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

Monday, November 14, 2005

UMass-Army game images

The following images are of the UMass-Army game on 11/12/05. Scroll down.

Click on any image for a better view.

It was a wonderful experence to see the game at Army. Michie Stadium has a wonderful atmosphere.

We had a good turnout of UMass fans and the UMass Marching band knocked the Army fans over.

Wish we could play Army more than just once every 30 years!


Michie Stadium

Beautiful day!

UMass defense runs pre-game drills

George Parks and the UMass Band wowed the Army Crowd

Sam listens to Army Band

Cadets assemble

UMass feels the spirit

Captains meet

Opening kickoff

First Series

UMass defense waits for the snap

Lots of UMass fans made the trip

More UMass Fans

Corps of Cadets watches the game

Fans are REAL close in Michie Stadium

Coen looks down field

Lots of UMass spirit

R.J.Cobbs runs

UMass leads late in 3rd quarter

Army kicks off late in the game

Army Runs

Cadets storm the Field

View of Hudson from Army Campus

Army game articles are up

The UMass-Army game was a great experience. I'll have a lot more to say over the next couple of days.

The Springfield Republican has an article here.

So does the Boston Globe here

The Hampshire Gazette weighs in here. The UMass Athletic Dept write-up (with links to quotes and image gallery) is here.

On the Army side, there are articles here and here. The Army Athletic dept has their article (with links to quotes and game summary).

Image above is a UMass Athletic Dept image by Thom Kendell.