The cream puff part of the Huskies' schedule is over. That they come out the other side 2-3 has to be troubling, especially given the way UConn lost Saturday to Western Michigan: the defense crumbled even though quarterback Johnny McEntee had the best performance of his career.
The rest of the regular-season schedule consists of conference games, and the first one might be the toughest: it's on the road against West Virginia. And if the secondary doesn't improve, the Mountaineers will do pretty much what Western Michigan did: throw the ball all over the yard while the Huskies look on helplessly.
Clearly, head coach Paul Pasqualoni knows that UConn won't have a chance if the defense disappears for long stretches for a second consecutive week.
“We’re going to work some different combinations back there as we did during the course of the game; everybody will be up and ready to go,” Pasqualoni said during a conference all Sunday. “We’ll work some different combinations with some guys working at different positions during the week and evaluate it as we go.”
It's worth pointing out that the Huskies were without Blidi Wreh-Wilson last week, their most physical cornerback, and his replacement, senior Gary Wilburn, was targeted early and often. The problem: the Broncos targeted the entire secondary. As the Norwich Bulletin's Joe Perez writes, one of the Huskies' in-game adjustments was to play safety Byron Jones in the second half. It turned out not to matter.
“We just thought that I would maybe be a better cover guy,” Jones said. “Obviously that didn’t work out. At the end of the day, we have to cover these guys regardless of the personnel, it doesn’t matter.”
Also not helping the Huskies' already-long odds: the Mountaineers have added motivation. This is how the Charleston Daily Mail's Mike Casazza started his Tuesday column. "West Virginia football Coach Dana Holgorsen spent two hours Sunday watching last season's overtime loss to Connecticut."
Holgorsen elaborated: "I just watched to see how the game happened," he said. "I wanted to familiarize myself with what they went through last year. We played really well defensively against them and offensively we didn't play terrible, we just turned it over four times. It ended up being the difference in the game."