Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bob Shoop moves to Defensive Coordinator for William & Mary

The UMass website has an article about UMass' defensive backs coach Bob Shoop being hired by William & Mary as Defensive Coordinator.

UMass and the Tribe play on 10/27/07.

Matt Vautour had reported back on 01/26/07 that Shoop was a hot property in I-AA as a Defensive Coordinator.

Shoop is the second UMass caoch to leave after the 2006 season. Matt also reported that Brian Smith left to join the Jets organization.

Good luck to both coaches! Except, of course, to Bob Shoop on 10/27.

UPDATE: According to W&M fans, Shoop is the seventh Tribe Defensive Coordinator in eleven years...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

UMass Football Banquet March 9, 2007

Just want to remind everyone that time is getting short to RSVP to make reservations for the UMass Football Banquet.

Friday march 9, 2007
  • 6:00 pm Guest arrival/Social hour
  • 7:00 pm Buffet Dinner
  • $40/person, Children (12 & under $20)
  • RSVP by 03/01/2007
  • Call 413-545-2026, EXT 0
I can't find any press release on the Alumni Association site or the Official UMass Football Page.The banquets are always a good time. The Buffet is excellent. Each senior has to get up and say a few words.

I encourage all UMass Football fans to attend.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Great Performances 2006---- Offensive Line

In the rush to the National Championship Game, it was easy to forget the performances that got us there.

In two previous blogs, I covered the play of Liam Coen and Steve Baylark.

Not much happens on offense without good play from the Offensive Line. In 2006, UMass' OL played superbly.

In 2006 UMass had 898 offensive plays and gained 5757 net yards. That's 6.4 yards/play. It's also good for 12th in the nation in offensive production.

The Offensive line gave up 16 sacks for 105 yards in 334 passing attempts. That's one every 20.8 attempts and just a tad over 1 sack per game. Those totals are good for 1st in the A10 and 14th in the nation.

The O-line also racked up a slew of awards for 2006:
  • Nick Diana--- SECOND TEAM ALL-A10
Alex Miller said several times that the backs and quarterbacks stats are the offensive line's stats. Looks like this year the O-line had some good stats of their own.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sign Man and Video

The UMass Daily Collegian has an article about Ed Rubin AKA "Sign Man" here .

Ed is a great UMass fan. He was on the same plane I was on the marathon trip to Chattanooga.

Speaking of Chattanooga, there is a You Tube highlight video of the National Championship Game here . It's Appalachian State centric, but still worth watching. The Army Black Knights jump is here . First called to my attention by a AGS post.

There are more UMass football video snippets here .

Hopefully, the Athletic Dept will come through with the 2006 Football Highlight Video as promised.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday Morning Odds & Ends

The good folks at Appalachian State have a limited edition commemorative edition print of the UMass-Appalachian State National Championship game out. It's $30.00 from e-Bay.

Matt Dougherty, in his Extra Point column, takes a look back on the recruiting class of 2004 and considers how they're doing.

The last two CAA/A10 teams Maine and Towson, have announced their respective schedules. Both press releases feature National runner-up UMass.

Maine's schedule is a big improvement from 2006. Last year Maine played DII Shaw and Boston College. It takes 9 wins (usually) to get a home playoff game. Eight wins will get you a road at-large bid. With BC a loss, and Shaw not counting towards playoff eligibility, Maine was looking at going 9-0 in the A10 to get a home bid and 8-1 to just make the playoffs. Not easy to do in the tough A10.

This year's schedule has Monmouth, Stony Brook and UConn. Two good I-AA games and a winnable I-A game could have the Black Bears growling in '07.

Towson has won 11 straight OOC games since it joined the CAA/A10. The Tiger's 2007 schedule is a step up. They play CCSU (who wrecked GSU's 2006 season), Morgan State and play Colgate at Hamilton, the old graveyard of UMass' hopes.

Today's blog post is the 1,201 blog entry since we started in May of 2005...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Great Performances 2006-------Steve Baylark

In the run to the National Championship game it was easy to overlook the great performances it took to get us there. In a previous blog entry I took a look at Liam Coen's 2006 performance .

This time we'll consider the impact Steve Baylark made in 2006.

  • His 235 yards against Rhode Island was the 10th all time single game total (dropping Jerome Bledsoe's 226 against Richmond in 1991 off the list)
  • His 338 season carries was 3rd all time (he now holds three of the top ten season carries records---2006, 2003 and 2005)
  • Baylark's 1,104 career carries places him 2nd behind Marcel Shipp's 1,215
  • Baylark's 130.7 yards/game was 6th all time for a UMass running back
  • His 15 TDs in 2006 ties him with Garry Pearson (1980) and Paul Metallo (1972)
  • Baylark's 42 career TD's places him 3rd all time behind Rene Ingoglia's 54
  • His 1,960 yards in 2006 places him first in yearly total for a senior (over Garry Pearson's 1,631 in 1982)
  • Baylark's 5,332 career yards places him 2nd all time to Marcel Ship's 6,250
Note that all my figures are unofficial.

All in all, a great performance for Steve and the 2006 Minutemen!

UPDATE: A reader named Football1 has amended a very good comment. Please take time to read it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

UNCC studies adding I-AA football

UMass' basketball foe from the A10, UNCC is considering adding I-AA football.

NCAA regulations require schools with DI basketball to play I-A or I-AA football.

North Carolina is a hotbed of high school football, so the 49ers could recruit. The article states that UNCC has 21,000 students. I-AA football certainly feasible.

Now can some basketball trivia fan tell me how UNCC's nickname became "the 49ers"? What does a team from North Carolina have to do with the California gold rush?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Recruiting 2007 --- Reflections

Well, recruiting for 2007 is mostly over. Coach Brown stated that he is holding one or two scholarships up his sleeve.

Usually I-A transfers decide after Spring Football when they end up down in the depth chart. We'll have to wait to see if Brown comes up with any I-A transfers.

Obsessing about recruiting is foolish, as Chuck Burton points out in his CSN Diary-Letter of Intent article. Starting a "fire the coach" website when a fan's team suffers the hell of only signing 6 four-star Rivals recruits and Florida State signed nine is crazy.

But that only goes so far. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a program and better athletes means better results.

UMass signed seven defensive players (counting the punter as defense) and eight offensive recruits. Four of the recruits were team captains in high school.

How did we do? Pretty well thinks this blog. Lots of I-AA teams signed I-A transfers. Not many signed a I-A All American like Jeromy Miles.

UMass signed four OL. Reading the pedigree of offensive linemen is usually not very exciting. They usually are touted as "All league". UMass' recruits are all over 6-4 and all have multiple citations for "All-Something".

Octavious Hawkins could be a steal at QB.

Three of the recruits should start. Jeromy Miles should start at Strong Safety. JUCO Chris Pollard should start at Free Safety. Brett Arnold should start at punter.

Can't wait to Spring Football to see them all perform.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Recruiting 2007 --- WR Julian Talley

The final recruit to be joining the Minutemen in 2007 is Julian Talley a 6-1 180 pd WR from Winslow, NJ.

His Rivals page is here . Most relevant stat---- Forty 4.4 sec. He was first team All-state Group 3, First Team All-South Jersey, First Team All-Conference and 3rd team All-State as a senior. Career totals of 2,049 yards and 17 TDs.

He was All State . This article also mentions him signing with UMass.

Drew recruiting interest from Minnesota, Rutgers, Syracuse and Bowling Green.

Welcome to UMass Julian! We hope you have a great career with the Minutemen.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Recruiting 2007 ---- OL Justin Sawicki

The fourth offensive lineman to join UMass this year is Justin Sawicki, a 6-5 305 pd OL from Medford MA.

Sawicki was First Team Greater Boston League All-Star. MVP offensive lineman of his team. Started 21 consecutive games at right tackle.

His page is here .

His ESPN page is here .

Drew recruiting interest from Alabama, Nevada, BC, UConn and some I-AA teams.

Welcome to UMass Justin. The OL leads the Way!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Recruiting 2007--- OL Joshua Samuda

Joshua Samuda a 6-4 300 pd Offensive lineman from Hollywood Hills High School in Florida has signed with the Minutemen.

His page is here . Named to to the North/South All-Star Team--- Member of the First Team Miami Herald All Broward 6A-4A Football Team (pdf format).

His page is here. There is a highlight video (Video Clip #1) on the Rivals page; I can't link to it directly. Must have javascript enabled and you have to sit through the commercial...

Drew recruiting interest from FIU, FAU, East Carolina, Memphis and Mississippi State.

Welcome to UMass Josh! You made the right choice.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Recruiting 2007---- OL Brian Ostaszewski

Joining UMass this year will be Brian Ostaszewski a 6-5 300 pd offensive lineman from Stamford High School in Stamford CT.

His school has an article (with an image of him signing his letter-of-intent) here .

Ostaszewski was First Team All State CT High School Coaches Association (CHSCA), 2nd Team All-State Hartford Courant---First Team All-FCIA--- Member of the Governor's Cup All-Star Team--- started 30 consecutive games on both lines.

He is a friend and former teammate of UMass 2006 OL recruit Vladimir Ducasse. There is an article about Ducasse joining the Minutemen here .

Welcome to UMass Brian! Hope you and Vladimir lead the way to another National Championship.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Recruiting 2007---- DE Courtney Jackson

The UMass defense adds Courtney Jackson a 6-2 225 pd DE from Gwynn Park HS in Brandywine, MD. Gwynn Park went 10-2 and was ranked the #8th team in Maryland.

No less than five of Jackson's teammates signed with college programs.

He was a team captain-- made 93 tackles, 13 sacks and 5 fumble recoveries. All-county and All-Gazette.

Welcome to UMass Courtney! You'll be playing for the best.

Monday, February 12, 2007

NCAA may revisit new clock rules

As you are well aware, the new clock rules initiated by the NCAA were not popular with most coaches (including Coach Brown). Now Ralph Wallace reports in his rejuvenated log that the NCAA may take another look. Most observers felt the rule change came from complaints that TV games were running long.

The article states that, on average, football games were shortened 14 minutes and reduced by 13.5 plays. UMass in 2006 had 898 offensive plays and made 5757 yards. That's 6.4 yards/play. So the new rules cost UMass about 45 yards of offense per game.

Key quote in the article "Yet in some cases, it appears fewer plays simply meant more commercials, according to a study by published by"

I want more UMass football----not less. Hope they change the rule back.

Recruiting 2007---- DT Mathew Goods

Matt Goods is #53 making the tackle in the image to the right. Matt is a 6-2 255 pd DT.

His MaxPreps page is here. Note that he had 45 tackles and 10 sacks plus two fumble recoveries in 11 games for St. Mary's HS in Rutherford, NJ.

Team stats for the 9-2 St. Mary's team is here.

53 tackles from the DT position is a great effort. Defensive Tackle is the toughest position to recruit. Looks like UMass picked up a steal in Goods.

Welcome to the Minutemen Matt! You'll be playing for the best defense in the East.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Recruiting 2007---- QB Octavious Hawkins

Joining the Minutemen this year will be 6-2, 205 pd QB Octavious Hawkins from South Broward High School in Florida. He was First-Team Miami Herald All-Broward 6A-4A. This link has an image of him and the rest of the All-Broward Team (pdf format).

He was second team All-Broward by the Sun-Sentinel. (also pdf)

The Miami Herald has two articles that mention him here and here.

Six minutes of highlight film on him is available here .

This high-school football thread also discusses him.

Hawkins threw for 1,539 yards, going 66 for 123 with15 TD's in a league that annually produces tons of I-A talent.

Welcome to UMass Octavious! Hope you have a great career with UMass.

A friend of the UMass Football Blog from Florida provided a number of links in this post.

UPDATE: One quarterback we didn't take.

Friday, February 09, 2007

2007 Recruit ----- Punter/Kicker Brett Arnold

UMass has signed Brent Arnold a punter/kicker from Lackawanna Junior College .

His last years stats are here .

This article from a kicking camp mentions him (and has an image of current UMass kicker Chris Koepplin demonstrating his technique at the same camp).

This link has video of Arnold booming some kicks.

Arnold was first team All-conference NE Football Conference as both kicker and punter . Two year starter. Averaged 40 yards/kick over two season. Holds school record for longest field goal of 48 yards. Longest career punt 58 yards. Dean's List and President's List with a 3.6 GPA.

Welcome to UMass Brett! May your kicks be straight and your punts always have a long roll.

Some of the information in this blog post came from a "Blog-friend" who graciously provided some of the links.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Morning after recruiting news

Well, the UMass Football Blog had it's second biggest day ever yesterday. Only the day before the National Championship game brought more visitors to the Blog.

Rumor has it that there were so much interest in National Signing Day both and's servers crashed.

Be sure to watch the video interview of Coach Brown on the main UMass Athletic Dept page. It contains some interesting material. Brown said only two recruits who took a recruiting visit to UMass signed elsewhere...

The Springfield Republican has an article about UMass' recruits here . The UMass Collegian has an article here .

The Boston Herald has an article about recruits from UMass, Northeastern and Maine here.

The Milford Daily News has an article about some local recruits and quotes Minuteman Legend and Waltham football Coach, Paul Mayberry.

The Sun Chronicle has a recruiting article that includes a paragraph about UMass recruit Ryan Moreshead.

I'll post more links as they come up.

UPDATE: Matty Vautour has his take on the UMass recruits here . In non-recruiting news he states UMass assistant coach Bryan Smith has left for a position with the Jets. Also two offensive linemen Heath Heekin and Carlos Feliciano have left the program.

Also, former UMass running back Bryan Smith formerly reported to be re-joining the Minutemen will not attend UMass.

The Boston Globe has a post on where the various Eastern Mass players signed. If viewed after today, scroll to the February 7th post.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

UMass signs 15 recruits

UMass has signed 15 recruits. A quick look indicates that there are some very interesting additions.

I've already blogged on five of them (seven counting Chris Pollard and Sloan Russett) scroll down to second entry for Sloan, I can't point Blogger to a specific entry), both of whom ended up doing a year of prep school.

Ben Coblyn (scroll to second post), Emil Igwenagu (scroll to the post before this one), Jeromy Miles (two posts), Ryan Moreshead and Tim Nolan.

Looks like a great class! Jeromy Miles is the top signing in all of I-AA football, IMHO. That Florida QB Octavious Hawkins looks interesting too. I'll be bloggin' a lot more in days to come about this class.

In the meantime, here's some more reading for you:

  • Hofstra's recruits are here.
  • our biggest rival in the CAA, the New Hampshire Wildcats recruits are here .
  • Northeastern signs nine recruits.
  • The Spiders recruiting list is here.
  • The Towson Tigers signed eleven .
Nobody else's list is up yet.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Recruiting 2007---- Emil Igwenagu verbals to UMass

Emil Igwenagu, a 6-2 218 pd RB from Holy Name in Worcester has verbaled to UMass.

From the Worcester Telegram article:"Igwenagu helped Holy Name to two consecutive Division 2 Super Bowl wins and rushed for more than 5,000 yards in his career. Holy Name athletic director Jim Manzello said a formal announcement is expected tomorrow morning. "

Igwenagu is a member of the Massachusetts "Super 26" team as one of the 26 best players in the state. Scroll to the 12/18/06 entry in this article.

Emil---Welcome to UMass. You made the right choice!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Caoch Brown to speak on recruits at the 2/14/07 Sports Luncheon

Coach Brown will attend the February 14th meeting of the UMass Sports Luncheons.

He will speak about this year's recruits and show video.

The UMass Sports Luncheons are an outstanding deal. They feature a salad-to-desert menu for just $7.00. Reserve your seat by calling 413-545-4290.

Remember that's Valentine's Day. Get a card for your favorite person.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

UMass coaching tree--- Duke University

Duke University recently fired former UMass assistant coach Jerry Azzinaro as defensive coordinator.

Azzinaro was assistant coach at UMass from 1992-1994.

Duke Head Coach Ted Roof was an assistant coach at UMass in the middle 1990's.

Duke assistant coach John Strollo was an assistant coach at UMass from 1991-1995.

Another assistant coach at Duke, Brian Sherrod was an assistant coach at UMass in 1995.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The high cost (for the fan) of I-A football

I've had my seats in Section 6, Row I continuously since 1976. That's 30 years of UMass home games. Sometimes when UMass has having a poor season and the weather was bad, it was just me and the band...

I wonder what I'd do if UMass went I-A and then implemented a requirement like Boston College just did. They now required $1000/seat (plus the cost of the tickets) to keep season tickets between the 30 yard lines.

It would be wrenching to give up my seats that I've held so long. I suppose that I could boycott any bowl game that the team was invited to and save some bucks there. What would you do if you were a long time season ticket holder?

Ben Albert promoted to Associate Head Coach at Delaware

Former UMass star DT and coach Ben Albert has been appointed Associate Head Coach at Delaware.

I've blogged about him before (the second post in the link has a scan of him in action). Note that the previous posts will appear below this one (scroll down after clicking on the link)

The UMass article is here.

The Delaware article is here.

Congratulations! Ben. You were an outstanding player and coach for UMass.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

UMass adds another verbal --- Tim Nolan OL

Tim Nolan a 6-4 301 pd OL from Jackson NJ has verbaled to UMass.

This link has some praise for him.

He was 3rd team All-New Jersey by

This article describes him as a "Warrior" (scroll down).

Took a recruiting visit to Monmouth. Also received interest from Duke and Rutgers.

Welcome aboard Tim! You made the right choice!