Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Albany Preview

UMass' first foe of the 2008 season is the Albany Great Danes

Their official football page is here . Fan site BigPurpleFans.com .

The Great Danes were the 2007 North East Conference champions with a 6-0 conference record.

Their head coach is Bob Ford. He has led the Great Danes for 35 years and is their only coach since the program was restarted in 1970. He currently leads all active FCS coaches with 225 career victories.


Albany's games notes for UMass are here (.pdf)

UMass' game notes for Albany are here (html) and here (.pdf)

Note that there will be free internet audio through the UMass Athletic web site and live streaming video will be available for $9.95/month, which is a great deal.


Albany is in the process of upgrading their program. They've had some success in that effort already. In 2006, they stunned Delaware 17-10 at Delaware.

In 2007 the beat FCS playoff team (and UMass' first round opponent) Fordham 23-20.


This year the Great Danes return six starters on both offense and defense.

The offense is led by RB David McCarty Jr. 6-0 207 . McCarty went 218 1503 6.9 yards/carry and 13 TDs. They also return QB Vinny Esposito Jr. Jr. 6-1 210. In 2007 he went 154-277 1810 yards 55.6 comp % and 12 TDs and 6 INT.

They also return their top receiver Daniel Bocanegra Sr. 6-1 195. Bocanegra had 26 catches for 316 yards 12.2 yards/catch.

The Great Danes LT is Raphael Nguti. He's 6-7 330 pds.

In 2007 the Great Danes averaged 4.4 yards per play and 28.4 points per game. They were +14 in turnovers.

On defense the Great Danes return five of their top six tacklers: Justin Brancaccio, Dave Nicomini, Dave West, Dave Casale and Mark Peretore.

The Great Danes gave up 19.4 points per game and 334 yards per game in 2007.


In 2008, Albany plays one of the toughest road schedules in FCS/I-AA. They play:
  • 08/30 @ UMass
  • 09/13 @ Hofstra
  • 09/20 @ New Hampshire
  • 09/27 @ Delaware.
They do get all three of their top Northeast opponents: Central Conn State, Monmouth and Wagner at home. That should give them a leg up on winning their fourth NEC championship.

The Albany Time-Union has an article on the scheduling challenges for the Great Danes.



UMass OT Ben Coblyn played two basketball games against the Great Danes in '05-'06.

UMass offensive coordinator Kevin Morris was an assistant coach at Albany in 1986-87.

The NY Giants have used UAlbany's facilities for their summer camp since 1996.



This Saturday's game against Albany should be a decent introduction to 2008 football. The Great Danes are a good reduced scholarship team and UMass will have pay attention to get the win.

In particular, we should get a feeling for the revised 2008 UMass offense. How will the new OL block? Will our wide receivers make plays or clank catches like they did in the Spring Game? A good showing by the offense will bode well for our playoff chances.

Encourage all UMass fans to attend the first ever UMass game under permanent lights at McGuirk!


Anonymous said...

Nice preview. Thanks. Is it Saturday yet?

UMass74 said...

I wish!

Seems like it was a long time coming this year.

Anonymous said...

Frank too late for this year. Goal for next year - get you into the press box. I bet you would do a great job broadcasting over WMUA or at least color. I doubt anyone knows as much as you or can give the audience a proper historical perspective!

Anonymous said...

Will Reshaude Goodwin play for UMASS this year? I know he would help. What happened?

UMass74 said...

Good broadcasters make that stuff look easy, but it's not.

I did a podcast with a Navy blogger when we played the Midshipmen. I later listened to the show and I think I said "Um" about every other word.