Sunday, November 20, 2011

Football Falls To 4-6 Against Louisville, Basketball Starts Slow Against Coppin State Before Pulling Away

If you didn't realize it Paul Pasqauloni is old school, not to mention just old, and refuses to make any changes to a game plan that hasn't worked offensively all year. In my post Thursday I made the assumption that Scott McCummings would be the starter at quarterback for the Huskies based on the articles I had read and Johnny McEntee's horrendous play this entire season, yet when the game started McEntee trotted out into the huddle and then proceeded to go 18/43 (a 41.9 completion percentage reminiscent of Tebow minus the win). So here's the question, with a 1,000 yard rusher (McCombs surpassed the mark in the game) how does Pasqualoni justify passing 43 times with a quarterback that the word mediocre is too good for? Granted the Huskies were trailing the entire game, but that also has to do with the fact that McEntee was in the game.

UConn must win their final two games in order to become bowl eligible, something they had managed to do the last six years straight, and both those games are against potential Big East champions Cincinnati and Rutgers. So another tremendous failure from the worst quarterback in the conference and yet something tells me that Pasqualoni will stick with McEntee for the rest of the year, despite the criticism from journalists and fans. The Huskies started the season with a three QB rotation that was a disaster, and yet it was just as successful as McEntee full time. Think back to the win against Syracuse just two weeks ago and who led the team in that win, McCummings. McCummings played just ten snaps in this game against Louisville and only two of them were passes (both incomplete) but rushed for 40 yards on five carries to be the leading rusher in the game. Leave him in and run the option attack to control the ball, I just don't understand how you take out the player who gives you the best opportunity to win the game. We're way past the testing phase on McEntee and as an upperclassmen he doesn't stand to improve much for the rest of this year and next. The time to give the ball to one of the freshmen has come and gone and Pasqualoni is too stubborn to address the issue.

I wasn't thrilled with the hiring of Pasqualoni as coach, but the statewide support from high school coaches eased my concern considering the potential increase in recruiting. However after this continuous tragedy of a football season and his reluctance to make any changes on a team that continues to lose makes me think an up and coming coach from another successful university would be a better bet. I think that it's the best bet for the football program's future regardless of what happens the last two weeks and if they make a bowl game, Pasqualoni can't get this team to compete in the worst automatic qualifying conference in the country (a conference that will once again send a team to the BCS with a least three losses and potentially as many as five) and so I think that a new hire is necessary to energize a team that has a lot of young potential heading into next year. I don't think it will happen because of the support he has within the coaching community within the state, but I'm arguing that it should especially considering the talented teams that could join the conference in the next few years.

It isn't really news to anyone familiar with UConn athletics or collegiate sports in general but in Storrs football is just a precursor and a distraction to hold us off until basketball season roles around, well lucky for Husky fans that time is now. Following yesterday's humiliating loss to Louisville UConn fans got a chance to celebrate with men's basketball playing Coppin State. The excitement was stemmed by lights out shooting by the Eagles that had UConn down by twelve early on. To start Coppin State was 6-9 from behind the arc and their tempo, which should have played to UConn's strength, seemed to catch the Huskies off guard. Coppin State also started playing a zone which eliminated any inside presence offensively as Oriakhi and Drummond continued to be non-factor. The guard play has been consistent from Napier, who had a triple double today just the ninth in school history, and the pressure on him will reduce when Boatright returns in a couple games the real problem is the big men failing to be factors in games against much smaller opponents. In their four games this year Drummond averages almost as many fouls a game (3) as he does points a game (5.8)while Oriakhi hasn't even been the best power forward as Tyler Olander has come alive in these early games becoming the team leading rebounder averaging almost nine. Luckily for the Huskies Lamb played despite a sore ankle to keep Napier from shouldering the offensive load all on his own. Roscoe Smith was another bright spot on the day scoring 15 coming off the bench after surrendering his starting spot to DeAndre Daniels. It may have just been a move by Calhoun to motivate Smith and if so it seems to be working. It's hard to argue with four straight wins but there is certainly room for improvement.

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