Thursday, August 31, 2006

More UMass-Colgate info

I'm blogging my fingers to the bone for you guys.

Matt Vautour of the Hampshire Gazette has an injury update as well as some position changes here (registration required, but worth the aggravation).

He also has a very good article about the UMass depth chart. I've added the link to that story on to my "UMass 2006 starters" blog earlier today. Scroll down.

Bruce Dowd of I-AA.org writes the first of a weekly column covering the A10. He covers A10 news and prognosticates the first week of play. Despite being a Delaware guy, he does a good job.

Check out this quote "When asked if he thought this year's national champion will come out of the A-10, Mickey Matthews said “if our best team gets out then we should have a good chance”. That statement can be supported by the fact that I had three separate coaches tell me that the best team they played against last year, no question about it, was Massachusetts and they didn't even get out of the conference into the playoffs. "

The future of play calling

The future of coaching may be here . See question #11 in the FAQ.

Wonder if Friends of Football, who have helped UMass with so many projects could get us this software when it is available?

UMass 2006 Starters

If you have not printed out the UMass-Colgate game notes then you do not have the 2006 UMass two-deep chart. AFAIK, this has not appeared anywhere else.

The starters offense:

WR #81 Brandon London Sr 6-4 210
LT #68 Matt Austin Jr 6-5 285 (note#1)
LG #60 Nick Dana Jr 6-3 300 (note #2)
C # 62 Alex Miller Sr 6-2 290
RG #73 David Thompson Sr 6-3 310
RT # 63 Sean Calicchio So 6-5 300
TE # 82 Brad Listori Jr 6-4 245 (note #3)
TB #5 Steve Baylark Sr 6-0 225
FB #44 E.J. Barthel Jr 6-1 240 (note#4)
QB #12 Liam Coen So 6-2 205
WR #3 Rasheed Rancher Jr 6-5 197
or
WR #1 J.J. Moore Jr 6-0 201
PK #31 Armando Cuko So 5-11 180
or
PK #42 Chris Koepplin Jr 6-3 210

Note #1-Matt Austin moves to LT from LG replacing graduated Brent Caldwell
Note #2-Nick Dana is a JUCO All-America from Nassau CC. Moves to Austin's LG position
Note #3- New starter. Listori is a transfer from Rutgers
Note #4 -E.J. Barthel is a transfer from Rutgers replacing Kyle B. Harrington, who is out with a concussion.

Starters Defense:

LE #55 Jason Hatchell Sr 6-2 270 (note #5)
DT #56 Brandon Collier Fr 6-1 260 (note #6)
NT # 97 Jason Leonard Sr 6-2 265
DE # 48 David Burris Jr 6-0 242 (note #7)
SLB # 43 Jason Hatchell Jr 6-0 224 (note #8)
MLB #11 Charles Walker Jr 6-1 220 (note #9)
WLB #2 Brad Anderson Sr. 6-0 230
CB #26 Tracey Belton Sr 5-11 175
SS #7 James Ihedigbo Sr 6-1 217
FS #23 Brandon Smith Sr 6-1 190 (note #10)
CB #16 Sean Smalls So 6-1 190 (not #11)
P #13 Christian Koegel 6-0 185

Note #5-Hatchell moves to DE from DT
Note #6- Collier is a new starter. Replace graduated Justin Schweighardt
Note #7-Burris switches sides at DE
Note #8- Hachell moves outside from MLB
Note #9-Walker returns from a medical redshirt
Note #10-Smith replaces graduated All-American Shannon James
Note#11-Smalls is a new starter. Replaces graduated Steve Costello

UPDATE: Great minds think alike. Matt Vautour has an article on the UMass two-deep here. Lots of good stuff (registration required).

Coach Brown's Radio show opens tonight


Remember that Coach Brown's radio opens tonight at 7:00pm. Details here . It will be live on WRNX in western Mass. Those of us out of state can listen over the internet.

KAEO Former Minuteman Michael Torres

There is an article here that mentions former UMass kicker Michael Torres .

When Torres played for UMass he had one of the strongest legs ever at UMass. However, he managed to spend a lot of time in the doghouse of both Coach Whipple and Coach Brown.

He transferred to UCF and had to sit out a year. This rule prevents schools at higher level cherry picking players out of the lower levels.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Two articles on UMass-Colgate

UMass-Colgate game stuff.
Matt Dougherty of The Sports Network has a long article on the first week of I-AA football. Near the end he prognosticates the UMass-Colgate game. Worth a read.

Craig Muder of the Utica Observer-Dispatch has an article on Colgate's star RB Jordan Scott .

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

UMass-Colgate Preview


UMass -Colgate 09/02/06

Background:

Matt Dougherty is picking Colgate to win the Patriot League. So are the Patriot league coaches.
The Colgate game notes are here (.pdf file) UMass has a game article here (games notes are not yet up).

UPDATE: UMass game notes are now up .

Playoff implications:

The goal of I-AA teams is to make the playoffs. Both Colgate and UMass are strong teams who have a good chance of making the playoffs, therefore this game has important ramifications for both clubs.

FOR COLGATE: After the UMass game Colgate plays Dartmouth, Monnouth, Georgetown, Princeton, @Cornell, @Fordham. I believe Colgate will win all those games. They then hit the iron of the Patriot League with a home game against Lafayette, @Lehigh. They close with two wins Holy Cross and @Bucknell. If Colgate looses against UMass, Lafayette and Lehigh they will stay home even with an 8-3 record. Loose one of those games and they will be in the playoffs. Some team will have the joy of playing @ Hamilton (and note that the Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a record cold winter)

For UMass:

UMass opens with three tough games: Colgate, @Navy and @Villianova. Navy has probably its best team in recent memory. Villianova is a “trap” game. In 21 games between the two clubs, the road team has only won four times. And this will be after a big effort at Navy. Loose to Colgate and UMass could start the season 0-3. UMass needs this game more than Colgate does.

UMass Defense against the Colgate Offense.

Last year UMass held Colgate to 9 first downs and 167 total yards and three offensive points. Hard to improve on those stats.

As in the past, Colgate employs a strong rushing game. Their star is RB Jordan Scott 1364 yards and 10 Tds. He’s a Payton watch candidate.

Colgate’s other offensive weapon is their quick slant passing game. It reminds me of Villianova’s. They throw quick passes behind the linebackers and then rely on the athleticism of the WRs to turn a short game into something more. Colgate beat UMass in the snow in 2003 with these types of throws. QB Mike Saraceno (2065 yards,12 TD) can pass. He has good targets in WR Kenny Parker (694 yards) and WR Erik Burke (426 yards). Offense is their strong suit and will probably take them into the post season.

UMass was #1 in the nation in scoring defense in 2005 and #5 in passing defense. I believe that the UMass defense will play well despite Colgate’s strong offense. What we want to avoid is turnovers. Give Colgate a short field and they will score.


UMass Offense against the Colgate Defense

This is where we should have a significant advantage. Colgate graduated their entire defensive line and two of their three linebackers. With UMass returning four starters Alex Miller, Matt Austin, David Thompson and Sean Calicchio, UMass should be able to run with Steve Baylark and Matt Lawrence all day.

The Colgate secondary should be the strength on that side of the ball. Safety Geoff Bean (68TT, 4 sacks, 2 INT) and CB Cody Williams (63TT, 4INT) are good ones.

Despite UMass’ strong passing game, we would want to pound the ball and be able to score on the ground. If Colgate’s secondary has to support against the run that should open the way for the passing game. Note that in 2005 Colgate held the UMass running game to 84 total yards and Baylark to 57 yards. We must do better in 2006.

Prediction:

Keeper has UMass by 19 points. Our Blogger Buddy Colgate13 has UMass winning 34-21.

My pick: UMass 31-21.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Return of Charles Walker

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an article on the return of Charles Walker from a medical redshirt.

Walker has been moved to middle linebacker in Brown's base defense. I always remember Walker's monster game against Delaware in 2004. That was Brown's first year at UMass and, if I remember right, UMass went into Spring Ball with only 14 scholarship players on defense. Defensive linemen were particularly scarce.

By the Delaware game we had a couple of injuries on the line. Walker's performance is not remembered because we lost the game 21-7. However the game was tied 7-7 going into the fourth quarter before the UMass defense finally wore down.

Walker stats for that game were: 14UT, 9At, 23 TT, 2 TFL, 2 Sacks. The 23 tackles tied an all-time UMass single game record.

Walker's return will move Jason Hatchell Jr. 6-0 224 outside. Jason had a breakout year in 2005 with 46UT, 65 At, 111TT 1 Sack 4 TFL 1 PBU. He finished 8th in the A10 for total tackles.

Returning at the third linebacker post will be Brad Anderson, Sr. 6-0 230. Anderson spent one year at Vanderbilt before transferring to UMass. Anderson's stats in 2005 were: 17UT,45AT, 62TT, 3.5 Sacks, 9-35 TFL, 2 PBU

Two Articles

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has UMass ready to play .

Matt Dougherty of the Sports Network predicts the entire 2006 season and has UMass making the 2006 Playoff Quarter Finals.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Whoa! It's football season.

Nice to have lots of UMass Football material to choose from. That will brighten the heart of any Blogger. Here is some Sunday reading to keep you occupied.

Matty Vautour of the Hampshire Gazette rings in with three articles (all require free registration, but worth it)

The first concerns James Ihedigbo Sr. 6-1 202. Ihedigbo has really grown under Brown's attacking defensive philosophy. His stats for 2005: 33UT 25AT 58TT 7.5-53 Sacks (2nd in A1) 12-60 TFL 2-12 INT 5 PBUs

Ihedigbo is one of the top Safeties in the A10. My favorite quote from Ihedigbo: "I want to hit them so hard, their parents will feel it!"

In his second article Matt talks about the "413" connection for UMass. Along with Ihedigbo, three former Amherst High football players are on the UMass squad.

UConn transfer Anthony Rouzier LB So. 6-0 222, Elijah Bynum DB 5-11 180,
Alphonsus Aguh TB Fr. 5-9 180 complete the ex-Amherst players.

Rounding out the Western Mass contingent is Scott Woodard Fr. QB 6-3 195 from Mahar Regional. Woodward is an important cog in the Minuteman machine as he is very likely the back-up to Liam Coen. Woodard had a stellar HS career. He threw for over 4000 yards and led his team to consecutive Division II Superbowl titles.

Matt finishes out his articles here with news and views on training camp. The big news is that Rutgers transfer Brad Listori TE Jr. 6-4 245 is likely to be the starting TE.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Three good men

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an article on the UMass kicking game here . It's worth a read.

I had a chance to renew my association with UMass punter Christian Koegel and UMass' place kicker Armando Cuko at the UMass Media Day on Tuesday Aug 22nd.

Christian Koegel Sr 6-0 185 is a Pre-Season All-American. Koegel has been the subject of a number of posts on this blog. He led the I-AA nation in net punting and was #3 in punting average. He's looking forward to punting off the new field turf.

Armando Cuko So. 5-11 180 had a mixed freshman season. However, he made a 41 yard game winning kick against JMU that, given the circumstances of that day, was one of the finest kicks ever at McGuirk.

I also got a chance to meet the newest member of the UMass kicking team Chris Koepplin 6-3 210. Koepplin attended JUCO football power Nassau CC. When he did not get an offer out of school, he attended the Northeast Kicking competition at Rutgers and beat the field. He'll back up Koegel in punting and is in competition with Cuko for place kicker.

I wish everyone could get a chance to meet these three players. They are well spoken, thoughtful young men. Good ambassadors for UMass football and the University. They speak well of the quality of player we have at UMass.

Friday, August 25, 2006

UMass Defensive Line

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an article about the UMass Defensive Line here .

He incicates that David Burris Jr 6-0 242 will be at one defensive end position. Moving to the other DE will be John Hatchell Sr. 6-2 270

Returning to a DT will be Jason Leonard Sr. 6-2 265

The new man on the DL will be Brandon Collier Fr. 6-1 260. Collier has excellent speed and runs a 4.7 40.

Sam the Minuteman should sue!

The Colgate Raiders have a new mascot.

Uh, I would think a Red Raider would be something like a scarlet pirate or something of that nature. But a colonial hat???

The Colgate faithful are not amused...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Article on London, Rancher and Moore


Matty Vautour of the Hampshire Gazette has an article (free registration required, but worth it) on the UMass starting trio of wide receivers Brandon London, J.J. Moore and Rasheed Rancher.

The UMass trio has size that most pro teams would envy. London is 6-4. Rancher is 6-5 and Moore is 6-0 201.

This unit should be one of the tops in I-AA and hopefully along with Steve Baylark energize the UMass offense, which finished 8th in the A10 in total offense, 5th in passing offense and 9th in scoring offense.

If UMass could increase its scoring they will be a tough matchup for a lot a teams in I-AA.

The image above is a UMass Athletic Dept image of Brandon London taken on Media Day.

Some Bulletin Board material for the Colgate Game


The Sports Network has released its Preseason Payton-Buchanan watch list. The Payton Award mugshots are here. The Sports Network has the Buchanan Award mugshots here.

As you know, the Payton award is given to the best offensive player in I-AA. The Buchanan Award is given to the best defensive player in I-AA.

Jordan Scott of Colgate is on the list. UMass' Steve Baylark is not.

That should fire up the UMass Offensive line and motivate the UMass defense!

KAEO Two former Minutemen Players

Last year Lorenzo Perry transferred to Bryant College. This year, he's a preseason All-American.

This year, Taylor Humphrey transferred to Assumption College. He may have to sit out a year.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dartmouth adds Field Turf

Thought you might be interested in this image of Dartmouth's new Field Turf. UMass and Dartmouth had a long running series. They played 24 times from 1908-1981. The Big Green has a commanding 20-3-1 lead in wins. I know for a fact that in the past UMass has inquired about renewing the series. Back then, the Ivy teams recruited nationally and had more scholarships than the land grant Yankee Conference teams. The shoe is now on the other foot and the Ivy teams keep to themselves. Although kudos to Dartmouth and Brown to continuing to play UNH and Rhode Island.

There is an image gallery of Dartmouth's field here . There is a Dartmouth Blog here, but it's a gateway to a pay-to-read site...

Two articles on the UMass website

The UMass website has two articles up. The first is the second training camp report. UMass has finished two-a-days and will be working on preparation for Colgate. It also contains a image gallery.

The second concern the hiring of Damian Mincey as assistant linebackers coach. He appears to be replacing Serge Tikum, who was hired for that position pre-season.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Matt Dougherty looks at former UMass Coach Jimmie Reid's new team

Many in the UMass community continue to follow the career of former long-time UMass coach Jimmie Reid.

Matt Dougherty of Sports Network takes a look at the Big South and concludes that Reid's first year with VMI will be a tough one.

J.J. Moore retruns to action


Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an article about J.J. Moore here .

Article on Marcel Shipp


Ted Ribeiro of the Springfield Republican has an article on former UMass great Marcel Shipp.

Wish Shipp could be in a situation where he could show what he can do. With his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, he'd do well a third down back. His Cardinal's bio is here .

Monday, August 21, 2006

Computer Rankings

Computer rankings have to be taken with several grains of salt, but they can be fun to follow (and to agree/disagree with).

Jeff Sagarin ranks UMass #8 in I-AA preseason. A guy named Keeper has us ranked #2 in I-AA.

This link goes to a page with over 20 links to various college football ranking services/pages (not all of them include I-AA).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Article on Matt Lawrence and Darnel Delaire


The Bloomfield Journal has an article by Woody (and yes that's a great name for a sports writer) Dixon that mentions Matt Lawrence and Darnel Delaire . Lawrence has been profiled here before. Delaire is a So. Defensive lineman who goes 6-2 238.

The image of Darnel is from the UMass website.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Two Spencer MA grads play together at UMass

Brendon Hall of the Worcester Telegraph has an article on teammates David Burris DE Jr 6-0 242 and Anthony Monette DE Fr. 6-2 240.

Burris, a former walk-on has played very well for UMass. In 2006 he had 20 UT 29 AT 49 TT 2.5 Sacks and 8.5 TFL. He has been a force on the defensive line.

Monette shared the 2005 Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year award. He looks like he has a bright future with the Minutemen.

Matt Lawrence and Tim Washington hope to make an impact in 2006

Desmond Conner of the Hartford Corant has an article on Tim Washington and Matt Lawrence.

Interesting tidbit in the article is that Washington has petitioned the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility.

The above image is of Washington being interview at the 2006 Media Day.

I was at the Richmond game last year when Lawrence was injured. He should have an immediate impact on the UMass running game now that he's healthy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Questions and Answers from a Navy Blogger

Navy Blogger Adam Nettina proves age in no barrier to running a high quality Fan Blog. He edits the Navy-centric PITCH RIGHT .

This Blog appeared in a question an answer session in PITCH RIGHT on Thursday August 10th (Scroll down) discussing UMass Football for the Navy fans.

Today Adam returns the favor by giving us some insights into Navy Football. Welcome Adam!

First, tell us some details about yourself. It says in your Blog “Pitch Right” that you’re not a Navy grad. How did you get involved in Navy football and what about the Midshipmen makes you passionate enough to write a dedicated blog?

Firstly, I’m not a grad because I’m only seventeen years old. Once readers get pass that shocking piece of news, I think anyone will realize Navy football and I have had a special relationship all of my relatively short life. I’m actually told my first Army-Navy game was three days before I was born. I’ve lived in the Baltimore metro area all my life, and have been going to Navy games since my earliest days. In the beginning there was no real connection. My father was a huge football fan living in a city without a pro team, and loved the atmosphere of Navy games. As I grew older, I took a more active role as a fan. It wasn’t until 2003 though that I really became the fan I am today. That summer I attended the Naval Academy Football camp and was able to play with some of the top recruits for the program. It was the first time I ever heard Coach Johnson speech and the first time I had ever spent time on campus. Since then I’ve been a season ticket holder with my father. My blog, Pitch Right, was actually started on a whim shortly after the end of the season last year. I had envisioned it as just a place I could record my thoughts and kick around some ideas, but it has grown into a great place to develop my love for college football and interact with Navy fans worldwide. As for a future in the Navy, I’m actually awaiting a response to my NROTC application I recently sent in, and with enough luck will be able to attend college next year on track to eventually become an officer.

One of best things for fans of a I-AA team playing a I-A team is visiting a I-A stadium with its big crowds. Last year UMass was the second biggest draw on Army’s home schedule. From talking to UMass fans, it seems that Navy will be looking at a fair amount of Maroon and White in the visiting section. Tell us about the Navy game day traditions.

Being at a Navy game is great; the experience, in my opinion, is better then any other college program in the country. From the pre-game flyovers to the march onto the field, pregame is in fact an entity of its own. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium has got to be one of the nation’s best kept stadium secrets. It’s much more then a great place to watch football, it’s also a memorial to the fighting men and women of past generations.

Until recently, pundits in I-A (and some in I-AA) were saying that the service academies could not be successful in the modern era because they could not recruit the type of player needed to compete. Do you feel that the resurgence of Navy under Paul Johnson and the return to respectability of Army under Bobby Ross has proved the service academies can win at the I-A level?

The short answer? Yes, I believe the Service Academy’s (SA’s) can win at the I-A level. You’ve also got to remember that Fisher DeBerry is only two years removed from a 7-5 season and looks to have the Air Force Falcons on the rebound this year. Of course coaching has a good deal to do with what people figure as the resurgence (Navy) and impending resurgence (Army) of the SA’s, but I think the pundits often overlook the quality of players these schools get. The three Academies often compete over the same guys in terms of recruiting, but people need to understand that there are some talented kids in that pool. Right now Navy has a clear advantage over Air Force and Army in terms of recruiting, but all three of these programs have decent shots at winning seasons this year. While SA’s can win at the I-A level, it remains to be seen if they can compete at the elite level. Air Force was able to crack the polls numerous times in the 80s and 90s, and this season Navy could even slip into the 20-25 range if they play their cards right.

Let talk some football. Navy will have a new QB this season. Who will it be and why?

The new Quarterback will be Senior Brian Hampton. Hampton saw duty in several games last year when then-starter Lamar Owens was out due to cramping. He lead scoring drives against Stanford, Kent State, and Notre Dame, and brings a lot to the table. For starters he throws a good ball, and can be very accurate. While not as fast as his predecessor Lamar Owens, he’s bigger and stronger and shows some great moves in the open field. As long as he makes good reads on the options, he has all the physical tools to lead this team to a winning season. Brian looked very good at Saturday’s scrimmage, making some great reads and having a big day rushing and throwing the ball. Behind him sit three very talented backups, two of which bring great athleticism to the table. If Hampton his injured, Junior Troy Goss will be asked to take his place. Goss runs the option the best of the four, but isn’t the best overall athlete. Behind him are two Sophomores in Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada (Kaipo) and Jarrod Bryant (Mr. Football). Both are extremely talented athletes who will likely play other positions this year, but are slated to become huge contributors in a year or two. I’m going to take this opportunity to rep Jarrod Bryant, who I think has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. The guy has a great arm, puts ball right on the money, and has Michael Vick like moves out on the field. He was Mr. Football in Alabama in 2004 at the famed Hoover High, and may see some time at Slot Back this season.

When everyone talks about Navy they talk the spread option. Can Navy pass? If so, who should we look for?

I am happy to report that Navy can pass, and that when Navy does pass, we pass very well. Because Navy rushes as much as they do, often times you will see the Wide Receivers and Slot Backs draw single coverage when in fact the team does pass. The QB will either pass out of a straight drop or out of the triple option, in which he will roll out but pull back to survey the field. The latter is particularly hard to defend, especially if the Safety over-commits on what he thinks is the option. Navy’s number one wideout is Jason Tomlinson, who caught 25 passes last year for 445 yards and a score . Either Tyree Barnes (6 catches, 154 yards, 2 TDs) or OJ Washington will start opposite of Tomlinson. Barnes has good size at 6’2, but Washington is arguably the better blocker. Navy’s slotbacks also haul in passes, and both the starters and backups have track caliber speed. Slotback Reggie Campbell caught 12 balls last year for 314 yards (26. 2 avg!) and 2 TDs. As this Navy offense continues to get more comfortable in its execution, look for the team to open up the playbook more with some passes.

Looking over the Navy defense it seems you are loaded with seniors. One thing UMass and Navy might have in common is we don’t have a lot of size up front. What is Navy’s base defense? Who are the best players?

Navy plays a base 3-4. The prevailing wisdom is that our defense has been marginal to weak over the past few seasons, but I really think this is going to be a special year. Our linebacking corps is by far the best facet of the D. We return the Nation’s second leading tackler in ILB Rob Caldwell (144 Tkls last year) and two ultra athletic OLB’s in Tyler Tidwell (67 tckls, 10 sacks, 9 tfls) and David Mahoney (76 tckls, 8 sacks, 8 tfls). The unit will break in a new ILB, which figures to be either Joe Cylc or Clint Sovie. After watching this unit stonewall our offense early in Saturday’s scrimmage, it’s clear they should frustrate some opposing offenses this season. Caldwell has a hard nose for contact, while Tidwell, Mahoney, and Sovie all bring great athleticism and aggressiveness to the unit. The defensive line figures to be much improved this year, with a beefed up defensive line. The line struggled to develop a pass rush at time last year, and going into the season will be question mark for the defense. The secondary returns several athletic and very talented players, including senior cornerbacks Jeremy McGowen and Keenan Little, who both were highly touted players out of High School. Free safety DuJuan Price was hampered by injuries last year, but is a fierce hitter who picked off a pass at Maryland last season. The Rover will be Ketric Buffin, who at only 5-7 may be the most physical part of this secondary. Depth may be a problem after Cornerback Greg Thrasher decided to sit out the season for academic reasons, so don’t be surprised if you see some converted safeties or freshmen running seeing some time at cornerback. All in all, this looks like it will be the best defense in the Paul Johnson era.

Navy plays Stanford the game after UMass. Stanford lost to a I-AA team last year. Do you think Navy will take the UMass game seriously?

I think they have to. You have to understand Coach Johnson’s mindset. This is a guy who got his team worried about facing a winless Rice team last year. He keeps the guys very humble and very well focused, and is sure to remind the seniors here about their loss to Delaware in 2003. We Navy fans take an attitude that the “next game” is always the :most important game,” so I think it’s safe to say for at least a week UMass will be the most important game on our schedule. Having talked to a number of the players a couple weeks ago, I can tell you they only have the utmost respect for what they consider a tough slate of teams they will face this year.

What is your prediction for the game and why?

I think Navy is just going to be too much for UMASS to handle. The team is well coached and well focused, and the overall talent level here is better then the 2003 team that loss to Delaware (who won the Div I-AA Title that year.) I think this game has the potential to be close up into the 3rd quarter, but to tell you the truth I’d be surprised if this one went into the 4th quarter with both teams still having a shot. I think the Navy defense has enough speed to cause some problems for the Minute Men, and should be able to force a few turnovers. Navy just has too much speed on offense, and as usual, the triple option offense carries the Mids to victory. I’m going with Navy 42-UMass 21.

Thanks Adam for taking the time to visit with us. UMass fans are excited about visiting the Naval Academy and we'll be talking more about Navy as the game gets closer.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Field Turf Blog V

If another Field Turf update won't send you screaming into the night, I visited McGuirk yesterday and took a look at the field turf now that the composite has been installed.

Interesting! During one of my previous visits, I (ahem) liberated a scrap of the field turf. The plastic field turf blades were measured to be about 2 inches long.

The composite, as installed on McGuirk, fills the space between the blades almost completely. Only about 3/8 to 1/2 inch of the plastic blades protrude from the composite.

That explains the amazing durability of the field turf. The players are actually standing on the composite, not the field turf. Pretty neat engineering.

The feel of the field turf was solid, but slightly "springy". I can see why football players like the stuff. There is a strong smell of new tires.

Two more field turf images follow this post.

As usual, Right Click for a larger view.

Field Turf with composite

Close up of Field Turf

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Four Quarterbacks

UMass opens training camp with four quarterbacks:
  1. Liam Coen 6-2 205 should have been the A10 Rookie-of-the-Year. His average Efficiency rating (137.5) was #2 in the nation for freshman. 274-175-7. Completed 63.9 of his passes. Averaged 217.5/yards per game
  2. Scott Woodard 6-3 195. Was UMass' Scout team Player-of-the-Year. DNP in 2005.
  3. Joe Sanford 6-2 208. Transferred from Virginia. Prior blogs have discussed Sanford. Scroll down.
  4. David Chervansky 6-1 200. Previously signed with Wagner . In high school he ran a 5.1 and benched 250. Was 1st Team all FCHAC Defense.
I would think Scott Woodard would be solidly in the lead for the #2 QB.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Two Previews

Two previews for your Saturday morning reading. My friend at the Colgate Blog has a preview of this year's Colgate team. It's here .

Matt Dougherty of Sporting New has his 2006 Atlantic 10 preview here . Both are worth your time.

Friday, August 11, 2006

UMass opens training camp

The UMass Athletic Dept site has a report and image gallery from the first two days of UMass training camp here .

The article covers some of the stuff we've been talking about here over the last couple day. It confirms that Heath Heekin has been cleared to join practice. Two other walk-on's have joined the team.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Andrew Kervis seeks to join UMass


Matt Vautour has an article on the start of practice for the 2006 UMass football team here (registration required, but worth it).

He has some information about the transfers discussed in my Blog earlier today. Scroll down.

He also indicates that Andrew Kervis a 6-5 235 pd DE from New Berlin NY is seeking to join the Minutemen. This blog originally covered Andrew back on December 5th, 2005 . I then covered his choosing of Eastern Michigan .

Kervis is a Rivals two star recruit with very good speed. He would be an excellent addition to the UMass roster.

Welcome back Andy! Sometimes making the right choice takes a while.

I'll add an image later. Blogger is not doing images right now...

UMass adds three I-A transfers

UMass has added three transfers from I-A colleges. Matty Vautour has an article here about the trio (registration required).

Joining UMass will be Joe Sanford a 6-2 208 pd QB from Bridgeton Academy in Virginia. He originally walked on at I-A Virginia. His Virginia bio is here . He threw for 4,310 yards in high school and was 2nd team All-State. The circumstances of his leaving UVA are here . He will have four years of eligibility.

Also joining UMass is Courtney Robinson a 5-11 190 pd DB from Lake Worth FL by way of UConn. He will be the fourth UConn player to join UMass. His UConn bio is here . Robinson was 1st team All-County and honorable Mention All-area.

Note this quote from a poster on the I-AA message board:"Courtney Robinson BTW, is a damn good CB from Florida. When Charlie Weis took over ND he tried to get Robinson late in the recruiting season but Robinson stuck with UConn. He saw plenty of action last season and had some good plays against Louisville."

The third player is Heath Heekin a 6-3 325 pd OL from Riverside Community College. He spent a a red-shirt year at UNLV (generic UNLV football page). I could not find any specific bio page for him. UMass in now up to fifteen offensive linemen.

2006 seaon begins as UMass opens training camp.

UMass opened its training camp yesterday at 8:30 pm. See this article by the Springfield Republican.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More FieldTurf images

Well an appointment with a dermatologist on Stadium drive earned me four stitches in my face, but it was a good excuse to make another visit to the stadium.

These images are of the decals, which were installed last week. The sand and rubber composit has not yet been installed as of Tuesday.

Right Click for a larger view.

UPDATE: The UMass website now has a image gallery here .

UPDATE II: The Springfield Republican has an article about the field renovations here .

Endzone decal from the field

Detail in endzone decal

Cneter logo from the stands

"UM" logofrom the field

Detail on "UM" logo

Detail on yardline numbers

North Endzone

View from the top

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

UMass ranked #10 in Sports Network Poll

UMass has been ranked #10 in the Sports Network Pre-Season poll. The UMass athletic dept site has an article here .

I-AA.org has a consolidated poll here . This poll averages all the other polls. At I-AA.org UMass is tied for #10 with Delaware. Our highest preseason ranking was #8 by Matt Dougherty and the lowest was #23 by Street and Smith .

Monday, August 07, 2006

UMass adds Holy Cross and Boston College for 2007


Wow! Big doin's from the UMass Athletic Dept. UMass has added a two year series with long time rival Holy Cross and a meeting with Boston College.

The Athletic Dept 's article is here .

From that article:

"2007 UMass NON-CONFERENCE Football Schedule Day Date Opponent Saturday September 1 HOLY CROSS McGuirk Stadium Saturday September 8 at Colgate Hamilton, N.Y. Saturday September 29 at Boston College Chestnut Hill, Mass."

Kudos to AD John McCutcheon! Two in-state game save travel money and renew old rivals. This is excellent news!

Update Tuesday 08/08/06: The Springfield Republican has an article about the OOC for the next two years.