Perhaps the football gods are conspiring against the Huskies. Expectations were high heading into Year 2 of the Paul Pasqualoni era. After a 5-7 season in 2011, UConn figured to be at or above .500 and earn a bowl bid for their efforts. Instead, this team has been hugely disappointing, managing just three wins in eight games, with the last three losses falling in the "demoralizing beyond belief" category. First there was the loss at Western Michigan, then the homecoming overtime gift to Temple, and finally the 40-10 beatdown at the hands of Syracuse.
Oh, and now UConn will have to play out the remaining four games without senior guard and team captain Adam Masters, who was lost for the season with a left-ankle injury.
"His ankle is going to require surgery so he is done for the season," Pasqualoni Saturday via the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller. "He was our most versatile guy, our swing guy. Not only that, he probably played the most snaps up there so we are going to lose a guy with versatility and we are going to lose a guy with experience. Gus Cruz will have to step it up. Dalton Gifford will get some reps as the next tackle. Tyler Samra will get reps as a guard so we will continue to have seven people who will be prepared to go in the game.
"It is difficult on him, he is obviously disappointed," Pasqualoni continued. "It is at the end of his senior year and he is very disappointed. He is a tough guy. He is optimistic. He will get the surgery and do the rehab but it is going to take some time and as it would be for anybody, it is really disappointing for him."
Fuller also noted that Masters wasn't the only Huskies player who left the game. Defensive lineman Tim Willman had his left arm in a sling Friday night, while LB Sio Moore, DE Trevardo Williams and WR Michael Smith all spent time on the sidelines after being shaken up.
Pasqualoni expects all of them to be fine when the Huskies face USF in two weeks.
"We had a very physical preseason, eight very tough games in a row," Pasqualoni said. "I don’t know if anybody else has played eight in a row. We are a little banged up so this open week comes at a good time for us, we will be able to get some work done but at the same time give the kids a good amount of rest."
As for what UConn needs to work on, Pasqualoni says it starts with the ground game.
"One of the things we really need to take a look at it is running the ball. We have not been able to run the ball especially in the past two weeks which is frustrating for us so those are things that we are going to work on and are going to have to improve on as we move forward. We have to establish some sort of runs and the runs that we feel the run concepts we feel like we would be the best at, try to narrow those down and do a good job with what we decide to do."
First things first: scrap the wildcat. Forever.