The win last Saturday at Maryland was the high point of the Paul Pasqualoni era at UConn. And while there's a lot to be excited about as the Huskies prepare for this weekend's matchup with Western Michigan and the Big East schedule beyond that, there was some bad news coming out College Park.
UConn lost defensive end Jesse Joseph for the season with a torn Achilles. Coach Paul Pasqualoni announced the news Sunday and said that the school will appeal for Joseph to redshirt this year. That makes the second starter on defense to go down in three games; the Huskies lost defensive end Teddy Jennings against UMass in the opener.
While Pasqualoni acknowledges that these are big losses, he maintains the "next man up" philosophy. "E.J. [Norris] is in the mix, as is Timmy Willman, who has been playing," Pasqualoni said. "Kenton Adeyemi, he was on the trip. So we put the next guy in and move on."
Joseph's teammates, meanwhile, lament his loss, not just as a playmaker but as a leader.
I talked to Jesse yesterday," LB Jory Johnson said according to the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller. "He seemed happy still the same old guy he is not letting it get to him too much. I haven't seen Teddy but I have talked to him a few times. He is ready to do his recovery and he is ready to come back."
And Willman, who is in the mix to replace Joseph, admitted that it's a huge loss.
"You hate to see anybody go down but especially Jesse," he said. "He is a really good friend of mine. He is a great guy, a good leader and has so much experience but the game is going to be played no matter what so we have to send guys out there and we can't miss a beat."
Fuller writes that Joseph, who played as a true freshman, shouldn't have an issue regaining a year of eligibility but the process to petition the NCAA can't begin until after the season. Jennings' case is tougher because he's already redshirted once, and gaining a sixth year of eligibility can be problematic.