UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni spent a few minutes on the phone with reporters Saturday afternoon on the heels of his Huskies’ 24-20 loss to Iowa State Friday night.
Pasqualoni lamented his team’s many mistakes, and hopes to have most of them corrected before UConn takes on Buffalo next Saturday night. Here are a few of the highlights of the chat:
— The quarterback rotation _ Johnny McEntee’s starting, Mike Nebrich’s takeover in the second and sometimes fourth quarter, as well as Scott McCummings’ occasional plays here and there _ will probably continue.
Well, Pasqualoni didn’t say that specifically but he did say none of the three was pulling ahead to earn the job alone.
“That’s something that _ we’re in here just finishing up grading the film now _ that we’ll discuss as a staff and we’ll make a decision on as we go,” Pasqualoni said. “Each of them did some good things. Each of them did some things that they absolutely have to get better with.
“No one has clearly separated themselves from the pack,” the coach added. “We still have three. They can all execute better than they did, and they can all help us more than they did.”
— As far as the passing game went, Pasqualoni said the quarterbacks missed some key throws.
“In the pass game we just missed too many open receivers,” Pasqualoni said. “I thought we did a pretty consistent job of making the right reads _ not 100 percent of the time by fairly consistently, and that needs to improve. We had the right read and just missed the receiver on some critical throws.”
“At the end of the day John McEntee had some good reads. He just didn’t throw it as accurately as he usually does, which was disappointing,” Pasqualoni said.
— As for what could be the impending doom of the Big East Conference, Pitt and Syracuse’s move to the ACC, which was first reported by the New York Times, Pasqualoni said he hasn’t paid much attention.
“I’m so focused on what we’re doing here that I really haven’t paid a lot of attention to anything else other than that,” Pasqualoni said. “I think the leadership of the Big East and the leadership, the presidents within the conference and the Big East conference office, will handle everything they can do in the best interests of the Big East. I think we have to go that way with it.”
On a side note, it’s about what I expected from a football coach. He IS supposed to be focused on his team. But it seems the conference leadership may have been blindsided (again) by this move. That’s a bigger question.
— The three turnovers UConn forced of Iowa State in the first quarter were great. The points UConn scored off those turnovers (three) was rather pathetic.
“We come out of the first half having 10 points with the potential of having 28,” Pasqualoni said. “That’s not nearly enough in a game like that.”
— The changes along the offensive line, which included moving Jimmy Bennett into the starting lineup at left tackle, moving Mike Ryan from left tackle to right tackle, and moving Kevin Friend to left guard (Steve Greene rotated in there at LG, too), were needed according to Pasqualoni.
“The decisions we made on the offensive line were the right decisions to make,” Pasqualoni said.
But, they didn’t exactly go smoothly. The run game was not very good, and much of the blame can probably be laid at the feet of the linemen.
“At the end of the day, what I learned one more time, is that even though Mike Ryan is a senior and has played a lot of football, it’s hard in one week to take him from the left and put him on the right and expect his footwork to be as good as it needs to be,” Pasqualoni said.