Edsall Week Over

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni's postgame press conference Saturday was held outside in a sturdy little white tent not far from the Huskies' locker room at Byrd Stadium.

Pasqualoni had fielded just a handful of questions from reporters before his words were drowned out by a high-decibel voice coming over the speakers inside the stadium. It didn't take long for the UConn beat writers to recognize who was talking. It was Maryland coach Randy Edsall, the former leader of the Huskies.

Edsall's press conference was being shown on TerpVision, the giant video boards at each end of the stadium. The funny thing was that the only fans still in the stadium were a few UConn followers hanging out to celebrate UConn's 24-21 victory Maryland.

If Pasqualoni was distracted at all, he certainly didn't show it in his answers. He went on like it was no problem, even as reporters moved closer with their voice recorders to hear what he was saying. Finally, he was asked if the moment kind of summed up his week. As UConn prepared for this game, most of the media attention honed in on the revenge factor aimed at Edsall and the way he abruptly left UConn.

Pasqualoni smiled and acted like he hadn't heard Edsall's voice.

"Oh, is that who that is?" Edsall said with a smile. "No, Randy's fine."

Cameramen patiently waited on the field before the game, just to get a shot of the two coaches shaking hands. They did that, talking briefly and then being joined by UConn director of athletics Warde Manuel for a minute.

"No [nothing in particular], Pasqualoni said when asked about the discussion. "I know Randy. I was in the same room with Randy every day for four years [as assistants at Syracuse]. So, I know Randy. Coaches move around in this day and age. It's nothing unusual to me."

Edsall had to have heard some derisive chants coming from the Connecticut fans, who were very vocal during the game. "How's your dream job?" was one of those outbursts.

"There will always be a sense of pride with what you did [at Connecticut]," Edsall said. "I am just proud of what we did there. But I am proud of these kids at Maryland and how they hung in there today and competed."

Edsall did show some emotion.

"I have emotions," he said, tears coming to his eyes. "I don't think you are human if you don't have emotions. It was good to see some of the guys and to wish them well."

Senior linebacker Sio Moore was the first UConn player to reach Edsall after the game for a handshake.

"I went up to him after the game and I told him I loved him," Moore said. "He's one of those that really saw something in me when I didn't know I had anything inside of myself. I definitely appreciate him giving me a chance."

What did Edsall say back?

"He just said if I ever need anything . . . and he was like that when he was here," Moore said. "Even though he was a little tougher on me when he was here. But he was tough on me for the right reasons."

Asked how he thought his players handled the distraction this week, Pasqualoni said quite simply, "big time." And like the Huskies said all week, that was their intention. The motivation some had for beating Edsall never got in the way of UConn's execution Saturday.

And Edsall survived it all too.

"We went through the week and conducted business as usual," he said. "When the game was over you go over and say hello to the people you have worked with, and people you have coached. You wish them well and tell them that if there is anything you can do for them after they graduate, for them to give you a call."

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