MORGANTOWN - Randy Edsall isn't the only football coach Connecticut has ever had, but he is the only one who has had to endure the glare of playing on the biggest stage. Now in his 12th season, Edsall was on board when the school moved up from what was then called Division I-AA in 2002.
He's done a pretty good job, too. While his overall record stands at 69-69, UConn is 60-45 since the move to the top division of college football. His teams have played in bowl games three times in the last five years and in 2007 the Huskies tied West Virginia for the Big East championship.
But this season is not Edsall's finest hour. Heading into Friday night's home game with West Virginia (5-2, 1-1 Big East), the Huskies are 3-4 and have lost their first two league games to Rutgers and Louisville. The latter was a 26-0 shutout loss that came on the heels of Edsall booting his starting quarterback, Cody Endres, off the team and going with former third-stringer Mike Box.
UConn's only wins this season have come against Texas Southern, Buffalo and Vanderbilt. There have been lopsided losses to Michigan and Temple, in addition to the shutout at Louisville.
All of this from a team that had 17 starters returning from an 8-5 team that beat South Carolina in a bowl game and lost its five games by a grand total of 15 points.
Needless to say, Edsall now has his detractors. They are out in full force.
Edsall's take on it all?
"People can have opinions, and I could make a statement [about his reaction to them]. But if I made this statement I would really be in trouble,'' Edsall said during his weekly press conference. "Now, if I was Geno [Auriemma, the ultra-successful UConn women's basketball coach] I could probably say it and get away with it.
"I think some of you might have already heard that statement. When you talk about opinions they're a lot like some other things.''
He did not go into detail about what part of the human anatomy that might be.
"People can have their own opinions and say what they want to say. This country has freedom of speech,'' Edsall said. "The people I have to worry about are these players and the people here at the university and myself.''