that time the number worn by Howard has held special meaning.
Receiver Kashif Moore, at the request of UConn coach Randy Edsall, wore the number in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl and during the 2010 season as a way to honor Howard's memory. Receiver Michael Smith followed suit and that was the number he wore during the 2012 campaign. Cornerback Jhavon Williams also was given No. 6 that year when he redshirted and wore it proudly during his time as a Husky. Williams made certain that Hahn understood that there is an additional responsbility that comes with wearing No. 6 at UConn.
"When I got here and learned from the tradition from Jhavon last year, you just try to go out in the summer, in the winter and work hard," Hahn said. "You can't take anything for granted because at the end of the day, you never know.
"Seeing the statue at the stadium and seeing 'play each play like it is last play you will ever play' Coach Edsall harps on that every day because once you have that mindset, it is tough to not go out and win every day so that is what I have been trying to do and trying to apply it every day."
Obviously Moore and Smith were very close to Howard while Williams was a cornerback from Florida just like Howard was there was that connection to Howard. Hahn doesn't have that going for him but he is doing everything he can to live up to that number.
"I had an understanding (when he got to UConn) but not like I am now where I understand how hard you have to work when you have that number because there is such a tradition behind it," Hahn said. "Jhavon last year would tell me all the time that it is an honor to wear this number, you have to show everybody that you value wearing the number. It definitely goes through my mind a lot, play like it is the last play you are ever going to play. If you have that mindset, if you didn't practice (well) you know deep down inside, 'what if that was my last practice?' It makes me try to be the best football player and person I can be."
Hahn, like so many of the freshmen on the UConn roster, seemingly sees his work load increase with each passing week. He's a reserve linebacker but sees quite a bit of time on defense in addition to his special teams duties.
"I don't have any bad habits because I've never played there," Hahn said of the move to linebacker.
"I've never played that close to the line of scrimmage in my life, the game is quicker you have to make a lot more decisions. At safety your first two steps are going backwards, at linebacker your first two steps are going forward so that is definitely a big adjustment."
Saturday's game is a homecoming from plenty of Huskies especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The most recent two-deep chart lists 22 defensive players and according to Mapquest, 12 of them list hometowns less than 115 miles from Lincoln Financial Field. Senior defensive end Luke Carrezola leads the way as Langhorne, Pa is 29 miles away followed by Kevin Murphy, Connor Freeborn and Marshe Terry growing up 30, 31 and 34 miles from the site of Saturday's game. Hahn is only sixth among the defensive players on the two-deep chart in terms of proximity to the field but he is no stranger to football games at Lincoln Financial Field.
"My mom grew up in Trenton so I have been going to the Linc, we probably would go to five Eagles home games every year just because mom's side of the fmaily had season tickets so that was pretty cool," Hahn said. "A lot of them are going to come to the game this week but it is going to be pretty cool to play in the stadium that the Eagles play in."
I put Hahn on the spot and asked him for the most memorable Eagles game he was been to.
"Probably when the Eagles played the Giants when the Phillies and Yankees were in the World Series, I went to the Eagles game that day (Nov. 1, 2009) and most of the people had tickets to that game that night so it was pretty cool."
The Eagles fared better than the Phillies that day with a 40-17 win over the Giants while the Yankees topped the Phillies 7-4 with three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 3-1 lead in the World Series.