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On August 12th I attended the UMass Media Day and a practice at McGuirk. A thirty-three image Picassa web album is here. Click on the "slide show" button or view individually.
Truth-in-blogging note, I was asked not to take images of offensive or defensive sets. And the athletic dept asked to see the web album before I published it. The reason being that this was a "live" practice and they didn't want potential opposing teams having any more information than was necessary. As we bleed Maroon & White here at the UMass Football Blog, I had no problem with that.
The kickers felt that the addition of Travis Tripucka had solved the long snapping problems I witnessed in the spring. At 6-2 215 he looks like a football player and I did not see a bad snap during the practice. Both Armando Cuko and Brent Arnold kicked well in this practice.
Both Liam Coen and Sean Smalls sat out the practice with minor physical problems.
I was impressed with RFr Spencer Whipple . His throwing mechanics seemed excellent, as you might expect given who's son he is. He's 6-2 200. He was moved around in high school because his father was hired by Pittsburgh and he ended up only starting one year. He could be a steal as a walk-on. A concentrated year in weight room and learning the UMass offense could place him in contention for a starting job when Coen graduates.
The UMass offensive line looked like athletes. For a while, it seemed every team had to have 315+ pound offensive linemen. Seems like the pendulum has swung to taller and leaner players.
This year's "Best Biceps" award goes to Captain Brandon Collier. At 6-1 280, he looks like he could bench-press a pickup truck.
I was impressed with the speed of Terrance Farris and Sam Besong. Our defensive teams speed could be second to none in FCS/I-AA. We have some defensive line depth this year. In 2007 UMass had five DL with numbers in the 90s on their chest. This year we have eight. Transfer Ray Jones at 6-4 275 and JUCO Theluxon Pierre at 6-3 260 have some size.
The players looked motivated. This could be a fun year for UMass football fans.