Huskies Have Multiple Issues

There was heavy booing at Rentschler Field Thursday night. The announced crowd was 30,689 and that translates into at least one-quarter of the stadium empty on opening night. By the fourth quarter, many of those UConn fans had given up and left The Rent.

UConn's 33-18 loss to the FCS program from Towson prompted an online petition titled "Fire UConn Football Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni" and many, many more expressions of displeasure across social media platforms.

"I think it was very disappointing for the fans, to be perfectly honest," Pasqualoni said Friday. "I'm totally aware of that and totally get that. It's disappointing for the players and the staff. We understand that. We are making effort here to put a product on the field that the fans can be proud of."

The Huskies will go back to work to prepare for Maryland, another home game on Sept. 14. Pasqualoni was asked Friday if he anticipates making changes – especially at the quarterback position – in the time leading up to coach Randy Edsall's return with the Terps.

"We're in the process of grading film and making evaluations," Pasqualoni said. "Overall, as a team, we didn't play well enough and that certainly includes the quarterback position. I thought Chandler [Whitmer] was a little bit jittery in our opener. He did the same thing last year against UMass.

"We're going to work on it. I'm confident Chandler will perform better in the next outing. Of course, we're going to work the three backup quarterbacks hard. Last night, when Chandler got the ball out on time, he really threw the ball well. When we didn't get it out on time, it didn't look very good."

Whitmer, who was 16-for-28 with one interception for 206 yards and two touchdowns, said after the game he didn't think Pasqualoni would make a change at quarterback. He also disagreed with Pasqualoni's assessment that Whitmer is having trouble seeing over the opposing pass rush.

"When you're not an extremely tall quarterback, and you're one of these 6-foot-1 guys, you've got to slide around in the pocket and find a window to throw the ball in," Pasqualoni said. "For whatever reason, there were times he did it well and it was pretty impressive. But there were a number of times where he just didn't get into the window to throw the ball and was forced to scramble around."

That pocket awareness continues to be Whitmer's biggest problem. Perhaps it stems from a lack of trust in the offensive line, which failed him so many times last season. Whitmer was sacked five times by Towson.

Senior Kevin Friend (concussion) was replaced at right tackle by sophomore Xavier Hemingway, who really struggled in 1-on-1 blocking against Towson end Ryan Delaire. The Windsor High grad had 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss. Delaire repeatedly made an inside move, got past Hemingway and applied pressure. Pasqualoni said Hemingway should have had more help in protection.

Lyle McCombs averaged 4.5 yards per carry but once again was UConn's lone runner. Pasqualoni has talked about getting McCombs help but, other than a 12-yard gain by Deshon Foxx on reverse, the Huskies tried nothing else in their run attack.

NOTES: UConn's offense produced only 287 yards. Towson piled up 393 yards while dominating possession time with almost a 13-minute advantage. . . . Receiver Kamal Abrams twisted his knee in pre-game warmups Thursday. Pasqualoni said Abrams was scheduled for a MRI on Thursday. . . Leon Kinnard, who transferred from UConn to Towson, had four receptions for the Tigers and picked up 61 yards, including 39-yard gain.

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