Friday, December 30, 2005

Texas Tech game settled

Matt Vautour reports that UMass has agreed to play Texas Tech in September 2008 (registration required).

I have previously blogged about this in October.

The Red Raiders are currently 9-2 and will play in the Cotton Bowl against Alabama.

The Texas Tech will be a load. The played two I-AA teams this year. The Red Raiders beat Sam Houston State 80-21 and Indiana State 63-7...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Recruiting #9 Michael Morante

Considering UMass is Michael Morante a 6-1, 245 pd OG from Peters Township in Venetia PA.

Morante runs a 4.84 40 and has a 3.0 GPA.

* Also recruited by Georgetown and Villanova
* Played LB as well as OG
* Team captain in 2005
* This article mentions him

Hope he chooses UMass!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kervis commits to Eastern Michigan

Andrew Kervis, a 6-5 235 pd DE, who was being recruited by UMass and mentioned in this blog post committed to Eastern Michigan on 12/21/05.

Note that you can search the UMass Football Fanzone by using the "Search This Blog" button at the top.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Look what Santa brought!

Santa was good to the UMass Fanzone and brought a very cool UMass football. It will go in a place of honor in my den.

If anyone from the UMass Administration ever reads this blog: "Hey! How about marketing some UMass replica Football Jerseys!"

I would love one! UMass fans have not been able to buy football jerseys for years. I'd get one with Shipp's/Baylark's number 5, and another with a higher number when I was in a linebacker frame of mind.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Blogging around the Christmas Tree...

Have a happy holidays!

This blog would like to wish all its readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays!

For all UMass fans here's hoping that Santa has the following in this pack for 2006:
  • A trip to Annapolis to see UMass play Navy
  • Season ticket for six home games in '06
  • A great year following UMass football
For the UMass team:
  • A trip to the playoffs
  • A year free from injury
  • A 3.0 gradepoint average to all
For the UMass Coaching staff:
  • Recognition for all they do for the team and the University
  • Lots of big recruits who run real fast
  • A chance to coach in the National Championship game.
Hope everybody has a safe and happy holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Navy crushes Colorado State

UMass plays Navy on 09/09/06 as our I-A game. See previous blogs (scroll down) for other info.

Note that Navy blew out Colorado State in the PoinsettiaBowl last night.

Navy rang up 611 total yards of offense. Soph. Slotback Reggie Campbell had 290 total yards of offense with a 7.2 yards/carry. The other two Navy running backs averaged 8.6 and 11.4 yards/carry!

The UMass defense better eat their Wheaties!

UMass legend Jim Reid hired as head coach at VMI

UMass legend Jim Reid has been hired as the new Head Coach at VMI.

This is the official VMI article. The local press has another article here.

Congratulations to Jimmie Reid! VMI will get better quick!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Recruiting #8 Jesse Castillio

UMass is recruiting Jesse Castillio a 6-2 290 pd OG from Cambridge Rindge & Latin in Cambridge MA.

Castillio runs a 5.3 40. He was 2005 First Team Greater Boston League.

Also considering New Hampshire and Northeastern.

Hopefully he will choose UMass!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Recruiting #7 Stefan Stauber

UMass is recruiting Stefan Stauber a 6-3 190 pd WR from Holyoke MA. Stauber runs a 4.5 40 and benches 210.

Some of his stats are here. The Springfield Union has some of his exploits in the Holyoke-Chicopee game here .

Also being recruited by Boston College, UConn and Northeastern.

Looks like good size and speed. Hope he chooses UMass.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

UMass Legend Jim Reid finalist for VMI Head Coach

Football Scoop has an article (scroll down) that former UMass head coach Jim Reid is a finalist for the open position of Head Coach at VMI.

Jimmie Reid is a great coach and an even better person. I have blogged before on his hiring as Defensive Line coach at Bucknell.

That Blog details some of Reid's accomplishments at UMass. Here's hoping that he gets the job at VMI!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Recruiting #6 Cedric Odita

Considering UMass is Cedric Odita a WR from Rochester NY. He is 6-3 180 and runs a 4.6 40.

Also being recruited by Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse and Temple.

This article has some information about him.

Cedric, we'd love to have you!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Partial UMass 2006 Football schedule

For those planning their 2006 vacation schedule (I assume a bunch of UMass folks are going to Annapolis for the Navy game), here is a partial UMass 2006 schedule (unofficial) .

9/2 vs. Colgate
9/9 at Navy
9/16 at Villanova
10/7 vs. William & Mary
10/14 at Towson
11/4 at New Hampshire
11/18 vs. Hofstra

I'll post more when I get it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Brad Anderson named UMass Fall Scholar-Athlete

Brad Anderson LB (6-0 230 pds) has been named UMass' Fall Scholar-Athlete. Anderson achieved a 3.3 average in his major.

Anderson was the second-leading tackler on the defense with 62 total tackles, 17 solo, 45 ast, 2.5-14 TFL/yds.

The article article also clears up some confusion as to his status. He was listed as a senior on the UMass roster. However, the article states that he is a junior in football eligibility. It seems that he will be back for the 2006 season, which is good news for UMass.

The image above shows one of his eleven tackles against Army (Click to enlarge). He had an excellent season and his return will help the UMass defense in 2006!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Navy's Schedule in 2006

I have blogged about future UMass I-A opponents in this post.

UMass opens with Navy on 09/09/06.

The rest of Navy's 2006 schedule is here (unofficial) :

East Carolina
@ Stanford
@ Conn
Notre Dame
@ Duke
@ Eastern Michigan

More Awards for UMass Players

Awards continue to roll in for UMass football players for the 2005 season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

KAEO Ben Albert

Minuteman legend Ben Albert has been hired by Delaware as their new linebackers coach.

This is a cut-and-past from the article: "Albert comes to Delaware with nine years of college coaching experience, most recently at Atlantic 10 rival University of Richmond where he was defensive line and special teams coach in 2004 under first-year head coach Dave Clawson. He began his coaching career in 1996 at Massachusetts, coached his first stint at Richmond in 1997-00, moved to Rutgers for the 2001 season, and went back to Massachusetts for two seasons in 2002-03 before returning to Richmond. He was a three-year starting defensive lineman at Massachusetts where he earned All-Yankee Conference honors in 1994 and posted career totals of 187 tackles and 14 sacks. He earned both his bachelor's degree (1995) and master’s degree (1997) from Massachusetts"

While at UMass Albert:
  • Was a four year starter at DT.
  • UMass Co-Captain in 1994
  • First Team All-Yankee Conference
  • Intercepted a pass and rumbled 17 yards to beat Holy Cross 7-3 in 1992. That win broke Holy Cross' longest home winning streak. I was there and the play was right in front of me.
The image above is a scan from the 1994 UMass Football press guide. The image is un-attributed. Click on the image to enlarge.

Delaware's linebackers just got better!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Recruiting #5 Alex Blucher

UMass has offered a scholarship to Alex Blucher, a 5-10 185 pd CB from Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, FL.

Blucher has also been offered by Iowa State. He has interest from Iowa, Purdue, Georgia State and Costal Carolina.

This article mentions him.

There are video highlights of his play here .

Friday, December 09, 2005

NCAA Football Recruiting Regulations

Interested in College Football Recruiting? Here are some links towards understanding the NCAA rules that coaches labor under.

First off is the recruiting calendar. It gives the dates that contacts can be made with the athlete.

Definitions of terms found in the calendar such as "quiet period" and the like can be found here.

If you're would really like to delve into NCAA regs, the 18-page coaches manual is available here (PDF).

Letter of intent day is coming in February!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

UMass Football Desktop Wallpaper

Above is the image that I have been using on my personal computer as the desktop wallpaper. Click on the image to enlarge.

It is a scan of a post card sent to me by the UMass Alumni Association. All UMass grads should belong to the Alumni Association. They do numerous good works for the University and the Alumni Association has strongly supported UMass Athletics in the past.

There is no copywrite symbol on the postcard and I called the Alumni Association and asked if I could use the image on my blog. They did not seem to know what I was talking about...

Since they are giving away the postcards and no one seemed to care at the Alumni Association, we'll take it that it's ok to use the image.

The game is the UMass-Colgate game of 09/22/04. UMass won 30-20.

Note that I have some images of that same game on my blog archives. See them here (scroll down to last image).

If any one wants the full-rez version of the scan, email me. Have a fat pipe; it's large.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Raw Data: Atlantic 10 OOC Results

With the losses of Richmond and UNH in the second round of the National Championship tourney, the A10's season is over.

The A10 went 25-14 OOC overall.
  • Four of those wins were against DII Schools (the A10 went 4-0)
  • Five of the losses were against I-A schools (the A10 went 0-5)
  • The A10's overall winning percent was 64.1% (25-39)
  • The A10's winning percent against I-AA teams was 70% (21-9)
  • Three of the nine A10 losses were from Northeastern, who went 0-3 OOC

Monday, December 05, 2005

Recruiting 2006 #4 Andrew Krevis

Interested in UMass is Andrew Krevis a 6-5 235 pd DE from Milford Academy in New Berlin NY. Krevis runs a 4.75 40.

Also recruiting him are Boston College, Duke, Iowa, Michigan State, Buffalo and UCF.

Hopefully, Andrew will consider UMass as his choice. One good thing about I-AA football is that because of less scholarships, recruits are looking at more playing time than at I-A schools.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Recruiting 2006 #3 Matt Flynn

UMass is also recruiting a teammate of WR Ryan Abdilla that we talked about in recruiting post #2.

Considering UMass is Matt Flynn a 5-11 175 pd pro-style QB from Mainland Regional in Linwood NJ

Flynn's stats were 121-210, 1818 yds, 21 TDs 4.8 40.

Also recruited by Delaware, Hofstra and DII

Newspaper articles here and here mention both Flynn and Abdilla

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Recruiting 2006 #2 Ryan Abdilla

Considering UMass in 2006 is Ryan Abdilla a 6-1, 185 pd WR/DB from Mainland Regional in Linwood NJ.

This year he had 32 rec, 536 yds, 12 TD, 16.7 yds/catch, 4.5 40.

Also recruited by Rutgers, Delaware and Hofstra.

Ryan, if you or your parents are googling your name, and end up here at the UMass Football Fanzone, we'd love to have you at UMass!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

UMass Football recruiting 2006 post #1

What does Ashley Judd topless have to do with college football recruiting, you might ask?

Good question! I went to Google Image Search to see if I could find some images to go with posts on the recruiting season. Up came Ms. Judd. Try it yourself. Go to Google Images and type in "Football Recruiting". On the first page beginning of the third row is Ms. Judd. I have no idea what she is doing among all those football players, but who are we to argue with the awesome algorithms of the hottest company in cyberspace.

The only website dedicated to I-AA recruiting is This site had been inactive for some time. Recently it has returned. If it stays up, it should be a good source of UMass recruiting news. Last year ShowingBlitz also kept track of I-A to I-AA transfers.

The UMass Football Fanzone does not expect as many I-A transfers as UMass had last year, but I think some activity is possible on the OL and DL.

Time will tell.


Just received an e-mail from the owner of stating that he intends to keep the site going.

An additional item of interest on this site is that he intends to publish a ranking of I-AA signings after the recruiting season is over. Last year, one source rated UMass as #2 in the I-AA universe for its 2005 recruits. Interesting to see how we will do this year.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thinking about 2006

There have been a couple of articles on UMass Football looking forward to 2006 to assess what UMass needs for personal.

The Springfield Republican has one here.

Matt Vautour of the Hampshire Gazette does his usual excellent job here (registration required, but worth it)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

2006 Schedule

The A10 Football League actually has 12 members. In order to leave some room for OOC (out-of-conference games) A10 members usually schedule nine conference opponents and three OOC games.

The general rule is that a team plays all the other teams in their division plus three teams from the other division.

In order to play all the teams in the A10 the three out-of-division game rotate every four years. 2006 is a rotation year for UMass.

In 2006 UMass will play Villanova, Towson and William & Mary instead of Delaware, JMU and Richmond.

That should be a help for UMass next year.
  • In 2005 Towson, W&M and Villanova were 8-16 in the A10 (33%) and 15-18 overall (45%)
  • In 2005 Delaware, JMU and Richmond were 15-9 (62%) in the A10 and 22-12 (64% * includes Richmond's playoff victory over Hampton)
Coach Brown has also said that there will be six home games next year. So the schedule looks like this for now:

This is an easier schedule on the face of it. However, the AIC game, which is Division II, does not count towards the seven DI wins necessary for eligibility for the playoffs. That means two of the 2006 games (Navy & AIC) do not count towards the playoffs(Note: Navy would count if we should win, which is unlikely). So effectively, UMass is playing a nine game schedule. To be guaranteed a home playoff game, we will have to win all the remaining games(i.e. go 9-0). To get an "at-large" game (unless we happen to win the A10 title) we need to go 7-2 against the rest of the games. That's not going to be easy folks!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Good things in 2005

Well, we didn't make the playoffs, but UMass Football had a lot of accomplishments in 2005. It shows the level of the UMass program when going 7-4 in the nation's toughest conference is a disappointment.

Time to reflect on what went right in 2005

  • Went 7-4 against what was arguably one of the toughest schedules in the country
  • Beat a playoff team (Richmond) on their own field
  • Beat both Maine and Delaware on the road (maybe for the first time)
  • Ranked #1 in I-AA in scoring defense
  • Ranked #3 in I-AA in total defense
  • Ranked #1 in the A10 in Scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and net punting
  • Ranked #1 in I-AA in net punting
  • Took a I-A team (Army right to the wire in their own stadium)
  • Two A10 Defensive Player-of-the-week awards (Smith Sept 4th, Jason Hatchell Sept 25th)
  • Three A10 Rookie-of-the-Week awards (Coen Oct 23rd, Oct 30th and Nov 6th)
  • Two A10 Special Teams Player-of-the-Week awards (Cuko Oct 16th, Byrd Nov 13th)
  • All of the A10 awards went to non-seniors!
  • 10 A10 All-League players (see previous blog entries)
  • Another 1000 yard season for Steve Baylark (he has a chance at four consecutive 1000 yard seasons---a feat accomplished only twice before in I-AA)
Throw in that great effort against I-A Army on national television and it was a pretty good season!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Six UMass defensive players named 2005 A10 All Conference

The A10 has announced six UMass defensive players have been named to the A10 2005 Football All-Conference teams.

First Team:
  • Keron Williams Sr. 6-1 254 Stats 25UT,31 AT, 56 TT, 4 sacks, 0 INT
  • Shannon James Sr. 5-10 196 Stats 30 UT, 25 AT, 55 TT, 0 sacks, 4 INT
  • Christian Koegel* (has his own article below)
Second Team:
  • Jason Hatchell So. 6-0 224 Stats 42 UT, 65 AT, 107 TT, 1.0 sacks, 0 INT
  • Serge Tikum Sr. 6-0 226 Stats 14 UT, 40 AT, 0.5 Sacks, 1 INT

Third Team:
  • James Ihedigbo Jr. 6-1 202 Stats 31 UT, 27 AT, 58 TT 7.5 Sacks, 2 INT
Special thanks to Seniors Keron Williams, Shannon James and Serge Tikum for spending their careers with us at UMass!

Here's hoping the Koegel, Hatchell and Ihedigbo have an even better season in 2006.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Four UMass Offensive Players named A10 All-Conference

The A10 has posted its 2005 Football All-Conference list. Four UMass players were named to the All-Conference Offense.

Named to the First Team were:
  • Steve Baylark Jr. 6-0 225 Stats 255 att., 1057 yds, 4.1 ave, 9 TD
  • Alex Miller Jr 6-2 300, # 62 in the image below, three year starter as center
Named to the Second Team:
  • Brent Caldwell Sr. 6-3 290, #67 in above Image. Senior transfer from Syracuse
Named to the Third Team:
Congratulations to all those players from the UMass fans. Thanks to Brent Caldwell for taking his senior season with us. Hope Baylark, Miller and London have another excellent year on 2006

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Christian Koegel A10 Special Teams Player-of-the-Year

UMass Junior Punter Christian Koegel has been named the A10's Special Team Player-of-The-Year. The UMass writeup is here (it incorporates the A10's article, so I won't post a separate link).

Koegel should be a strong candidate for All-American status.

Koegel had great stats (the NCAA punting stats page is here)

In 2005 Koegel had:

49 punts, 2108 yards, 43.0 ave, 60 longest, 2 TB, 18 I20, 0 Blkd

For his career Koegel has:

35 games played, 176 punts 7207 yards, ave 5 punts/game 40.95 ave/punt.

  • Koegel is currently 13th nationally in career punting yards (7201) and 4th among Juniors
  • Koegel is currently 8th nationally in career punting average (40.95) and 3rd among Juniors
  • Koegel was 2nd nationally in net punting average (38.35)
Here's hoping he has an even better Senior season.

I'll also be blogging about the 1o UMass players that made All-A10. Since Blogger records posts when written, those will be located up in this blog.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More 2005 Playoff stuff

The I-AA Championship bracket above is a rip-off from View the complete article here

There have been many rants about who will win the National Championship (including my first round picks. Scroll down), but I would like to ask the UMass Football Fanzone visitors who you would like to see win the Championship. Actual likelihood of that happening should not be considered.

My Choices from this year's 16 are:

  1. UNH. I live in the great Granite State. UNH is a hockey school that has more or less ignored football for years. The Wildcats winning the championship with one of the worst stadiums in I-AA (Crowell stadium is famous for having icicles inside the visitors dressing room) would be wonderful
  2. Hampton. Remember why the HBC's are historically black----racism and segregation. The black schools took what was given them and created a parallel football universe that is very cool. Go Pirates!
  3. Colgate. (I realize that this conflicts with #1 above) A small school in the middle of nowhere takes a bunch of kids who got 1300+ on their SATs and rises to shake the I-AA world. The Raiders have proved that they can compete. Now if only the Ivys would follow the Patriot League's lead.
  4. Richmond. Gotta go with A10 solidarity (I realize this conflicts with my #2 pick). If I could root for the Hens in 2003, then I guess I can cheer for any A10 team.
  5. Texas State. Just because it is their first trip the the playoffs...

Monday, November 21, 2005

2005 I-AA playoffs Round One

Sixteen teams will meet for the 2005 I-AA playoffs. They are:

First Round (Home teams listed first) :

GAME 1: (1) New Hampshire vs Colgate
GAME 2: Northern Iowa vs Eastern Washington

GAME 3: Montana vs Cal Poly
GAME 4: (4) Texas State vs Georgia Southern

GAME 5: (3) Hampton vs Richmond
GAME 6: Furman vs Nicholls State

GAME 7: Eastern Illinois vs Southern Illinois
GAME 8: (2) Appalachian State vs Lafayette

Mark Coulson of has the first of many playoff articles here

My picks in the First Round are:

  1. UNH over Colgate. The Wildcats just have too much firepower for the Raiders
  2. EWU over Northern Iowa. Eastern Washington has a great passing game.
  3. Montana over Cal Poly. Montana has been inconsistent, but has a great home field advantage.
  4. GSU over Texas State. GSU has far greater playoff experience
  5. Richmond over Hampton. Richmond plays the tougher schedule
  6. Furman over Nichols State. Furman is the better team and have the home field advantage
  7. Eastern Illinois over Southern Illinois. The Salukis have folded frequently in the first round.
  8. Appalachian State over Lafayette. The Leopards are outclassed in this game.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Drinkin' in the Crapsville Bar

For such a big game, the local media did not seem to spend much effort to cover the game. Only the Boston Globe has any quotes and personal coverage here. I could not find any game images

The Hampshire Gazette has an article here (registration required).

Update: The Springfield Republican has a game article here.

Update Monday 11/21: The Springfield Union has another article on the Hofstra game here

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hofstra dominates, knocks UMass out of playoffs

In their three previous losses this season, UMass could make the case that the game could have gone the other way. UMass had lost three games by a total of 16 points.

Not this game. The final score does not reflect how much Hofstra controlled the game. UMass was outplayed on all facets of the game.

The UMass write-up is here .

I'll be up with more game articles Sunday morning.

More UMass-Hofstra game articles

Today's Boston Globe has an article here .

The Springfield Union has one here.

The Hampshire Gazette has another here (registration required)

Remember the audio broadcast of the game is available here . This will be the first game of the season for me that I have not seen in person or was able to get internet video (Delaware).

Friday, November 18, 2005

UMass was missing some major cogs in it's player roster against Army. R.J. Cobbs had only one carry as he continued to be hampered by a groin pull. All-A10 Defense end Keron Williams aggravated a ankle injury and played only a little. Starting TE Mike Douglas DNP due to an ankle injury.

UMass expects all to be back and to be at near full Strength for the critical game with Hofstra. See Hampshire Gazette article by Matt Vautour (registration required, but worth it)

Army Redux

The image to the right is a scan of the Army game day program.

There is a gallery of UMass-Army game day images (taken by an Army fan) here . Not much game action, mostly game day atmosphere shots.

The UMass Athletic Dept site has a football action gallery.

Check out this image (taken from the home fan's perspective) of the UMass band. Notice the amount of Maroon in the visiting side stands :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More UMass-Hofstra stuff

The A10 does a weekly "Game Notes" section. It's here

Say what you want about the NCAA, but it does an awesome statistics page. This late in the season there are lots of stats to review. The Hofstra NCAA stats page is here . Warning! A real work productivity buster if you've got your own office or cubicle :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hofstra Game notes and Articles

UMass has its game notes (with link to PDF version) here.

The Springfield Union has game articles here and here.

The Hampshire Gazette's UMass sports page has some more (registration required, but worth it)

Matt Dougherty of the Sports Network does his usual thorough job on this weeks I-AA games (scroll down for his UMass-Hofsta review) here

No game notes from the Hofstra Athletic Dept as yet.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hofstra's Coach retires

Hofstra's Head Coach Joe Gardi announced this week that he will retire after 16 years as head coach of the Pride.

Just what UMass needs. The Hofstra players will be inspired to "Win-one-for-the-Gipper" in his last game.

UMass must win or be left out of the playoffs...

UMass LB Byrd named A10 Special teams player-of-the week

UMass true Freshman George Byrd has been named the A10's Special Teams Player-of-the-Week (click on "Awards" tab). He blocked an army punt with UMass recovering in the endzone for a TD.

The UMass write-up is here.

Byrd was ranked as the fourth highest LB by to sign with a I-AA team in 2005. He has played in all 10 games of this season on special teams.

Byrd has seven tackles and one tackle for loss.

At 6-1, 230 he is one of UMass' bigger LBs. UMass looses Senior LBs Brad Anderson, Serge Tikum, and L.A. Love to graduation this year. Byrd should compete for a starting role in 2006