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    Monday, January 30, 2023

    The time has come for UConn to make a change

    OK. Let’s just say it:

    Jeff Hathaway blew it with Paul Pasqualoni.

    Warde Manuel blew it with Bob Diaco.

    David Benedict … you are on the clock.

    Because this is where we are now with the Apocalypse Formerly Known As UConn Football. Leaderless. Rudderless. Hopeless.

    It was evident even before Saturday’s barf-o-rama at Boston College. But there was no better example of the program’s malaise than Saturday at the Heights, with nearly 37,000 fans watching: impotent offense, absurd game management and then the worst of all: more postgame drivel from Mr. Diaco, whose musings are the unfortunate fusion of Casey Stengel and Vivian Stringer.

    • The UConn Huskies have gone 14 straight quarters without scoring a touchdown. Think about that. Blanked by, among others, Temple (allowed 28 points to Army) and BC (allowed a combined 153 points to Clemson, Florida State and Louisville, but whose defense is coached now by Pasqualoni.)

    • Mr. Diaco, using another offensive coordinator now, decided to burn quarterback Donovan Williams’ redshirt for games that mean nothing.

    • Fourth-and-18 on the BC 19 Saturday, UConn down 7-0 in the second period. This is knowing he’s competing against a tepid BC offense with hardly the ferocity of “Snakes On A Plane.” More like “Pantyhose On A Plane.” And what does Amos Alonzo Diaco do? Forgo the field goal, attempt an inane gadget play, fail … and then get uppity about it after:

    “They had a touchdown," Diaco said. "We've got to score touchdowns. We need a touchdown. How many touchdowns we score after that? What did you want to end the game, 7-3?”

    Hello?

    Is this thing on?

    What are the odds of a touchdown on fourth-and-18?

    What, a field goal there and a 7-3 score with 40 minutes left in the game isn’t acceptable?

    But then, it’s the same incompetence that led to the disasters against Navy and Syracuse.

    And consider me the spokesperson for the coalition that never wants to hear about how great the “culture” is in the program now. After a 30-0 loss to the team the fan base hates the most, this is what we got:

    “We have done a terrible, terrible job coaching those players on offense ... we have good enough players," Diaco said. "When you think about how abysmal it's been and that the games have been competitive almost all of them, considering we have the worst offense in America, imagine that. That's an indication of culture.

    “There's deep, deep, deep inspection and addressing that's going to need to happen here very shortly.”

    Shortly?

    It’s three seasons now.

    It’s as screwed up here now as the day Pasqualoni left.

    And at least Pasqualoni didn’t speak in parables.

    This, too, about Pasqualoni: He’s found his niche at BC. An assistant coach. Where he can dive into Xs and Os and not worry about the vagaries of head coaching. Methinks Mr. Diaco is better suited as an assistant coach, too.

    Based on the evidence, is there anybody else out there this side of Mr. Diaco’s family who would argue that?

    I have no idea whether Mr. Diaco will be here next year. Opinion: He needs to go. Fact: It’s a $5 million buyout now and shrinks to $3.4 million on Jan. 1. So it’s about the money. Always is. It’s about the money in an athletic department not rolling in it.

    But are there alumni out there willing to help? (Robert Burton, white courtesy phone; Robert Burton, white courtesy phone). We’re told that “football drives the bus.” Problem: UConn doesn’t even have a bus. This is a Ford Pinto that needs a new exhaust system.

    Mr. Diaco is not athletic director Benedict’s guy. Benedict, who appears to be doing a nice job here thus far, has worked at big time football schools in the past. He knows the difference between having lunch and just wanting a snack. Mr. Diaco is a snack. Benedict needs to go find somebody else, someone willing to partake of a Herculean task.

    Maybe Mr. Diaco’s successor, though, can find solace in this: This is rock bottom here now. Rock bottom. Broken. Any improvement is welcome.

    It’s time. Another failed experiment in UConn football. This is a recording.

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

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