Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday--July 29th, 2014

Dan Malone continues his "Top-25 UMass players for 2014" series with a post about Shane Huber and Steve Casali.

Huber's UMass bio. Casali's UMass bio.

Lots of dynamics in play for these two UMass linebackers. One thing you couldn't fault about Charlie Molnar was his recruiting. Casali and Huber were highly rated members of Molnar's second recruiting class. They were expected to add speed and athleticism to a Minuteman front seven that badly needed both quantities.

I don' have images of either player because both DNP in the practice I attended or the Spring Game. Casali was injured early in the season and received a medical redshirt. Huber suffered a torn MCL and ACL late in the season. The conventional wisdom is that it takes a year to come back from torn ligaments. Keep in mind that college students usually don't have the five-hours-a-day rehab time that the pros do.

Unless there are some sort of complications, I would expect Casali to be ready to go by August 30th. Huber is another story. If he's not ready to go until late in the season, would UMass redshirt him? It would seem a waste to activate him for four games or so. OTOH, UMass needs wins. The conference affiliation clock is ticking. The Spring depth chart had Trey Seals listed as one the first unit's OLB's. Seals is really more of a stand-up DE kinda guy. If Casali is ready to go, I think he would be playing one OLB slot.

Shane Allen of Hustle Belt predicts Huber to have a breakout season in 2014.

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Dan also reviews the various college football publications and finds UMass is ranked last in MAC East in all of them.

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Hustle Belt previews Miami (Ohio), a team that is being ranked ahead of UMass despite going 0-12 in 2014.

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The Boston College blog "Soaring to Glory" looks at BC being tabbed as a 14.5 point favorite over UMass.

Speaking of BC, a Hampton Roads reporter ranks the ACC OOC schedules.

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A New Orleans sports writer thinks UMass has a shot at the AAC conference.

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The Sports Network previews the 2014 MAC.

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Image credit unknown
Steelers Depot reports Rob Blanchflower is doing well at blocking (scroll all the way to "final thoughts").

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Recruiting 2015--Lee Moses

Moses #23/ Bob Breidenbach image
247Sports reports Lee Moses, a 6-1 200 pound CB from Bishop Hendricken HS in RI has verbaled to UMass.

247 Sports page here.

Hudl.com has video.

Ranked #2 in potential recruits from Maine, Vermont, RI and New Hampshire.

This article from the Warwick Beacon features Moses.

Moses and a teammate raced to help people involved in a fiery crash on I-95.


Monday--July 28th, 2014

From the UMass feed
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Hustle Belt has superlatives from the MAC Media Day.

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Western Michigan could start 14 true freshmen says Broncos HC P.J. Fleck.

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Ex-Georgia Southern QB Greg Hill remembers his championship loss to UMass.

The Statesboro Herald looks at GSU's move the the Sunbelt conference.

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The Buffalo Bulls hope to keep their 2013 success going this year.

EMU, who will play at Gillette on October 18th, welcomes a well-traveled quarterback.

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Steve Addazio wants college football's next Tim Tebow to play for the Eagles.

BC also debuts their season poster. Meh.

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The Colorado Buffs were picked last in PAC-12's Southern Division  but avoided the league cellar in the media poll.

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Penn State's latest depth chart.

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Victor Cruz looks to be a good influence on the Giants rookies.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday--July 26th, 2014

Lots of images from the Football Alumni tour of the new Performance Center on the UMass Athletic Dept main page. Check it out.

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There is also a video interview of Stanley Andre, Tajae Sharpe and Mark Whipple from the MAC Media Day.

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Former UMass player E.J. Barthel joins the Rutgers football staff. E. J. 's UMass bio.

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Dam Malone interviews Terry Bowden about Akron's climb in the MAC standings and the Minutemen's attempt to do the same. Bowden has a point. UMass lost two league games by a total of two points. If we had an offense, we could have put a serious scare into Vanderbilt. There's a fine line between winning and losing. That said, we still need more time to make all the reforms needed for the move to FBS. I'm impressed (really impressed) with what Whipple has accomplished since his arrival, but he's going to need more than one year to start beating BCS teams and the cream of the MAC. That said, I'm going to enjoy the ride and for the first time I think UMass will show some flashes of what we can be.

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UMass adds some banners to McGuirk for 2014. If you're a UMass fan and are not local, be aware the basic concrete structure of McGuirk, is pretty deteriorated. New England weather is not kind to concrete.

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Cleveland.com says the Toledo Rockets eye the MAC East title.

They also review Bowling Green and says the Falcons start their conference games with MAC doormat UMass.

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A long blog post from the Steel Curtain looks the Steelers used SPARQ info to focus on athleticism and Rob Blanchflower's excellent numbers.

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An Arizona State beat writer tries to do a college football workout.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday---July 24th, 2014

UPDATE: Very limited Wi-Fi where I'm staying, so the blog will not be updated until probably sometime Saturday.

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Good morning. I'll be on the road the next three days. As usual, I'll try to keep the blog going if I have a WI-FI connection. If not, I'll be back late Saturday.

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UMass was picked last in the MAC East again. Note that we were picked last by a substantial margin. Below winless Miami. UMass has not finished last in either 2012 or 2013. I don't we'll be last in 2014.

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UMass white helmet
Dan Malone reports on Coach Whipple's debut in the MAC media world. Whipple brought the white helmet to the show. A hint for 2014?

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247 Sports image
During the TV interview, the announcers asked Whipple about Blake Fronapfel, but didn't seem aware UMass has signed Drew Harris. Dan Malone thinks those two players will make an impact for UMass this year.

Remember this article about Harris from NJ.com?

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Dan interviews MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher about UMass' departure from the MAC. Basically, when Temple jumped, UMass' rational for joining the MAC left too.

Steinbrecher was optimistic about the new college playoff system.

He also is not in favor of paying student athletes.

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Matty Vautour reports Mark Whipple expressed confidence at the Media Day convention.

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The Boston Globe reports UMass was picked last in the MAC and New Hampshire first in the CAA.

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Watch Victor Cruz propose to his fiancee.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday --July 23rd

A.J. Doyle
Dan Malone cover A.J. Doyle as the latest player in his Top-25 for 2014.

Doyle's UMass bio here.

In 2013 Doyle went 11-9  Starts 99.1 EFF 128-235-11 54.5 Pct 1274 YARDS 6 TD 55 Long  115.8 AVE/G.

In 2013, UMass QB pass efficiency was 12th in a 13 team league. Doyle threw almost twice as many interceptions as TD's.

Let me be first to state I think A.J. will play better this year. I still think Blake Fronapfel will start, but when Doyle gets in the game, he will look better. First, he'll be healthy, something he hasn't been often in his Minutemen career. Second, even though being under center is new to him, he'll have a better offense around him. I keep saying that a good rushing offense makes a QB look good. I hope Drew Harris lives up to his recruiting commentary.

Doyle should get better WR play this year. Mike Cassano is the new WR coach. Last year Doyle had at least two TD passes dropped. In addition, there was some piss-poor route running. If you were not a UMass fan during Whipple's last era with the Minutemen, know that he does not take dropped passes or catch one yard shy of a first down lightly. Do that and Whipple will grab your face mask when you come off the field and he'll explain your deficiencies  to you ---- loudly.

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Today is MAC Media Day. The event starts at noon. It will be televised on ESPN3.

Coach Whipple and Stanley Andre and Tajae Sharpe will be there.

Cleveland.com has an article on the league's Media Day.
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The Boston College Blog "BC Interruption" looks at the betting odds for the Eagles and thinks BC will win easily over UMass, Maine and Colorado State.

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The MAC Blog Hustle Belt held its own media poll and picks UMass last in the league.

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Victor Cruz thinks he'll prosper in the Giants new offense.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recruiting 2015---Ronnie James

Lori M. James image
NJ.com says UMass has offered to Ronnie James a 5-11 175 pound RB/DB from Glassboro, NJ.

NJ.com recruiting article here.

247 Sports three-star recruit.

Hudl.com has video.

Besides UMass, James has offers from Army, Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse.

Tuesday--July 22nd, 2014

Former UMass star Peter McCarty has been hired as defensive line coach for UNH.

McCarty was a four-year letter (1974, 75, 76, 77). He was captain in 1977. He was All-Yankee Conference in his senior year.

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Penn State has five players on the preseason All-Big 10 list.

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News from the MAC

Akron has the look of a contender says Cleveland.com

Kent State looks to return to winning ways.

Syracuse has a lot of assistant coaches with MAC roots.

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Victor Cruz win "Party like a Sports Star" award.

Victor's also officially engaged.

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I was watching a replay of the Rose Bowl last evening on ESPNU. Stanford plays the 3-4 defense. The Cardinal was very successful last year in rushing defense; they ended up 3rd in the nation at 89.4 yards/game. Stanford missed going 12-0 in regular season by nine points.

Stanford sometimes added two stand-up defensive ends (or linebackers) to the three down linemen to play a five-man front. Sometimes they'd move a linebacker into the gaps. In passing situations they would only rush the three down linemen (and usually got a pretty good push against Michigan State) and drop everyone else back. The camera always stays close to the ball, so it was hard to see what else they were doing, but Stanford was able to use the 3-4 to play great rush defense all season.

In the Rose Bowl the Cardinal held Michigan State to 35-65 1.9 AVE rushing...

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Recruiting 2015--George Wilson

Wilson #8/ Joshua Sudock image
George Wilson, a 6-3 180 pound WR from Tustin HS in CA has previously verbaled to Utah.

This article says his commitment may not be solid.

Hudl.com has highlights.

This article covers his recruitment.

Utah has had six offensive coordinators since 2009. Wilson would probably shine in Whipple's Pro-set offense.

Besides Utah, Wilson has offers from San Jose State and UMass.

Monday--July 21st, 2014

An Oregon writer looks at the PAC-10's non-BCS opponents including UMass.

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The Hartford Courant looks at UConn's FCS opponent Stony Brook. The Courant thinks UMass transfer Stacey Bedell will be backing up RB Marcus Coker.

Bedell's Sea Wolves bio.

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Boston College's ACC Media Day transcript. Mentions UMass.

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The non-Power Five conferences were not enamored with June Jones suggestion they move football to a Spring sport.

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Hustel Belt previews Kent State's OOC opponents.

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Fan Sided reviews every teams ESPN football logo.

Quote about Boston College's logo : "Like everything Boston College, this logo is wicked mediocre at best"

Speaking of mediocre, the Times says the ACC has mediocrity in the middle.

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Attention UMass football team! The Moscow Times reports no sex, no success, World Cup study finds. Print a copy for your girlfriend.

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