Monday, May 15, 2006

UMass Football Blog on Vacation until 06/02

The UMass Football Blog will be on vacation until 06/02/06.

As you read this, Mrs. Blog and I will be flying to Las Vegas. Then make our way to Utah to visit some of the National Parks.

We will be finishing up our vacation visiting relatives in Oregon.

I will be back blogging as soon as I recover from vacation :)

There will be lots to blog about. UMass has added a recruit I’ve not talked about. There is a rumor that UMass is in the running for a I-A transfer that will be an instant starter and lots of other UMass Football news.

See you in two and a half weeks. In the meantime, there are over 500 past posts and more than 1000 links in the blog achieves for you to re-explore...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Matt Dougherty looks at the 2006 I-AA schedule

Matt Dougherty of The Sports Network has an interesting article on the various strengths and weaknesss of I-AA schedules. It's here .

UMass is mentioned twice. Our Arch-foe Delaware is awarded the prize for the "weakest non-conference schedule"

If you want to do some figuring yourself, the A10 composite schedule is here. For example, JMU plays Bloomsburg, Appalachian State and VMI as its OOC. If the Dukes loose to last year's National Champions Appalachian State, and a win over Bloomsburg as a Div II win does not count towards playoff eligibility, then JMU needs to go 7-2 in the A10 just to get an at large bid....

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Someone You Should Know---Photographer Karen Winger

The internet is a wonderful thing. I was Googling on UMass Football images and several layers deep in the Google page rank was the site of Photographer Karen Winger.

Her images have been used extensively on the UMass Sports site.

She has a vast portfolio of UMass Sports images including some amazin' UMass Football shots as well as the UMass Marching Band. Worth a look.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Construction Boom Hits I-AA Football

As UMass fans know, installation of Field Turf surface for McGuirk Stadium will start on May 29th. UMass will add permanent lights in 2007.

Actually, UMass is on the low end of football enhancements going on in A10 and the northeast, but I'm happy we're making progress.

James Madison is adding field turf to their stadium.
  • An article on field turf installation is here
  • A webcam to watch the installation is here . (use "demo" in the username in the popup. No password required.
Rhode Island is adding a $2,000,000 extension to Meade Stadium.
  • An article on the construction is here .
  • Images galleries of the construction are here and here.
William & Mary is adding an $11,000,000 rebuild to their football program.
  • A story on the construction of the new 30,000 sq-foot football offices and locker room and field turf is here .
  • A construction gallery is here .
Non-Scholarship Lafayette of the Patriot League is investing $23,000,000 in a totally new football stadium.
  • An article on the construction is here .
  • A live Webcam is here .

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Minuteman Legend Steve Schubert Honored

Former UMass All-American Steve Schubert has been honored by the Joe Yukica Foundation as a Distinguished American.

Read my 09/01/05 Blog on Schubert first.

The articles on his award are here and here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Shannon James & L.A.Love win UMass awards

UMass Senior's Shannon James and L.A. Love have won awards from UMass. James was named one of the top three UMass athletes during a ceremony this Monday.

L.A. Love was named UMass' Most Inspirational Athlete. He was hampered by a knee injury and played only a little in his senior season.

The UMass article is worth a read. I've heard L.A. Love speak and "Inspirational" is the word for him.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

UMass Game Jerseys

Well, purchasing the game jersey was an adventure. When we arrived at the game no knew how to purchase the jerseys or had even heard about the sale.

Eventually we grabbed Mike Hodges who told us to go into the UMass Field House and ask UMass equipment manager Paul Bys. Paul hauls out a huge sack and says "Pick any you want. They're $50/each' He sold six right there.

According to the UMass Press Release, the remaining jerseys (maroon or road white) will be available on May 15th at Currey Hicks Cage.

Get one if you can. The jerseys are real football jerseys by Nike.

Mine is in excellent condition. There is a small rip on one shoulder. The "A10' logo patch is soiled. Any other imperfections are invisible from farther away than 12 inches.

Mine even fits! I've been wearing it around the house pretending I'm a QB and calling signals. Mrs. Blog sez that "Men are goofy".

Hey! Age is inevitable----maturity is optional.

Get one if you can. The jerseys are "collectible" because they have the soon to be history A10 Football patch.

But better than that---they are totally cool. You will be the envy of all the other kids UMass fans!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Report on Spring Game

The official UMass report is here . The Springfield Republican has a short article here . Matt Vautour will probably have an article later in the day. I'll post an update.

Update 1:44pm. Matty Vautour at the Hampshire Gazette (subscription required, but worth it) has his take here in an article about the scrimmage. One interesting bit of information is that UMass will be wearing Maroon Jerseys and White pants for home games and White Jerseys with Maroon pants for away games (same color combination as the National Championship year). I grew to like the all white road uni's but never warmed up to the all Maroon home outfits.

My take:

First, there has been some comment on the various message boards about the completion ratio of the passing game. In this scrimmage/exhibition, the main objective was to not get anyone injured. The UMass defense has a lot more than it showed.

Coach Brown said he only has seven Offensive Linemen and he definitely did not want any injuries from that group. Seven more OL recruits will join the UMass team in August.

The DNP list (unofficial and probably not complete):
The best think UMass fans can take from the day was the play of the UMass wide receivers. J.J. Moore (broken foot) and Brandon London (broken bone in hand) seem totally recovered. Both them and Rasheed Rancher made acrobatic catches---causing the Minutemen fans in attendance to cheer. Those three wideouts are going to cause problems for a lot of teams this year.

Matt Lawrence seems totally recovered and Steve Baylark seemed a step faster than last year. UMass should be able to run a "thunder and lighting" ground attack in '06

On Defense, highly rated Sean Smalls was working as db in the first team defense. He was played out-of-position last year because of injuries to the WR corps.

UMass looks really deep at LB. Brown should have multiple packages to torment opposing offensives.

I nominate UMass Captain James Ihedigbo as the guy I'd most like to have on my side in a bar fight. He has a set of NFL muscles...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Images from the 2006 UMass Spring Game

Below are 20 images from the 2006 UMass Spring Game.

Right Click on any image for a larger View.

Note that Blogger may not display all 20 images. If not, click on the "Past Blogs by month-May 2006" to load them all.

I'll be doing a writeup on the game tomorrow.

End of Spring Drills 2006

Matt Silver and John Hatchell DNP

Last look at McGuirk's grass

2006 Captains Baylark-Ihedigbo-Miller

Kick Off 2006 Spring Game

Baylark leads the way for J.J. Moore

New UMass LB Tony Rouzier wears #52

UMass Defense

First Team Offense Vs First Team Defense

Coen was 9 for 9

UMass kicking Duo Koegel & Cuko

JUCO WR Mike Omar wears #15

Baylark Runs

Baylark Breaks Through

Scott Woodward went 3-3

New UMass TE Rob Getek wears #87

Red Shirt RB Tony Nelson

Good turnout of Fans

Starting LB's for 2006 Anderson-Walker-Hatchell

Coen looked Cool

Friday, May 05, 2006

Matt Dougherty on I-AA changes

On 4/26/06 I blogged on the possibility of various changes in I-AA.

The biggest difference would have been a change in the nomenclature for the various divisions. I-AA would have become the "Championship Division" for example.

That did not pass. Read Matt's take on the ins and outs here .

IMHO, this is just more evidence, as if we needed any, that College Football is run by and for the BCS schools...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

UMass Football Banquet Friday May5,2006

UMass will hold its annual Football Banquet tomorrow. There will be a Guest Arrival/Social Hour starting at 5:30 pm. Buffet dinner is at 6:30 pm.

If any UMass fan has not attended the annual banquet, it's a great time. The food is excellent and the ticket price helps pay for the players meal.

The coaches give out awards for "most improved player" and the like. Coach Brown will thank his staff and the parents of the players. Various players will give a short speech.

The banquet is fun and has a family feel. Every UMass fan should try to attend.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spring Game Saturday at Noon !

UMass finishes its Spring Football with a scrimmage/scripted play game this Saturday.

I called the Football Office and was told that the game would start at 12:00 Noon.

Weather for Saturday is warm (70 degrees) with 40% chance of showers. The UMass Football Blog will be there (Allah willing).

I hope to publish images of the game by Sunday or so. Out-of-towners who would like see some of the action should stop by the Blog.

Update:5:32 PM. The official UMass notice on the Spring Game is here .

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Keron Williams invited to Tampa Bay Mini-Camp

UMass DE 6-1 254 Keron Williams has been invited to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mini-Camp. See this article from the UMass website.

Williams was one UMass' top defenders and did not get the ink he deserved. During his career his stats were 43/20 GP 87 UT 53 AT 137 TT 12-81 SACKS 33 TFL.

In 2005 he was:
  • First Team All-A10
  • All-New England by New England Sports Writers
Good luck Keron! The UMass defense will miss you.

Monday, May 01, 2006

James signs with Ravens and Cobbs with Vikings

The UMass football site has details of UMass' Safety Shannon James signing a free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

UMass WR /CB R.J. Cobbs signed a free agent contract with the Vikings. Cobbs was one for four I-AA players signed by the Vikings

Good luck to both Shannon and R.J. All UMass fans will be cheering for you to make the team.

Update: 12:39 pm Monday. Chris Kennedy of the Springfield Republican has an article with quotes from Cobbs and James here .

Update II: 12:49 pm Monday. Matt Dougherty of Sporting News has detailed coverage of I-AA players who were drafted over the weekend. Kevin McMahan WR from Maine was the last player chosen in the draft.

UMass Coaching Tree Expands-- Part IV

I've blogged in the past about UMass legend Jimmie Reid being appointed head coach at VMI.

Recently, Reid added two names that will be familiar to the UMass faithful. Already on the VMI staff was former UMass assistant coach Chris Malone who had left UMass in 2004 when the coaching staff changed due to Whipple leaving.

Reid announced that Ken Conaster has been added to the Kaydets staff. Conaster coached as an assistant UMass from 1971-1972 and then again from 1977-1979 under UMass legend Dick Macpherson.

In the images, Conaster is the top image and Malone is the lower.