Q&A with former SU football coach Paul Pasqualoni

Paul Pasqualoni needs no introduction to Syracuse football fans. Pasqualoni concluded his 14-year tenure at Syracuse as the Orange’s second-winningest coach with 107 victories. Following his time with Syracuse, Pasqualoni coached with the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys before returning to the Big East as the head coach of Connecticut.

He recently spoke with The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman during Big East media day.

The Juice Online: Coach, I know it’s a long way off, but it’s going to get hyped when you play Syracuse in early November. They’re even calling it the Paul Pasqualoni Bowl. How do you think about something like that?

Paul Pasqualoni: It’ll probably be fun for the fans to come up with that kind of stuff. So, if the fans can have some fun with it, that’s great. But for me personally, there’s so much to do to get ready for a game, I’m going to worry about the game, I’m not going to worry that it’s Syracuse. We’re going to get ready for Syracuse the same way we get ready for any other opponent. You have to do it that way.

JO: How do you feel about where your career as come?

PP: I’m concerned about where my career is going as opposed to where my career has been. Right now, I’m just O.K. working day in and day out on what we’ve got to do right now because it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. It only matters what you’re doing tomorrow. Today. Tomorrow. What have you done? So that’s what we’re working on.

JO: Did you ever think you’d be back in the Big East when you were in the NFL?

PP: Not really. I didn’t really even think about that. I’m not the kind of guy that’s on the phone looking for the next job. I couldn’t tell you if one guy is moving to another job or somebody else is moving along. I’m the worst guy in the world at knowing what’s going on from a job’s standpoint I promise you.

JO: When it came up, did you say, “Hmm, I have to take a look at this?”

PP: When it came up, I and said, “If there is a place I’m familiar with, there it is.” Having coached high school football in Southern Connecticut and Western Connecticut, and then recruiting in the Big East in Connecticut and New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, so the territory was quite familiar. When it came up, I said, “Yeah, that’s the spot I could fit in.”

JO: What’s the most important thing you take from the NFL and take back to the college game?

PP: I would say that how important it is to eliminate mistakes, to play smart, to be able to maintain a high level of focus and mental toughness through the course of the week and the course of the season. Because those are the things that it takes to win. You got to eliminate mistakes, you got to be smart. You can’t turn the ball over. There can’t be penalties. You can’t do dumb things. If you do a dumb thing at that level of football in the NFL, you’ve got no chance. You just have no chance. I think it’s just a heightened awareness of how important preparation is, and really what it takes to win.

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