STORRS, CONN. (AP) - Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall says he’s not concerned over increased criticism directed at him from Huskies fans during what has been a disappointing season.
Connecticut (3-4, 0-2) was expected to compete for the Big East title this season, but is in danger of being virtually eliminated in the league race going into Friday night’s home game against West Virginia (5-2, 1-1).
Edsall is 69-69 in 12 seasons at UConn. He was lauded for keeping the Huskies together last season after the death of cornerback Jasper Howard. They finished the season with victories at Notre Dame and against South Carolina in the PapaJohn’s Bowl.
He was considered a hot commodity in the offseason, and his name was linked to openings at several schools, including Notre Dame. Ultimately, he decided to stay at Connecticut.
This season, he has been criticized on talk radio and Internet message boards, with some fans calling for him to be fired.
“I didn’t get dumb overnight,” Edsall said Tuesday at his weekly media luncheon. “I didn’t get stupid overnight. Some years, you have enough pieces for the puzzle; some years you don’t.”
Edsall said one problem this season has been finding vocal leaders to motivate their teammates.
But he said he doesn’t feel the Huskies have given up, or are pouting because of their poor performances.
And linebacker Scott Lutrus, a team captain, said the players are not blaming the coach.
“It’s nothing the coaches are doing differently,” Lutrus said. “It’s the same scheme, the same approach we’ve taken since I’ve been here. It’s nothing new. It’s nothing different. We’ve just had some bad games and haven’t executed the way we wanted to.”
Edsall said he will continue to get up at 4 a.m. every morning and work, and try to get players to understand what they need to do to win. But he said part of the problem could also be unrealistic expectations.
“This isn’t Tinker Bell, where you can run and throw some fairy dust and all of the sudden you think it’s going to happen,” he said. “That’s not what this is all about.”