Most fans probably assumed that Paul Pasqualoni would be back for a third year as UConn's coach despite going 5-7 in each of his first two seasons. Coaches have been fired after better seasons but athletic director is sticking with Pasqulaoni -- but with a qualification.
The two met Monday to talk about the direction of the program, though Manuel didn't offer specifics.
"It was a very good meeting," Manuel said via the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner "… Paul knew my decision, so it wasn't designed as an evaluation or anything," Manuel said. "There weren't any ultimatums or anything like that. I don't manage by threatening."
Sounds like your garden-variety end-of-season meeting between a coach and the AD so nothing earth-shattering. But that doesn't mean the get-together was just a formality. One of the biggest criticisms of the 2012 team -- the offensive play-calling -- apparently came up. A source with knowledge of the meeting told Conner that Manuel suggested that someone other than offensive coordinator George DeLeone call the plays next season.
Seems fair to us. We know Pasqualoni and DeLeone go way back, but the Huskies had one of the worst offenses in the nation. Some of that falls to inconsistencies along the offensive line but that doesn't fully explain how the running game fell off the cliff, or why a very capable Chandler Whitmer wasn't more effective.
And while Manuel may have suggested DeLeone find something else to do on game days, he's not in the business of telling Pasqualoni whom to hire.
"Paul is the leader of the team," Manuel said. "He's got to make the best decisions he feels from a staff standpoint, from a players standpoint. We had conversations in general about it, but I'm not going to dictate to my coaches who does what on the staff."
"I sit down and do the same thing with all my coaches after the season whether we're undefeated or we struggle but obviously, if we struggle, those conversations are a little bit more frequent," Manuel said.
As for the 2013 season, Manuel didn't specify the number of wins he's looking for but admitted that a bowl game should be part of the conversation.
"Yes," he said regarding a bowl berth. "That's fair, sure, but to that point about managing, I don't want people operating under fear. Now, they should be operating under a strong expectation of success, but not fear — there's a difference."
We say it all the time, but wining fixes everything. UConn football is no different.