Thursday, August 31, 2006
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 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
WR #1 J.J. Moore Jr 6-0 201
PK #31 Armando Cuko So 5-11 180
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.
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).
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
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 09/02/06
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 .
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)
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.
Keeper has UMass by 19 points. Our Blogger Buddy Colgate13 has UMass winning 34-21.
My pick: UMass 31-21.
Monday, August 28, 2006
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
Sunday, August 27, 2006
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
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
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.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
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.
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!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
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...
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 of Sports Network takes a look at the Big South and concludes that Reid's first year with VMI will be a tough one.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
- 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
- Scott Woodard 6-3 195. Was UMass' Scout team Player-of-the-Year. DNP in 2005.
- Joe Sanford 6-2 208. Transferred from Virginia. Prior blogs have discussed Sanford. Scroll down.
- 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.
Monday, August 14, 2006
I'll be in Amherst tomorrow and will try to stop by the stadium to view the completed masterpiece :)
As usual Right Click on any image for a larger view!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
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
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...
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.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
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 .
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
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
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.