It has been a rough week for the UMass Minutemen. Between dealing with injuries, an 0-4 record and alumni petition that is bringing a lot of bad press to the program, the bye week could not have come at a better time. However, Monday gave them a bit of respite as their New England compatriot down I-91 had to deal with some adversity of its own.
UConn fired head coach Paul Paqualoni on Monday, ending a brief and unsuccessful stint in Storrs. In just over two seasons at the helm, Pasqualoni had a 10-18 record and failed to build off the momentum Randy Edsall had built before leaving to take the head job at Maryland.
This is welcome news to UMass, especially on the recruiting front. UMass recently gained former UConn commit Sha'ki Holines after the Springfield, Mass. native left Pasqualoni's program and there could be a slew of defections coming from their current 2014 class. According to ESPN, two members of UConn's class also had offers from the Minutemen before committing to the Huskies.
Three-star athlete Justin Noye (East Rochester, N.Y.) and two-star linebacker Tom Rodrick (Leicester, Mass.) are both attractive targets, especially Rodrick who would help build Charley Molnar's "Made in Massachusetts" campaign. Since neither player has signed a letter of intent, they are free to reopen their recruitment along with the rest of the class that had given their world to the now-departed head coach.
Another coaching change in Storrs could also deal a blow to the Huskies ability to recruit the state of Massachusetts over UMass. Even with the losing and the bad press, the Minutemen seem to be fully behind Molnar and believe in his ability to build the program into a competitive outfit.
If Molnar and his staff can capitalize on this coaching change in Storrs - and they should make that priority - it will do nothing but help the UMass football program.