At this time of year, especially when your football season is over, a coach evaluates everything.
Athletic director Warde Manuel has met with Pasqualoni and sent a warning last week, saying that fans should expect adjustments.
Home games against Michigan and Maryland will test the Huskies, who must reduce the number of turnovers, big plays allowed on defense and inconsistency on special teams.
In fact, the past two seasons have been models of inconsistency. Pasqualoni's teams won two consecutive games (Pittsburgh and Louisville in 2012) once in two seasons. On offense, the Huskies had four "big plays" of 50 yards or more. Two came in the season finale, a 34-17 loss to Cincinnati at home.
Two days later, Manuel and Pasqualoni talked about 2013. Three days later, in an interview with The Courant, Manuel, in a respectful way, said that he expected to see changes and that the fans should, too.
Pasqualoni said the meeting went well and the mission is clear: Evaluate everything.
"I thought the meeting with Warde was a very good meeting, very positive meeting," said Pasqualoni, who offered no specifics. "As coaches, we expect this [upcoming] season to be better. The players certainly want the season to be better, but at this point right now, it's the recruiting season and everybody is putting their effort into that, trying to get through this to see what the recruiting class will look like and then we'll go from there."
"Now some of the things are obvious, the number of turnovers [tied for 93rd in the nation with 26; 18 interceptions tied for 112th] we had last year, you don't stop thinking about. The turnovers, interceptions that came in the second half of games really cost us. As a coach, those things are always on your mind, but you go through the detail, quality-control end of it, you evaluate that and then you have to evaluate the personnel you have and who you're bringing in. ... The first thing we've got to do is get through this recruiting."
Pasqualoni, who has been criticized by UConn fans, is respected in recruiting circles.
"A lot of high school coaches I talk to respect the hell out of the coach [Pasqualoni] up there," said Jeremy Crabtree, ESPN's senior coordinator of recruiting. "I think his reputation and his past successes helps get them in the door of high schools that wouldn't listen based on the name of the school alone. I just don't know if people associate UConn with winning football. … But the good news is, they've got a coaching staff up there that helps them get into doors and helps them overcome some of the things that could be viewed as deficiencies. So I think that if they could get into a larger conference it would only help cement their reputation."
Here's some good news: UConn has 19 players committed, 11 ranked three stars by Rivals.com, which has the Huskies' recruiting class at No. 58 nationally. UConn is looking to get six or seven more recruits.
With a little time left, the 58 ranking is the highest Rivals rank since UConn was 55th in 2007. It ties the 2008 mark.
At 58, according to Rivals, UConn is better than Boston College (64), Miami (67), Boise State (69), Purdue (74), San Diego State (75), Cincinnati (77), Louisville (83) and Syracuse (85). UConn is right behind Stanford.
Upgrading talent should go a long way in how much this team wins. Pasqualoni can evaluate talent.
"I would have never even thought to guess there is a Rivals ranking, but what I can tell you is the reception we've had in recruiting and the players we're talking to is very positive," Pasqualoni said. "The players have seen our games, obviously, the exposure on television. It's been positive. Nobody is happy. Players want to see you win games, it helps you. But by how hard we played, the effort the players have given, they see that."
"At the Pitt game, and we have kids who saw those games, high-quality tight ends who love what we do, love what the tight ends' involvement is. I think there are quarterbacks who like the concepts and drop-back nature of what we do, running backs who appreciate the fact we're committed to running the ball, offensive linemen who want to be in this type of scheme, defensive people who want to play in the kind of scheme we're playing in. I think the kids I've talked to, their parents and high school coaches, recognize the effort and that has made for very positive conversation."
The Huskies' most recent commitment is J.D. Krill, a 6-foot-6 tight end from Saddleback Community College, a junior college in Mission Viejo, Calif. Krill committed to offensive coordinator George DeLeone.
UConn isn't just looking for the right players, but athletes who have the potential to contribute right away. With tight ends John Delahunt and Ryan Griffin graduating, a junior college player can come in and play immediately.
That's enticing for recruits, which can be exciting.
"I think sometimes kids see opportunity to be involved early," Pasqualoni said. "You know, more and more I think, kids are interested in playing early."
"People having patience is almost a thing of the past. Everybody wants everything right now. It's been that way but it seems more and more so. Everybody wants immediate success, but part of the problem is, I think you have to be careful of the so-called quick-fix solutions. I don't know if there's a quick-fix solution. I think you've got to recruit players and they've got to be mature and in order to play early, emotionally they've got to be able to handle it and physically they've got to be able to handle it."
UConn's recruiting is going better than expected and has the potential to be stronger down the stretch.
Pasqualoni isn't. He remembers as coach at Syracuse his 1993 team was a preseason top 10 by a few experts and top 5 by others. The Orange finished 6-4-1 and did not go to a bowl game.
But the 1994 recruiting class included a quarterback named Donovan McNabb, who became the starter as a redshirt freshman in 1995. Consecutive bowl appearances followed (Gator, Liberty, Fiesta and Orange), two wins, then two losses, but the program continued to build.
Those teams won eight and nine games a season. That's adjusting.