AMHERST, N.Y. — As Paul Pasqualoni walked off the field after this debacle, this absolute debacle, he didn't even bother looking at Warde Manuel. The UConn athletic director stood there on the sideline, arms folded, and the UConn football coach was close enough to touch him as he walked past.
Their eyes never met.
In the closing minutes of this debacle, this absolute debacle, George DeLeone leaned over to talk into the ear of running back Lyle McCombs. UConn has the worst run offense in the nation, generating only 27 yards on 39 attempts Saturday. As they sat there together on the bench, associate head coach and running back, McCombs, who ran for 1,151 yards as a freshman yet has only 200 in four games as a junior, appeared to be horribly frustrated.
"I was," McCombs said.
And as he stood there at UB Stadium following this 41-12 debacle, quarterback Chandler Whitmer — who was sacked five times, threw two of UConn's three interceptions and fumbled on an opening drive that set the tone for this absolute debacle — was asked to describe his frustration level.
"No, I can't," Whitmer said from underneath his bow tie.
Far be it for me to speak for the UConn fan base, but judging from my email and Twitter accounts, I think I am in position to describe its frustration level.
I'd say it's one step beyond through the roof and heading for the moon.
"I think every UConn fan is asking the same question … Can basketball season come any faster.#comeonboys," came one tweet during the first half.
It was from former UConn basketball player Caroline Doty.
It got so bad, I admit I tweeted this, "I'm not saying things are desperate, but Jonathan Husky just asked me for directions to Niagara Falls."
Sometimes you need a little gallows humor to run cover for the hard-core stuff that's coming. And here it is:
I can't see what's to be gained from Paul Pasqualoni coaching the rest of the season.
It's a lousy thing to say and even a lousier thing to write. Pasqualoni is a good man. Pasqualoni has forgotten more about football than I know.
Still, at 10-18, there is a reason why he is listed as No. 1 on the hottest seat among 123 coaches nationwide on Hotseat.com. Much more that that, there is something deeper, more profound, to be found in this 0-4, this 0-for-2013: Even if UConn figures out a way to eke out a win over winless South Florida at home after the bye week, even if UConn figures out a way to slip past Temple and Memphis, these are hollow droppings on the trail to failure.
Even if the Huskies figure out a way to go 4-4 in this new Frankenstein known as the American Athletic Conference to finish 4-8 overall, the program under Pasqualoni sadly isn't going anywhere. Change is coming. It's only a matter of days or weeks.
"Conference play, that's what really counts," said wide receiver Geremy Davis, who had five catches for 102 yards and stood as one of the only bright spots before leaving the game with cramps. "We could go undefeated in that season and go to a big bowl still."
If Davis' words sound a little delusional, that's OK. College athletes are supposed to sound eternally optimistic. Always give the ol' college try. It's Manuel's decision that ultimately will matter, if not in the coming days, then certainly by the end of the season.
"We've got to make sure we all stick together," safety Ty-Meer Brown said, "because if we all start pointing fingers at each other, we're going to fall apart."
That is true. Yet the larger truth in the larger picture is it already has fallen apart.