AN UNFRIENDLY REUNION
Pasqualoni returns to Syracuse for first time
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 00:10
Those headed to Friday night’s game in Syracuse better not waste time asking UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni–former head coach of the Orange–for directions to the city’s best burger joint.
“I spent 18 years going from my office to the house and I couldn’t even tell you where things are in Syracuse,” Pasualoni said Monday at the Huskies’ weekly press conference. “Don’t ask me for directions anywhere. I can’t help you.”
For Pasqualoni, this Friday’s game in Syracuse is not a sentimental trip down memory lane. It’s a business trip to central New York to take on just another football team in just another conference game.
“We’re not going...to pick apples and take the hay wagon,” Pasqualoni said.
Despite all the side-stories, UConn is treating the Friday game as simply another one for which to prepare.
The Huskies are 3-4 and winless in their first two conference games. Saturday, UConn gave up a convincing lead to a Temple team that was able to crawl back into the game and beat UConn in overtime. In addition, the Huskies are facing rival Syracuse in the Carrier Dome for the last time as Big East opponents.
UConn’s senior defensive end, Trevardo Williams said that Saturday’s loss did not break the Huskies’ will. Williams said that after the Temple game, it is not a challenge to stay confident.
“You just put the loss behind you and you got to look forward,” Williams said Tuesday.
Senior defensive tackle Ryan Wirth felt the same way.
“No one has their head down,” Wirth said. “Everybody’s up. We have to be. We still have five games left...We still have a chance to do something good.”
The players’ confidence and willingness to keep playing without pointing fingers this week is something that comes from the coaching staff, especially from Pasqualoni.
He once again reiterated that when the offense struggles and the defense has a chance to take the game on its back, that the defense relishes in those opportunities. But “on the other side of the pancake,” when the defense is struggling and the offense is playing well, it’s the offense that has a chance to win the game that the players look forward to that.
He was adamant that UConn is not a team that will point fingers.
“This is a team game,” Pasqualoni said.
McCombs is listed as probable.
Running back Lyle McCombs, who missed Saturday’s game with a wrist injury, is listed as probable to play Friday night.
Pasqualoni said that he is still a bit concerned with McCombs’ ability to carry the ball at certain places and isn’t sure if McCombs can hold the ball as tight as he usually does. Before McCombs takes the field in a game, Pasqualoni wants to be sure that he can keep the ball securely during runs.
Last week, backup Max DeLorenzo had a good week according to Pasqualoni. He said that DeLorenzo not only ran the ball when he needed to, but that he was incredibly helpful in the backfield as a pass-blocker.
The Syracuse defense ranks No. 94 in the nation rushing defense, allowing over 127 yards per game on the ground. This is a matchup that favors the run-heavy UConn offense.