What’s goin on?
Let’s get this in…
UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni said he is optimistic about the return of big junior DT Shamar Stephen (knee).
‘We’re going to evaluate that very, very closely this week,” Pasqualoni said. ‘We’re optimistic. I would say right now questionable and we’d keep you posted day by day.
Teddy Jennings (knee)?
“I would say the swelling is going down so we’re going to get a little bit more of a good evaluation this week. We’re waiting for the swelling to go down to do the pictures and all that so we’ll see this week.”
Pasqualoni also addressed how he plans to approach with his players facing Maryland and former head coach Randy Edsall this week. “That stuff is all stuff you guys like to write about, gives you some material but there’s so much to get ready for and the game requires so much focus and attention that if we fall into that trap of getting involved in that type of emotional stuff for a game it’s going to make us, I think, less competitive and less prepared so I’m going to try and explain to these guys and I think they’re in this mode, ‘hey, the most important thing it’s University of Connecticut players are playing the University of Maryland players. The coaches at Maryland and the coaches at Connecticut [because we have Don Brown here, too], the coaches here are not playing one play. I promise you they’re not going to be in for one play. They’re not playing. They’re not up, they’re not in the game-plan so you guys need to get ready to play the opponent, the opposition and that’s the players from Maryland so let’s concentrate on that.”
Asked if he felt like he had to say something to the players Pasqualoni said
“Ah, you know I don’t know if I do. I really hadn’t thought about it. You know, we talk about this stuff, the focus and the amount of intensity and energy it requires to play this game. I bring that stuff up every week. I talk about that all the time so, yeah, I guess in a way it would come up. I don’t know if I would specifically bring Coach [Randy] Edsall’s name up but I think they get it and understand.”
– After reviewing the film particularly the run game.
“Not good execution and not consistent enough execution,” Pasqualoni said. “We had 15 drives in the game and it seemed like in 14 of those 15 drives we made a mistake that put us behind the chains, so to speak, or there was a turnover created. I would just say it was a lack of consistency.”
He announced no personnel changes and said he were to make any it would be during the week.
Why the lack of consitency?
“People game-plan you and change some things sometimes. It’s usually just a little thing maybe a missed block here or mis-communication in the protection, maybe the route wasn’t run with the appropriate depth. It’s not any one particular area but I would say this past week from an offensive standpoint, I would say each position had a chance, each position group, each unit, could have done better, which in the end could have resulted in a couple more plays that would have put us in position to win the game. It’s just a matter of everybody doing a little bit more and a little bit better.”
– Expanding on Jimmy Bennett’s comment in reference to the speed in practice vs. the game could have been a factor
“We try to do as great a job as you can with the scout teams and the look teams. I think what Jimmy may have been referring to yesterday is that they changed up some of the things they did. They changed up some of their line movements on us and I think at times we got caught anticipating one thing and we got another thing and I think when that happens to a player it always looks much faster when you’re anticipating a particular movement and you get something different that maybe they hadn’t necessarily shown and it just seems like ‘geez, that really happened’ and it happened fast. I think some of it yesterday was a product of that.”
Lastly, I wanted to ask Pasqualoni again about his decision to go for it on 4th-and-2 at the N.C. State 29 right before the half vs. bringing Chad Christen on for the field goal.
It seems like this decision is at issue for a couple folks or three but it shouldn’t be. A 29-yard field goal is really a 46 or 47 yard field goal because the goalposts or the end line and the ball has to travel that distance too to be good. The winds were swirling at the time, maybe not enough to blow a human out of the building but kicking into the wind isn’t wise. And keep in mind Tom O’Brien had an opportunity to do it and didn’t.
Coaches check this stuff before games all the time. And unless we’re out on the field before game time figuring out all that stuff with the knowledge of knowing the kicker’s range, he knows better than someone sitting in the stands.
Anyway, here’s Pasqualoni’s explanation as to why he went for it on 4th-and-2 from the N.C. State 29 late in the first half vs. kicking the field goal. It makes sense to me but that’s me. The issue is that you couldn’t get the two yards, not that you didn’t take a shot at the field goal.
“Before the game I had decided to give Chad a legit shot into the wind it was going to have to be from around the 24, 25-yard line,” Pasqualoni said. “We were out on the 29. I just felt like, ‘hey let’s take a shot at this 4th-and-2, make the first down and still have 25 seconds or so with a timeout and maybe we can get the ball five yards closer then kick the field goal’ but that’s the old hindsight is 20-20 deal. The 4th and 2 didn’t work so maybe we should have tried the field goal but I was thinking more of the 24, 25 (yard-line).