Thursday, June 29, 2006

2006 Recruit DE Rob McLaughlin

No, the above image is of Rob McLaughlin's father, Joe McLaughlin sacking Dartmouth's QB Tom Randolph on 09/04/1976. Joe went on to be a UMass Captain and lead UMass to the its first trip to the I-AA Championship in 1978. He also earned a Superbowl ring with the NY Giants playing for Bill Parcells .

Rob McLaughlin is a 6-2 235 pd DE from Nauset Regional H.S. He prepped one year at The Hampton School in NH, where he was a teammate of UMass Recruit Sloan Russett.

Welcome to UMass Rob! Hope you have a great career with the UMass Defense.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

2006 Recruit OLB/DB Sam Besong

Joining the Minutemen's 2006 recruiting class is Sam Besong a 6'0" 210 pd Outside Linebacker/Safety from Brockton H.S.

The image to the left is from the Berkshire School. Besong is #23.

In 2005 Besong was a Rivals two star player and was recruited by Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse and Virginia. His 2005 Boston Globe All-Scholastic bio is here .

He ended up having a year at the Berkshire School were he led the Prep league with 80 tackles. The Berkshire School's press release about him signing with UMass is here.

One interesting side article is this Rivals 2005 list of the Top Ten players in MA. Note that UMass has signed two of the top ten.

Coach Brown and staff seem to be doing an outstanding job with recruiting!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Miller, Koegel named in top of I-AA for 2006

Matt Dougherty of The Sports Network has finished his take on I-AA position profiles for 2006.

Named as the #2 Center in I-AA for 2006 was Alex Miller. He was named All-A10 First Team, College Sporting News I-AA All Star 2nd team and Don Hansen's Gazette All Northeast 2nd team in 2005.

Named the #2 punter in I-AA was Christian Koegel . Koegel was named 1st team All I-AA by Lindy's. His post-2005 honors are too numerous to list here. Check his UMass Bio.

Have to disagree with Koegel's ranking. Dougherty ranks him behind David Simonhoff of Southeast Missouri State, seemingly on the strength of Simonhoff's 2004 performance ??!!

In 2005 Koegel was #1 in the nation in Net Punting and #3 in punting average.

In 2005 Simonhoff was #96 in the nation in Net Punting and #5 in punting average. You make the call...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Two Senior I-AA writers take a look at the East

Since the news that the Colonial Athletic Association will assume control of A10 Football in 2007, there has been an intense amount of gassing on the various football message boards that the CAA will eventually break up into two separate leagues.

Dave Coulson, Senior Columnist for I-AA .org and Matt Dougherty of discuss the state of the I-AA East here .

My take is that the CAA will be stable for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

UMass Legend Clarence Brooks coaches for the Ravens

UMass legend Clarence Brooks is coaching for the Baltimore Ravens.

Check out his 30-year coaching history here . Impressive!

Brooks lettered for UMass in 70,71 and 72. He was a UMass captain in 1972.

He was First-Team All Yankee Conference in 1972 and was also All-East.

Friday, June 23, 2006

OOC Scheduling Part III

In posts of 06/17 and 06/18 we discussed OOC (out-of-conference) scheduling. I noted that Maine was at a disadvantage because they were only were playing 10 games this year.

Well, Maine has added a 11th game. They are playing Shaw University (DII) on 09/23/06.

This adds more revenue on season tickets, but does nothing for making the playoffs. When I-A teams such as Navy play I-AA teams such as UMass, a Navy win counts towards Bowl eligibility.

The reverse is not true. When I-AA teams play DII teams the win does not count towards the playoffs (the minimum number of I-AA wins is seven).

The desirability of OOC schedules are as follows:
  1. Three beatable I-AA teams (such as Townson playing Morgan State, Elon and Liberty). Towson needs only four wins in the A10 to be playoff eligible.
  2. Two beatable I-AA team and big money game against a I-A team (such as William & Mary playing Maryland, VMI and Liberty). Two sure wins and $$$ for the athletic budget.
  3. One beatable I-AA team, one good I-A team and a money I-A game. (such as UMass' playing Stony Brook, Colgate and Navy). Good for the fans to see a playoff caliber I-AA team, but UMass will see plenty of potential playoff teams in the A10*
  4. Multiple DII teams, two I-A teams or multiple playoff caliber I-AA teams (see last year's Northeastern schedule)
*Contrast UMass' schedule with I-AA power Georgia Southern. The eagles play a two game schedule of Applachian State (12-3) and Furman (11-3). The Eagles outclass the rest of their schedule. Georgia Southern should go 9-2 and are a lock to get a home playoff game unless their recent coaching change messes them up. The road to the playoffs in the A10 is much tougher.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Doug Clark hits the Majors

Doug Clark was called the Majors by the Oakland A's yesterday. See the CSTV article on the three former Minutemen now playing in the Majors.

His Oakland A's bio page is here .

Clark played two sports during his time at UMass. Besides baseball, he was a premier WR for the UMass Football Team. He won letters in football in 95,96 and 97.

He tied for the team lead in receptions in '96 with 20 rec 279 yards 3TDs. He also led the team in '97 with 33 rec 433 yards 1 TD. He remains #9 all time at UMass with a 16.0 yards/catch average.

He's #7 in single season yards/catch with a 19.0 average in 1996.

The image to the right is a scan from the 1997 UMass Football press guide.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

UMass History. Game Program from UMass-Toledo 09/11/1976

The following images are scans from my 09/11/1976 UMass-Toledo Game program. I was there.

UMass won 28-14. I do not have a box score as my UMass press guides only go back to 1980.

Right Click on the image for a larger view. If the roster is not readable (blogger limits the size of the enlargement), right click on the image and select "save image as" and move the image to your hard drive. Then right click on the image file and select "Open with" and then "Microsoft image viewer", which has a enlargement button. PhotoShop will also work, of course...

Game Program 09/11/1976 Front Page

Game Program 09/11/1976 UMass 1976 Team photo

UMass 1976 Football Roster

Game Program 09/11/1976 UMass Coaching Staff

From left to right: Jimmie Reid, Bob Pickett, Clarence Brooks, Billy Maxwell, Tom Mullen and Head Coach Dick MacPherson

Game Program 09/11/1976 UMass Captains

UMass 1976 Captains Brian McNally and John Toner.

Game Program 09/11/1976 UMass-Dartmouth Scrimmage

All-America UMass Guard Bruce Kimball blocks for John Romboli

Game Program 09/11/1976 UMass-Dartmouth Scrimmage

Game Program 09/11/1976 UMass-Dartmouth Scrimmage

The Scanning software decided to do two images on one scan here.

Game program 09/11/1976 UMass-Dartmouth Scrimmage photos

Ron Harris (#42) returns a punt 27 yards.

Game Program 09/11/1976 Back page

The 1976 price for a Chevette was $3,098------and 40 miles/gallon!

Monday, June 19, 2006

UMass and Wikipedia

Well, my expensive Epson scanner is still on the fritz. I had been intending to publish some historical material.While I install and re-install for the "nth" time, check out UMass Football's entry on Wikipedia.

In my spare time I'll have to do some work on UMass' article, but McGurik Stadium has a decent start.

Of course, if someone else wants to get started on the UMass Wikipedia entry I won't complain. Do I have to do everything? :)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A10 South OOC schedule strength

Yesterday we looked at the OOC (out-of conference) strength-of-schedule for the A10 North. Gaming the OOC is crucial to a team's chances for a playoff birth. Schedule too strong an OOC (a la Northeastern) and a season can be doomed before it's started. Schedule too weak an OOC, with two DII teams, for instance, and the necessary 7 I-AA wins may not be achievable.

In the opinion of the the UMass Football Blog, the A10 South plays a significantly weaker OOC than their northern brothers. Matt Dougherty awarded two A10 teams with his "softest schedule" designation in his article discussing OOC strength. Part of that stems from everybody in the A10 South playing Elon 3-8, Liberty 1-10 and VMI 3-8.

My take in order of OOC difficulty:
  1. Villanova-- Central Florida, Lehigh,@Penn. A I-A team, a Patriot League Champion contender and rival Penn constitute the toughest OOC schedule in the A10 South. Prediction 0-3
  2. William & Mary--@Maryland, VMI, @Liberty. Well, Maryland is better than Central Florida, but the Tribe has two sure wins in the other games. Prediction 2-1
  3. James Madison--@Appalachian State, Bloomburg (DII), @VMI. Another A10 South team that traditionally plays a soft OOC. This year they do have a good game with National Champion Appy State, but Bloomburg and VMI are sure wins. Prediction 3-0.
  4. Richmond-- @ Duke, VMI, Bucknell. The Spiders play I-A Duke (1-10), VMI (3-8) and Bucknell (1-10). That speaks for itself. Prediction 2-1 and the Spiders scare the hell out of Duke.
  5. Delaware--West Chester (DII), Albany, Hofstra. Matt Dougherty awarded the Hens the "softest schedule in I-AA" award in his article, but I bumped them to #2 on the fact that Hofstra (7-4) last year should be a competitive game. Still, all three games are at home. Prediction 3-0
  6. Towson--Morgan State (2-9), @Elon, Liberty. The Tigers have not lost an OOC game in two years. Towson makes it 9-0 in OOC games with this schedule...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A look at the A10 North OOC

As all good UMass fans know, a team's OOC (out-of-conference schedule) is crucial to the goal of making the playoffs. The big attraction of I-AA football is the playoffs where a National Championship is decided on the field.

To that end, OOC scheduling is a chess game. Playing in the deep A10 means over scheduling the OOC leads to doom for the playoffs.

Here is my take on the A10 North (in order of difficulty).
  1. Maine-- @Youngstown State, @ Boston College. Maine only plays 10 games this year. With likely losses to its two OOC games, Maine needs go 7-1 in the A10 (7 I-AA wins is the minimum number to be considered eligible for the playoffs). The Black Bears need to go 8-0 to get a home game. This is going to be tough to do. Prediction 0-2 and no playoff bid for the Black Bears in 2006...
  2. Northeastern--@Virginia Tech, @Holy Cross, @North Dakota State. Not as suicidal as last years OOC, but tough enough. The Crusaders are no longer a patsy. The Huskies could go 1-2 and 0-3 is not out of the question.
  3. UMass--Stony Brook, Colgate, @Navy. Colgate was a I-AA playoff team last year and has given UMass fits. Navy crushed Colorado State in a bowl game last year. UMass needs to beat to Raiders to jump start its season. 2-1 is possible, which means UMass would only have to go 6-2 in the A10 to get a playoff bid. Prediction 2-1.
  4. Hofstra--@Stoney Brook, @ Marshall,@Delaware. The Thundering Herd are not the team UMass played when the Heard was ranked in the top 15. Winning at Delaware is tough but doable. Hofstra could come out with a 2-1 record.
  5. URI--@UConn, Merrimack, Brown. Brown has been contending for the Ivy Championship the last couple of years. Still, UConn and Brown are beatable. The Rams should crush DII Merrimack. Prediction 2-1
  6. UNH-- @Northwestern, Stony Brook, @Dartmouth. The Wildcats probably have the best offense in I-AA. They should crush Stony Brook and Dartmouth. They have a chance at Big 10 Northwestern if the Wildcats take them lightly. Prediction 3-0 (with UNH getting the uset over the Big 10 team)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Sports Network picks UMass' Receiver Corps 5th in I-AA

Matt Dougherty in his latest article at The Sports Network has picked UMass wide receivers 5th out of the 100+ teams in I-AA.

Senior Brandon London 6-4 210 leads the group with 60 catches for 774 yards and 70.4 yards/game.

J.J. Moore 6-0 201 had 27 catches for 337 yards in only 5 games. If he had not been injured, he was on course for about 60 catches and 750 yards.

Rasheed Rancher 6-5 187 had 26 catches for 425 yards and a sterling 16.3 yards/catch.

This Blog feels that the UMass receivers will be even better than 5th nationally with the addition of UConn transfer TE Rob Getek at 6-6 250 he is a load. The UMass Football Blog has high hopes that he will be the best receiving TE at UMass since Kerry Taylor was second in team receptions in 1998 (the National Championship year).

In 2005 UMass was 5th in the A10 in passing offense and 8th in total offense. The Blog thinks that's going to improve in 2006!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

2006 Recruit DB DeMarcus Robinson

Appearing on the UMass 2006 commitment list with no announcement that I could find, is 5-10 170 pd DB DeMarcus Robinson of Sunrise Fl.

Robinson had previously committed to Rutgers, but has switched to UMass.

He is a strong addition to UMass football:
  • Was a Rivals two-Star recruit
  • Also recruited by Kansas, Kansas State and UCF
  • Ran a blistering 4.3 forty in the Nike Combine
  • Played in two All-Star games
  • 2nd Team all County in the talent rich South Florida
  • 54 tackles in 8 games, 9 pass breakups, 1 INT, 3 TFL
  • 3 TDs on returns.
Welcome to UMass DeMarcus!

Monday, June 12, 2006

New Field Turf Construction Images 06/09/06

These images were taken at 3:00 pm on Friday 06/09/06. Apparently, the construction crew had called it a week.

Right Click on any image for a larger view.

Things seem to be progressing. New England had been getting heavy rain for a week prior to these images (sound familiar?). Note that the water table was about 12 inches below the surface of the field. No wonder the field turned to mush when it rained.

I'll try to have more coverage of the installation later in the summer.

There is a UMass article and more images here .

View from the UMass Team Gate I

View from the UMass Team Gate II

View from the UMass Team Gate III

Something McGuirk has never had before--------Drainage!

Note that the water table is not far down

View from the Visiting Side

Home Side Drainage

Construction Equipment

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Four UMass Football games to be televised

In another sign of UMass Football's growing national prestige, four UMass Football games will be televised in 2006

The UMass press release is here .

Update Sunday: The official CSTV press release is here .

There will be two national broadcasts on CSTV.

  1. UMass @ Navy on 09/09
  2. UMass @ New Hampshire on 11/04
There will be two regional broadcasts on CN8.
  1. UMass @ Villanova 09/16
  2. UMass @ Northeastern 10/28
And maybe more TV games coming!

Friday, June 09, 2006

A10 returning starters in 2006

One of the traditional measures to predict the success of a football team is the number of returning starters.

The A10 returns a surprising number of starters from 2005. No team was really gutted by graduation this year.

The following table shows how the respective teams finished in 2005. The number following shows the number of returning starters.

  • New Hampshire (11)
  • UMass (15*)
  • Hofstra(14*)
  • Maine (12)
  • Northeastern (13)
  • Rhode Island (13)
* Total includes for UMass former starter Charles Walker who previously started and was out on a medical redshirt last year. For Hofstra, total includes All-America LB Gian Villante, who was out with a medical redshirt last year.

  • Richmond (16)
  • James Madison (13)
  • Delaware (14)
  • Towson (17)
  • William & Mary (13)
  • Villanova (16)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

UMass Game Jerseys Part II

Regular readers will forgive a second post on UMass Game Jerseys. The UMass Yard sale was a success raising over $17,000 for the UMass Athletic Scholarship Fund.

The Athletic Dept is considering a second run in the fall. UMass football fans might want to E-mail Jaime Seguin to ask her to hold the second sale and perhaps provide some mechanism for non-Amherst area fans to purchase Football Game Jerseys.
  1. These are real UMass Football Jerseys
  2. These jerseys should be primo "collectables" after the CAA takes over from the A10 as the football league (all the jerseys have the A10 logo on the left shoulder)
  3. The jerseys are wearable. I have Jeff Krohn's #7. See my previous post. Jeff was 6-3 213. I'm 5-9 180. Even Mrs. Blog-----who usually casts a jaundiced eye on anything I wear---- said " That doesn't fit you bad". Most adult males should be able to wear the lower numbered jerseys.
  4. They are really, really cool.
If you really love UMass Football, the jerseys are worth the effort to try to get one.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Does UMass have a new QB recruit?

The Connecticut Post reports that David Chevansky a 6-1 195 PD QB from St. Joseph High in CT signed with UMass.

However, he is also listed as a QB recruit for Wagner College.

In the image, he is first on the left on the second row ---- next to UMass OL recruit Valdimir Ducasse 6-4 305 (#77 in image)

Guess we'll have to wait and see what UMass announces...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Matt Dougherty picks Baylark as one of I-AA's top backs

Well, we knew that already, didn't we. Matt Dougherty discusses the state of I-AA running backs here .

UMass' Steve Baylark is listed as #12 in I-AA.

Baylark has a number of statistical goals in sight for 2006. Not the least of which is if he has a 1,000 yard season, he will join Jerry Azumah and Adrian Peterson as the only backs in I-AA history to have four 1,000 yard seasons.

This blog believes that the loss of both starting UMass OTs in pre-season last year negatively affected Baylark's production last year. We lost UMass Captain Colin Stoetzel and O.J. McBride for the whole year. Those guys would have helped...

In addition, the Blog feels that Baylark was nicked up also.

He looked a step faster during the Spring Game. Here's hoping that he can lead the A10 in rushing -------- and lead UMass into the playoffs in 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

UMass Football Blog One Year old today

One year ago on May 5, 2005 I posted my first entry on my UMass football Blog.

I started the blog because I loved UMass Football and there never seemed to be much press coverage of the program. I had over thirty years of UMass game programs and press guides. It seemed as if I could find enough material to have a fairly active blog. Figured I'd continue until I ran out of material or it wasn't fun anymore.

Well, that was 526 posts (counting today) ago. According to Sitemeter, the UMass Football fanzone has recorded:
  • over 10,000 hits
  • over 23,000 page views.
Technorati tracks over 19,400,000 blogs. The UMass Football Blog is ranked #1,040,549 (top 10% give or take a little). According to their stats, 45% of all blogs fold in three months and only 11% are updated weekly or more.

The UMass Football Blog is still one of only 10 or less blogs covering a I-AA football team. It might be one of 5 or less. There is no Delaware Blog. There is no Montana Blog. I find this fairly surprising...

Still having fun covering UMass football. Looks like the UMass Football Blog will be active for a 2nd year. I have tons of UMass historical material I havn't had time to publish yet. Still getting a kick out of blogging.

Go UMass! And thanks dear readers for visiting my blog.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Matt Dougherty names Liam Coen "Star in the Making"

Matt Dougherty in his recent Sports Network news column named UMass sophomore-to-be QB Liam Coen as a "Star in the making".

Coen had a stellar freshman season. Consider just a few of his stats:
  • Three consecutive weeks named A10 Rookie-of-the-week
  • achieved a pass efficiency rating of 137.48 (best ever by a UMass Freshman QB)
This blog is, of course, a homer but believes that a case can be made for Coen to have been chosen A10 Rookie-of-the-Year over Rhode Island's Joe Casey, who won the award.

Casey had an excellent season, but the featured back in a spread option offense, will ring up impressive numbers by reason of the system...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

UMass ranked #14 by AGS Poll

While I was away, AGS released the first of their season polls. The important fact to remember about the AGS poll is that it is conducted by I-AA enthusiasts and tends to be considerably more accurate than the magazine polls.

The home article by Any Given Saturday is here. The UMass press release about the poll is here.

This article by the Bloomfield Journal (CT) gives UMass the lead focus and also mentions UMass players Darnel Delaire and Matt Lawrence.

IMHO, UMass is under rated. I'll blogging more on this later...

Friday, June 02, 2006

UMass Football Blog open for business

Well, we're back. Burned 3,000 miles in the rental car in 2.5 weeks. Survived our 20-hour return flight back to New Hampshire. Landed in a Wagnerian lighting storm at Manchester Airport.

As soon as I recover a little there is lots of UMass Football news to cover. We seem to have added a Quarter Back recruit. Construction has started on McGuirk's Field Turf and lots of other stuff.

Good to be back. Go UMass!