And so ends another disappointing UConn football season. Yes, officially, there are four games remaining on the schedule but after the no-show performance against Syracuse Friday night, there's nothing left to see. This team isn't going to magically reinvent itself over the next month no matter how many coaching cliches Paul Pasqualoni drops in his press conferences.
After that 40-10 shellacking by the Orange, the only surprise is that the Huskies weren't every team's homecoming opponent. They were out-schemed, out-executed, out-everything'd. While we've defended Pasqualoni and his staff's approach to building the program, it's fair to ask what the end-game is here, because it's not clear.
Yes, Pasqualoni knows football. He won four Big East titles with the Orange from 1991-2004 and he spent the last seven years as an NFL assistant coach before returning to the college ranks in 2011. But he was 5-7 in his inaugural season and Friday's loss might've been the worst in his one-and-a-half seasons on the job. And it's not like he took over a hapless program better suited for FCS competition. UConn was coming off an improbable conference title and an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl.
Duplicating those efforts in '11 might've been unreasonable but it's fair to expect something more than five wins. Or worse: three wins through eight games this season.
There is no silver lining here. There is no "we have to play harder" platitudes that will get this season back on the rails.
“It is very upsetting,” UConn senior receiver Nick Williams said according to the New Haven Register. “We had a lot invested in this game. We came out and lost by 30, it is not exactly the story line we could have foreseen. During the game when things like that happen, you can’t get down on yourself because there are still snaps to be played. You have to go out like a man and play each play hard and you can’t quit on the game or the team.”
Senior defensive lineman Ryan Wirth was equally unimpressed.
“It makes me angry,” he said. “I am just upset.”
Pasqualoni was asked after the game if major changes were coming.
“What I said to the players is that we’re going to take a real good look at the film and we’ve got a few days but whatever we have to do to get this thing on track, we’ll make those decisions and we’ll do what we feel is best and move forward," he said. "I’ve got a good idea what happened but I want to see the film before I make any other comments.”
As long as we're putting people under the microscope, it might be worth taking a look at the guy in charge of the whole operation. Because while coaches can't make tackles, they're ultimately responsible for putting their players in position to succeed. And in 20 games that hasn't happened. It hasn't even been close, really.