Saturday, April 29, 2006

More on James and Cobbs NFL hopes

John Connelly of the Boston Herald has a nice article here about New England players hopes for the NFL draft. It's worth a read.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Former UMass LB Jeremy Cain plays in Europe

Former UMass LB Jeremy Cain has been allocated by the Chicago Bears to play in Europe. He is writing a weekly column on the Bears website. It's worth your time.

Cain was a four-year letter winner for UMass (2000-2003) and team captain his senior year. Cain was All-American and All A10 while at UMass. His UMass bio is here .He has been with the Bears organization since he signed a free agent contract in 2003.

Mrs. Blog and I attended the UMass-North Carolina State game in 2002. Cain was the best defensive player on the field.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

2006 Opponent Navy accepts Commander-in-Chief Trophy

The Navy football team visited the White House to accept the Commander-in-Chief Trophy for the third year in a row.

The U.S. Navy article is here. DOD has an article here. President Bush's remarks are here.

Navy won the trophy by defeating Army and Air Force . Navy also blew out Poinsettia Bowl opponent Colorado State and had over 600 yards of offense.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Changes in I-AA coming soon

Matt Dougherty of The Sports Network has a long article on the NCAA meeting scheduled for this Thursday. It's worth a read.

The NCAA committee has a lot on its plate. Likely are several changes to the I-AA division intended to make it a more attractive place.

The committee is considering:
  1. Changing the nomenclature of Div I football to two parts. The new titles will be "Bowl Division (the old I-A) and the "Championship Division" (the old I-AA)
  2. Enhancements to the Championship game (more money)
  3. Allow all Division I teams to play 12 games per season
My take:

All the enhancements seem to make sense. The big attraction of I-AA football is the fact that the national championship is won on the field. I believe that marketing the division as Championship football can only add interest and TV exposure.

I am also in favor of 12 games. The pros are older and fatter than college players and they play 16 games. Adding a sure 6th home game would increase UMass' revenue 16% in one shot.

Update 04/28/06: Without explanation, the NCAA did not pass the 12 games extension and delayed implementation of the division name changes. Looks like we're stuck in I-AA for a while yet...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

UMass Coaching tree expands

UMass Defensive Tackle (2002-2003) Malik Hall has joined former UMass Defensive Coordinator and current Fordham Head Coach, Tom Masalla at Fordham as an assistant coach. The Fordham article is here.

Hall is the 4th UMass guy coaching at Fordham. Also with the Rams are ex-UMass assistant coach Frank Forucci and recent UMass coach and player Matt Dawson.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blogger has been down for two days.

Faithful readers should be aware that Blogger has been down for the better part of two days.

No publishing has been possible. If you have been trying to leave comments or send me an e-mail, try again.

Note: Blogger will be down again today from 4:00 PDT to 4:45 PDT for more maintenance.

More on James and Cobbs and the NFL Draft

Chris Kennedy of the Springfield Republican writes on UMass seniors Shannon James and R.J. Cobbs in this article.

The NFL has a very good draft site here. It's worth a visit.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Another UConn transfer considers UMass

Former UConn player John Baranowsky 6-3, 290 DT will decide today between UMass and JMU.

The Daily News Article by Mike Barber is here .

Baranowsky was suspended from UConn on 11/08/2005.

Hope you choose the Minutemen, John!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

2006 Opponent Stoney Brook Moving UP

On 09/23/06 UMass and Stoney Brook will meet for the first time in football. This Blog thinks it won't be the last.

Stoney Book is leaving the restricted scholarship NEC league and has announced that it will play as an independent in 2007 and will work towards the full I-AA scholarship level of 63.

The Seawolves will play UMass and UNH in 2006 and move to a full national schedule in 2007 with Richmond, Youngstown State and Elon on deck.

Football is booming at Stoney Brook. They have an beautiful new stadium, which sells out.
Success has also followed new A10 member Towson, who beat Delaware with only 38 scholarships last year! 2006 will be the first year UMass will play Towson. Wonder how the Tigers will do when they hit 63 scholarships.

There is speculation that 2005 opponent Albany will follow Stoney Brook's and Towson's lead and go full scholarship.

Northeast football is certainly going through a growth spurt. With Stoney Brook already having better attendance than Hofstra, things might get interesting in the Northeast in a few years...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Shannon James & R.J. Cobbs and the NFL

This article by Matt Dougherty for The Sports Network discusses I-AA NFL prospects. Scroll all the way to the end for Defensive Backs. Shannon James and R.J. Cobbs are listed.

Remember to check Frank Cooney's NFL DraftScout site for more UMass-NFL info. I have a permanent link to Cooney's site on my "other site of interest" section.

R.J.Cobbs is listed as a Cornerback. Note that he volunteered to play out-of-position in order to help UMass.

Images of R.J. and Shannon will be added to this blog entry later (Blogger is not taking images just now)

Friday, April 14, 2006

2006 Umass Secondary------ Life after Shannon James

Perhaps the biggest change in the the 2006 Minutemen will be the loss of Shannon James and two other members of the defensive backfield. Along with James Starting corner and fifth-year senior Steve Costello. James' back-up at free safety Greg Scott also graduated. All three of those players were solid performers.

This article in the Springfield Republican by Jeff Thomas discusses the 2006 UMass secondary.

The article states that Senior Brandon Smith 27 GP 39 UT 17 AT 4 Sacks 4 INT should be the starter at free safety. Backing him will be highly rated Michael Meggett.

Costello's replacement will probably be junior Brandon Freeman 27 GP 46 UT 23 AT 1 Sack 2 INT. The third corner should be Sean Smalls, who is one of the best athletes on the team.

James Ihedigbo returns as the starting Strong Safety and will be backed up by Brian Ellis a converted linebacker. Ihedigbo is an All-A10 candidate and possibly an All-American.

Tracey Belton is back at one corner and will be backed up by senior Dominique Milton. Belton has been a fixture at CB for the Minutemen and Milton runs a 4.3 forty.

In the images Freeman is # 34 and Smith is #23.

All-American Shannon James will be a big loss, but the 2006 secondary looks like it has good talent and speed.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

2006 Recruit OL Kyle Lightner

Joining the Minutemen in 2006 will be Kyle Lightner a 6-2 290 pd OL from Gulf Coast H.S. in Naples FL. The MaxPreps Gulf Coast team page is here . A local paper bio of him is here . A bio is here .

  • played OG in H.S.
  • was named All-Region, All-District, Honorable mention All-County
  • three year starter
  • drew recruiting attention from Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and South Florida.
  • turned down a I-A scholarship offer from Florida International to attend UMass
Coach Brown showed some video of Lightner at the Spring Friends of Football meeting. Lightner was shown comming out of his guard position to pick up a outside blitz. He looked like a smart and mobile player.

His head coach at Gulf Coast was Frank Tudryn. Tudryn played for UMass in 1968. Tudryn went on the become Northampton High's Head Football Coach.

Tudryn's son, Jason Tudryn was a four year letter winner for UMass (92-95) playing safety for the Minutemen.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Football broadcast team wins AP Award

The UMass broadcast team of Bob Behler, Matt Goldstein(his 2004 players bio), Derek Voolner and Mike Marzelli has been honored for the second time as the best collegiate play-by-play team in MA and RI. The UMass press release is here .

Behler & Goldstein won previously in 2003. The Associated Press selected the UMass-Army game as the best broadcast in the category.

UMass fans are fortunate to have an excellent media relations dept at UMass. This blog would be impossible if UMass were run like some I-AA schools (see my blog about UNH star WR David Ball below--- his bio has not been updated since 2004).

Congrats to the UMass football broadcast team!

Monday, April 10, 2006

2006 recruit OL Kevin Macon

Joining UMass in the Fall of 2006 will be Kevin Macon an OL from Oliver H.S. in Pittsburgh PA.
Macon is listed variously in height as 6-5 to 6-7 and about 325 pds.
  • three year starter
  • Ranked #1 lineman in Pittsburgh and #7 in PA
  • Named to Western PA Fabulous 22
  • runs a 5.2 40
  • drew recruiting interest from Akron, Cincinnati, Penn State, Pitt (did a recruiting visit there), West Virginia and N.C. State
I saw video of Macon at the Spring Friends of Football meeting (another good reason to belong to Friends of Football, in my opinion). He looked mobile and a dominating blocker. This article mentions him .Coach Brown stated that Macon was coming off an injury and that's why we were able to recruit him.

Welcome to UMass Kevin! The UMass Faithful believe in you.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

UMass Opens Spring Practice Today

UMass opens practice for the 2006 Football Season today! The weather in Amherst will be in the high 40's with rain showers.

Possibly the biggest question on the 2006 football team is who will back up starting QB Liam Coen
  • Coen went 274-175 with 7 Int
  • 2175 yards in 2005 was 6th best in UMass history
  • 63.9 % completion ratio was 1st in UMass history (surpassing Todd Bankhead's 63.5% in 1999)
  • Passing efficiency of 137.0 was 3rd best in UMass history
  • 217 ave/game was 6th best in UMass history
Looking to be the #2 QB will be Taylor Humphrey . Humphrey appeared in one game in 2005 against Delaware.

Humphrey has a stellar prep school career. He was hampered last spring by a shoulder injury.

Joining the mix is lefty QB Scott Woodward from Mahar Regional in Orange, MA. Woodward was 1st team All-State and threw for over 4,000 yards and 46 TDs in high school.

Hopefully at least on of the two will step up and give UMass some depth at quarterback.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Spring Friends of Football meeting, Stadium Renovations and Football News

There were Big Doin's at the UMass Friends of Football Spring meeting last night. The Friends sponsored a well attended gathering at the UMass Club at the State Street Bank Building in Boston.

The Friends of Football are rapidly becoming the premier athletics booster organization at UMass. Formed three years ago by former UMass Coach Mark Whipple, the Friends seek to support UMass Football and the athletic dept.

All UMass football fans should be a member. They have had a major impact on UMass Football (just see the news later in this blog).

Stadium Renovations:

UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon confirmed that UMass has sent out bids for the installation of Field Turf at McGuirk Stadium!! This is the first major renovation at McGuirk since it was built in 1965 . The Gladchuck Practice Facility will also receive field turf. This will be a big boost to the football program. No more commuting between three or four venues to try to find a suitable field for practice.

Brown stated that our motto was "“Play Fast". Field Turf will really help our football team do that!

Installation is scheduled to begin the day after Commencement and be ready for the opening home game with Colgate.

Lights: McCutcheon said that funding for permanent lights was not complete at this time. However, UMass is still working on raising funds and lights might still be part of the 2006 renovations. He said if they were not installed in 2006, the lights were still a priority item and would definitely be installed at a later date.

Football news:

Coach Brown gave a talk on the 2006 recruits. UMass has added two new recruits. Offensive line men Kyle Lightner 6-2 290 and Kevin Macon 6-6 325 will be joining the Minutemen in September. I'’ll be blogging about each recruit separately later. See this link for the UMass article.

Brown stated that there are more recruits in the works. Possibilities are a fullback and quarterback. NCAA regulations prohibit any details until all the paperwork is completed.

Brown stated that winter conditioning went well. See this article from the Springfield Republican that covers some of the topics he talked about.

Other Football News:

Brown confirmed that the UMass Spring Game will be on May 6th. The UMass Football banquet will be Friday evening May 5th. UMass Friends of Football will have a meeting at 9:00 am on the 6th.

Monday, April 03, 2006

UNH's David Ball and UMass

The Sports Network has an interesting interview with UNH's All-American WR David Ball. It's here .

Ball was a little known WR from Orange,VT in high school. He attended Worcester Academy to try to drum up some college interest.

Didn't work. Only UNH and ------- you guessed it, UMass offered him a scholarship. We wanted him to attend spring practice at UMass. He wanted to finish the year at Worcester. On such things college recruiting turns.

His official UNH bio is here (note that it has not been updated since 2004. Ball is only like the top receiver ever to play for the Wildcats. You would think they could do a little better.) Kudos to Jason Yellin at UMass for such a great UMass website.