Friday, December 19, 2014

Recruiting 2015 ---Qaadir Sheppard IV

I've blogged about Qaadir Sheppard, a 6-3 222 pound DE/WR from Iona Prep three times before.

He verbaled to Syracuse yesterday.

Friday--December 19th, 2014

Neal Brown, a former UMass player and graduate assistant under Coach Whipple  has been named HC at Troy.

SB Nation has five reasons Brown will bring winning football to Troy.

Brown interviewed for the UMass HC job back in 2012. A number of people, including me, hoped he'd get it. Maybe Whipple and Brown can arrange a home-and-home series. That would feature a lot of offense...


UConn's future schedule includes UMass in 2016 and 2017.


Temple plays at UMass on 09/19/2015.


Campus Insiders previews the Famous Potato Bowl featuring Western Michigan vs Air Force. Western Michigan went from 1-11 in 2013 to 8-4 and a bowl game this year under P.J. Fleck.

They also preview the Carmella Bowl with Bowling Green against South Alabama.


12 Coaching candidates for the Pitt HC job include three MAC coaches and former UMass assistant Bob Shoop.


OT, but Jaron Johnson, a player for the NBA development team Rio Grande Vipers is friends with another player named Raphael Putney. Both are trying to break into Pro Basketball.

They're friends because---- " Putney, a 6-foot-9 rookie center, also hails from an obscure college (UMass-Amhurst) and was also a tryout invitee."


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recruiting 2015-- Mario Patton II

Chuck Crow image
Yesterday I blogged about Mario Patton a 6-3 290 pound DT verbaling to UMass.

Charles Doss of Hustle Belt interviews Patton about his commitment to the Minutemen. (fixed link)

Recruiting 2015--Mike Caggiano & Bennett Moehring

Saed Hindash image
Dan Malone, report two kicking specialists have received Minutemen offers.

The first is Michael Caggiano, a 5-10 160 pound kicker from Manalapan, NJ.

Rivals page here.

This article from September 2014 features Caggiano. reports Rutgers offered Caggiano preferred walk-on status.

Caggiano's Kohl's kicking camp page.

Caggiano holds offers from Hawaii and Stony Brook. Has preferred walk-on status from several Power Five schools


Kohl's kicking camp image

Also offered was Bennett Moehring, a 5-9 170 pound kicker/punter from Bentonville, AK.

ESPN three-star player. has highlights.

Kohl's Kicking Camp profile.

Was ranked #1 kicker in 2015 class by Chris Sailer kicking.

Besides UMass, Moehring has an offer from Tulane.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Recruiting 2015--Mario Patton

247Sports image
Dan Malone credits Bob McGovern in reporting Mario Patton, a 6-3 290 pound defensive lineman from Cleveland heights has verbaled to UMass. two-star player.

This video co-features Patton before the 2014 season. has senior highlights.

Patton also held offers from Minnesota and Bowling Green.

Wednesday--December 17th, 2014

Dan Malone has another installment of his 2014 position review, this time covering special teams.


Blake Lucas 2-4 Made-Att 38 LONG
Matthew Wylie 0-1 Made-Att
Logan Laurent 4-6 Made-Att 31 LONG


Brian McDonald 57-2150 37.7 AVE 67 LONG 10 I20 50+ 4


Blake Lucas 56-3178 56.8 AVE 7 TB
Matthew Wylie 6-311 51.8 AVE

Long snapper and Holder

Nick Berus GP-GS 12-12
Blake Frohnapfel

As Dan says the Minutemen kicking game was ugly, worse in some respects than 2013, which is saying something. Kickoff average dropped this year as Brandon Levengood averaged 60.4 yards a kickoff in 2013. UMass was last the MAC in PAT average, second to last in punting average and field goals.

On fly in the ointment about bringing in recruits is Coach Molnar publicly complained how much scholarship money UMass had invested in special teams. The Minutemen need help in a number of areas and two scholarships could be well invested in a couple of transfer defensive linemen.

That said, I think it's almost certain Whipple will bring in another kicker. Basically nobody on the current roster looked impressive.


Dan has an article on UMass' attendance figures in the MAC.


Campus Insiders previews the NIU-Marshall game.


OT, but wonders if the Power Five will ruin the NCAA hoops tourney.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday--December 16th, 2014

Dan Malone continues his 2014 season review this time covering running backs.

The Starters:

Shadrach Abrokwah GP-GS 8-5 122-578 4.7 AVE 7 TD 24 LONG 72.2 AVE/game
Lorenzo Woodley GP-GS10-1 104-415 4.0 AVE 5 TD 43 LONG 41.4
J.T Blyden GP-GS5 5-1 38-117 3.1 AVE 18 LONG 23.3
Jamal Wilson GP-GS 3-3 20-88 4.4 AVE 1 TD 11 LONG 29.3
Matt Tuleja GP-GS 11-2 blocking fullback
Marken Michel GP-GS 12-5 19-115 6.1 AVE 1 TD 50 LONG (Wildcat)

In the Rotation:

Elgin Long GP-GS 7-0 6-36 6.0 AVE 1 TD
Andrew Libby GP-GS 10-0 2-3 1.5 AVE


Jordan Broadnax RSJR
Manwon Brisbane RSFR
Daquan Mack RSFR

The Minutemen rushing game was one aspect of the offense that didn't get jump-started under Whipple in 2014. This year UMass averaged 3.4 yards/carry with 1312 total yards rushing. In 2013, we averaged 3.4 yards/carry with 1502 total rushing yards.

One aspect of the running game that did improve was the Wildcat. Under Molnar, it usually went for -3 yards a carry. This year Michel had a 50-yard run and usually gained positive yards.

The loss of Jamal Wilson, who averaged 4.0 yards a carry against the BCS portion of UMass' schedule hurt the cause. The longest run from scrimmage (not counting Marken Michel out of the Wildcat) was 38 yards. When Whipple looked at the roster and recruits this Spring, he brought in Drew Harris. I think that was somewhat of a statement. When we played Penn State, the Nittany Lions defensive ends ran down our running backs from behind. In our last game, Buffalo had much the faster RB.

I would think that a JUCO or transfer RB would behind only a kicker in recruiting priority this Spring.


The Virginia Pilot looks at various scenarios for Conference USA to deal with the loss of UAB. They could raid the Sun Belt or could add UMass, Army, JMU or Liberty.


The Boston College blog "BC Interruption" looks at football recruiting in New England.


Mike Karpinski of Hustle Belt looks at the MAC December recruiting rankings.


Toledo looks forward to 2015.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday---December 15th, 2014

On Saturday, Dan Malone continued his 2014 review series this time covering receivers.

If anything in UMass football showed the impact of Whipple/Frohnapfel it was the wide receiver corps.  The Minutemen had 16 players in 2014 catch the football and two more Jon Denton and Elgin Long make contributions. In 2013 the longest reception by a WR was 38 yards. In 2014, the Minutemen had SIX receivers with catches of 50 yards or more. Suddenly, UMass had lots of good lookin' receivers.

The Starters:

Tajae Sharpe GS-GP 12-12 85-1281 7 TD 77 LONG 106.6.8 AVE/G
Jean Sirfin GS-GP11-9 42-642 6 YD 76 LONG 58.4
Rodney Mills GS-GP 12-7 30-489 5 TD 72 LONG 40.8
Marken Michel GS-GP 12-5 30-386 1 TD 50 LONG 30.8
Jalen Williams GS-GP 11-3 20-307 4 TD's 60 LONG 27.9

In the Rotation (just about everybody but freshmen and walk-ons)

Alex Kenney GS-GP 12-5 9-190 1 TD 80 LONG 15.8
Shakur Nesmith GS-GP 10-1 7-105 1 TD 36 LONG (see 2013) 105
Brandon Howard  GS-GP 12-2 4-57 22 LONG  4.8
Bernard Davis GS-GP 11-2 2-20 14 LONG  1.8
Shaq Harris GP-GS 0-7 1-36 7 Kick returns 140 yards
Jon Denton GS-GP 8-1 (blocking)
Elgin Long GS-GP 7-0 Wildcat


Alfred Adarkwah FR
J.T Kelley FR
Ryan Heath FR
Dan Jonah JR
Kevin Lovaincy SO
Conner Lemieux RSFR
Sharif Custis RSFR
Jordan Fiske FR
Jon Lucier FR
Todd Stafford RSFR

Sharpe flat out looked like a NFL receiver catching sideline outs from Fronapfel. Sifrin appeared raw in aspects, but he physically was a mis-match for most teams. Watching Frohnapfel throw and the the wide receivers catch was the most fun UMass fans have had in a long time.


Thank you video from the Minutemen Club.


David Tolintino, a 6-2, 275 pound DT from St. Peters Prep in NJ verbaled to Navy. Tolintino had a UMass offer.


Northern Illinois to the Big Ten?


OT, but Lou Roe's son is playing hoops for Hopkins Academy.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday--December 13th, 2014

Dan Malone continues his 2014 review with a consideration of the Minutemen defensive backfield.

The Starters;

Randall Jette RSJR GP-GS 12-12 39 UT 28 AT 67 TT 4 INT 14 BU 18 PD
Joe Colton JR GP-GS 12-12 43 UT (high for the team) 55 AT 98 TT 7.0 TFL 1 INT 4 PD
Khary Bailey-Smith JR GP-GS
Trey Dudley-Giles JR GP-GS12-12 31 UT 21 AT 53 TT 3.0 TFL 2 INT 25 BU 7 PD

In the rotation:

Jackson Porter RSFR GP-GS 11-8 21 UT 20 AT 41 TT 2 INT 2 BU 4 PD
Zeke Edmonds FR GP-GS 9-0 2 UT 13 At 15 TT 1 BU 1 PD
Iric Harris JR GP-GS 5-0 1 UT 2 AT 3 TT
Jesse Monteiro GP-GS 12-0 1 UT 8 AT 9 TT
Lucas Amato RSFR GP-GS 12-1 3 UT 5 At 8 TT


Jarell Addo FR
DuVaugh Beckford JR
Joel Devariste FR
Jaurice Jones JR
Charan Singh FR
D.J. Woods SO

2015 recruit

Lee Moses

To me the defensive backfield struggles that Malone mentions were partially due to the Minutemen front seven. The UMass fans I sat with during the year would comment on how far off the Minutemen DB were playing opposing receivers. It looked as if there was a consensus coaching decision to adopt  a bend-but-don't-break defensive posture. The UMass DB's looked to me trying to keep the play in front of them.

Maybe next year with more defensive pressure on the opposing QB, UMass DB's will close up and be more physical on opposing receivers. UMass was 11th in sacks in the MAC. Minutemen pass defense efficiency was not too bad-- 9th in the league. Also the DB's were making a lot of tackles.

Freshman Zeke Edmonds played a lot. I have high hopes for big hitting Jerell Addo and Charan Singh. This is another area UMass could use a JUCO or FBS transfer.


Ron Chimelis reports Chancellor Subbaswamy is in charge.


UNH came out flat in the first half of last night's FCS game, but rallied in the second half.


Navy says how many games does they have to win before it's renamed the Navy-Army Game?


Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday-- December 12th, 2014

Dan Malone looks at the performance of the UMass quarterbacks in 2014.

First and foremost:

Blake Frohnapfel GS GP-GS 10-10 132.2 EFF 241-437-10 55 % 3345 23 TD's 80 LONG 334.5 yards /game MAC First Team  All-Conference.

Austin Whipple RSFR GP-GS 6-2 117.1 EFF 25-48-3 52.1 % 325 3 TD's 72 LONG 34.2 yards/game.

Other QB's on roster:

Ross Comis FR
A.J. Doyle JR
Andrew Verboys

Incoming recruits:

Randall West
James Soinski

Well Blake Frohnapfel was the best thing UMass fans have seen in a long time. Besides his amazin' numbers (334.5 yards a game is a UMass record by a large margin), Frohnapfel has the intangibles that make an effective QB. I was at the Colgate game 2005 out in Andy Kerr Stadium when Tim Day threw four INT's in the first half. Liam Coen came in the second half and went 20-35-193 and two TD's to spark a furious UMass comeback. Coen started every game for the rest of his career after that. Frohnapfel has those kind of intangibles  He looked good and suddenly UMass has a bunch of good receivers. Sixteen Minuteman players caught passes in 2014.

Frohnapfel will be the starting Minutemen QB as long as his career lasts (hopefully 13 games in 2015).

Verboys has by far the best foot speed of the rest of the QB's. He could get some reps out of the wildcat next year.  Comis has had a lot of favorable press; it'll be interesting to see him in the Spring game. Since Frohnapfel will certainly be the starting QB in 2015, A.J. Doyle may not want to sit out another year. Whipple's second game was OK, but it looked like everyone lost a gear---- it looked like 2013. However, Whipple did improve a lot in his second game.


The annual Max Page dog-and-pony show went off yesterday. Please all UMass fans, if you get a chance to meet him , shake Chancellor Subbasawamy's hand for defending UMass football.

The facility senate then voted to dissolve the ad-hoc committee on football.


Matty V. says Chancellor Subbasawamy tells Max Page to to put a sock in it.


Over at Hustle Belt, Jesse Allen and Max Moore review the 2014 Minutemen season.