Pasqualoni says little about job security

Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni deferred all questions concerning the future of his coaching tenure during a weekly press conference, Monday.

After Syracuse lost to Rutgers, a team the Orangemen have perennially dominated, 24-7, Saturday, the Orangemen dropped to 5-6. Should Syracuse lose to Notre Dame this Saturday, it would mark the second consecutive season the Orangemen have had losing records. Some have called for Pasqualoni to be fired. Still, Pasqualoni wouldn't answer questions about his future in Syracuse.

"My only concern is Notre Dame this Saturday," Pasqualoni said.

The Orangemen looked like sheep in headlight against Rutgers, as the Orangemen muffed two kickoffs in the third quarter and turned the ball over a third time, leading to three Rutgers scores. Syracuse had trouble with the wind, which topped 40 mph at times.

"It looked like a normal kick," tight end Joe Kowalewski said. "It was coming down straight, and then it dropped right in front of me."

Rutgers has been the latest in a season full of disappointment for Syracuse.

The Orangemen have not upset a team the entire season, only winning against teams they were favored to beat. When Syracuse was posed with the challenge of trying to upset a ranked team, it fell flat on its face.

Then-No. 4 Virginia Tech manhandled Syracuse, 51-7 in Blacksburg, Va. Syracuse then lost to then-No. 14 Miami and then-No. 25 West Virginia.

"Anyone would be frustrated in this situation," Anthony Smith said. "If you gave it 110 percent, there's nothing more you can do."

The blame seems to have fallen squarely on Pasqualoni's shoulders. The coach will finish his 13th year with Syracuse this Saturday.

It would seem for Syracuse athletics director Jake Crouthamel, the only thing left to do is to end the Pasqualoni era.

But for Crouthamel, the situation is not likely to be an easy one. Pasqualoni's teams have done well academically, graduating nearly 70 percent of his scholar athletes. Crouthamel will also have to weigh what Pasqualoni has done before these past two seasons – Syracuse has been in eight bowl games, and Pasqualoni has amassed a 100-52-1 record.

"We haven't had many losing seasons," Pasqualoni said. "So (this season) doesn't rank very high in that regard. But in terms of the effort given, I enjoy being with the team."

That seems to have been the problem the entire season. Pasqualoni has not questioned the team's effort, but rather the excution. In losses, it's always a missed block here, or a tipped pass there, Pasqualoni said.

"Every guy on the field has to be on the same page," Kowalewski said. "This is the ultimate team sport."

But too many missed plays have doomed the Orangemen season, and perhaps Pasuqualoni's job. The relatively empty Carrier Dome against West Virginia No. 22 should've spoken volumes about what fans think.

Despite a respectable showing against Miami and a chance to go 8-4 with a possible bowl bid in the balance, Syracuse fans showed up in low numbers to the Dome, as the crowd seemed more sparse than the 41,801 that were said to have attended. You can only imagine what the attendance will be like after Syracuse's embarrassing loss to Rutgers.

"If things don't go your way," Pasqualoni said, "I would look at it as an opportunity to improve."

It seems now, Pasqualoni may be running short on opportunities.

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