2013 Year in Review. September. Weist takes over for Pasqualoni at UConn.
Storrs: Merrian-Webster defines Interim as “A period of time between events”.
Well, for newly hired “Interim” head coach, T.J. Weist, the term is one he hopes he can prove unnecessary over the next nine weeks when he will be in that period that will include eight more games for the UConn Huskies football team.
Weist was introduced to the media Monday afternoon, just hours after finding out he would be replacing Paul Pasqualoni as the helm of a Huskie team that is reeling after dropping their first four games of the year, the last a 41-12 dismantling by the University of Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.
Weist had been the team’s offensive coordinator after being brought in by Pasqualoni at the start of this season.
Pasqualoni and offensive line coach George DeLeone were let go on Monday morning by UConn Athletic Director, Warde Manual who then informed Weist of his decision to give him the top spot for the remainder of the 2013 campaign with hopes of salvaging a team that has yet to taste victory.
“I have by no means thrown in the towel on this year,” Manual said. “I don’t like losing and I felt we needed to make a change that will help turn this season around.”
Manual had a great deal of time to think about his decision on a six-hour drive back from Western New York on Saturday after the Huskies were embarrassed by the Bulls in every aspect of the game.
“I told President Herbst on Sunday morning that I would call her back later Sunday night with my decision,” Manual said. “I called and told her what I wanted to do about six and we met with Paul (Pasqualoni) this morning.”
Manual stressed he wanted to see the same effort and energy from his team that he saw when the Huskies nearly upset Michigan the week before the Buffalo disaster.
“I want players who simply want to hit somebody on the other side of the line,” Manual said. “I want our players to play with passion.”
The season got off to a rocky start with the Towson loss, got a little better in the Maryland defeat and looked downright optimistic after the near beating of highly ranked Michigan in front of a sellout crowd at Rentschler Field.
All that warm and fuzzy went out the window with the head scratching pasting the Bull put on UConn.
An anemic running game has simply not gotten started all year which may have led to the dismissal of DeLeone, who was in charge of an offensive line that has failed to open holes for the running backs or keep quarterback Chandler Whitmer upright.
Where and how does Weist start?
“We are starting new today,” Weist said, “Our record is 0-0 in conference play so it’s a chance to start fresh. We have eight games left to play and if we win them all and make it to a Bowl game, nobody will remember the 0-4 start.”
Weist brings an impressive slate of over 25-years of coaching to the head chair and feels like this is his time.
“I am ready for this job, I want this job.” Weist said.
What will it take for Weist to convince Manual that he is the man for the job long term?
Work starts on Tuesday as Weist looks to figure out how his staff will shake out, who will do what and how do they handle a team that isn’t in a good place right now.
“We’ll talk about what we have been doing well and who has been making plays for us,” Weist said, “It’s time to start over and it starts today.”
Huskie fans showed up in large numbers for the Maryland and Michigan games, the team hopes the fan base will continue to support a team that Weist promises will give everything they have on every play.
Weist hopes to turn the word Interim into permanent. All it takes is “W’s”.
NOTES: The door is wide open for true freshman Tim Boyle to move up into the number one spot as starting quarterback after Monday. Weist was quick to mention that option of playing Boyle over Whitmer was very much on the table.
Whitmer had been under fire all year for his turnovers and may have played himself out of the job against Buffalo.
Huskies certainly did a better job when they let Pasqualoni go then what we hear about at USC with Lane Kiffin, who’s firing was a circus.
Manual treated his head coach with the respect and dignity deserved of the position and Weist made sure it was Pasqualoni who spoke to his former team before he did.
Pasqualoni even held a Monday night teleconference with reporters, less than 12-hours after he was let go. A classy move.
The Huskies travel to take on Weist’s old team, the Cincinnati Bearcats, on Saturday October 19.
After the bye-week, the University of South Florida will be at The Rent on Saturday, October 12 with a noon kickoff.
Will feel good not to be writing at 3 a.m. for a change.