What's the mood? How are the Huskies coping?
Defensive tackle Kendall Reyes, a senior and a co-captain for the Huskies, may have summed it up best.
"We do have a chip on our shoulder," Reyes said. "The team has a lot to prove. We do have a great team; we just need to prove it to ourselves. That starts with a great week of preparation. We aren't lacking confidence. Sometimes you put out a great effort and it doesn't turn out the way you want it to. We are just going to keep on working."
Given that statement from Reyes, it seemed appropriate to ask coach Paul Pasqualoni Thursday about his team's attitude and preparation. He said the Huskies have practiced well and preparation has been good.
"Certainly we're not excited about the fact we've had some opportunities and we've let some opportunities slip away," Pasqualoni said. "At the same time, we've played some good teams. You've got to execute and you can't turn the ball over. You can't give up a key big play and you've got to score in the red zone and all those things.
"They're clearly aware of all that. I think they have a sense that we've got to play better and there's got to be better execution. I think they're working hard toward that. And I think they're working toward that in a very positive manner."
Last season the Huskies came on strong in the second half of the season and ended up winning the BCS bid in the Big East and played Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. There are six games remaining to turn this season around and the South Florida game (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Rentschler Field) is the first of four remaining home games.
"This one is as big and important as any of them," Pasqualoni said. "I don't know how one becomes more important than another. West Virginia was awful big. Western Michigan was awful big. We look at it that way."
Reyes said focusing on South Florida helps the Huskies forget about their 43-16 loss at West Virginia.
"We have four losses right now but I think we can still come out with a productive season," Reyes said. "Looking at the schedule, there's no team that we don't think we can beat. We've just got to put it all together on the field."