I have been critical of Paul Pasqualoni this year. Very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very critical, and if you follow us on twitter you know that those links are only a very small sample of the rage and frustration the man has inspired in me this year. It has been a long, frustrating season and despite clear fan displeasure it has become clear that Pasqualoni will be back next year. And you know what? I am okay with that.
I don't think Pasqualoni is the long-term answer to UConn's problems. I don't think he's the short-term answer either, but for me, winning two of his last three games was enough to convince me that he deserves another year to prove me wrong.
It's easy to look at two 5-7 years as a complete failure -- and they were certainly both disappointing -- but that misdiagnoses the problem, because while UConn's offense has been nightmarish, the defense has been fantastic and the recruiting has been better than anything from the Edsall years. It's easy to assign every failure to Pasqualoni but even though he's ultimately responsible for the the team that doesn't mean he does everything. He's a defensive coach and though Don Brown rightly gets a lot of credit for UConn's defense it's not like Pasqulaoni isn't involved. Recruiting has improved too, and as much as the "CT High School coaches love PP" argument is mocked, it is actually important to be liked by the men who can steer talented players to you. We've only seen one player that Pasqulaoni brought in get significant time -- that would be Chandler Whitmer, UConn's best quarterback since Dan Orlovsky -- but that will change next year.
What has been a disaster is the offense and that's where UConn's focus needs to be right now. I'm not sure that Pasqulaoni will fire George DeLeone -- their track record at Syracuse certainly doesn't indicate that -- but that doesn't mean he won't be demoted. Someone higher up in the athletic department may have to bang some heads together to make that happen, but I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that a Pasqualoni coached team where DeLeone is isolated as a tight ends coach or something similar would be a whole lot more palatable than what we have now.
And improving on what we have now brings me to what I think is the biggest factor in Pasqualoni's favor -- who else is UConn possibly going to get? I'm not sure if you've followed the Boston College or South Florida coaching searches, but it's not like either program is being overrun with quality candidates. This might be a different story if UConn had gotten the ACC bid over Louisville, but at the moment UConn is not in a major football conference and that hurts the school's ability to get a talented coach. It also isn't easy to bring a new guy in when he knows that two bad years could be enough for your neck to hit the chopping block. That problem fixes itself next year, and with the way conference realignment has been going UConn at least has a shot of moving somewhere more viable in the next 12 months.
So I'm okay with one more year of the Pasqualoni era -- provided there are some changes made with DeLeone. He's earned it, barely, and even if UConn has to fire him next year, they will likely have put themselves in a stronger position to find the school's next coach.