Monday, September 29, 2008

UMass Football Blog News

The UMass Football Blog will not publish Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and it might not appear on Thursday (we have an early flight home on that day).

I'm doing a two night observing run at Kitt Peak National Observatory's advanced observer program. I'm sure the National Optical Observatory has a wireless network, but I'll up all night both dates and I'll need some recovery time.

In the meantime, every think positive thoughts about beating the evil Delaware Hens on Saturday and I'll be seeing you guys soon.

Go UMass!

Monday Morning Stuff

Matty Vautour has an article on the UMass recovery from the Texas Tech game.

He has some interesting news. Vautour mentions UMass true freshman Korrey Davis' move into the second RB slot. I should have mentioned in my report from Texas Tech how well he played in that game. He had 15 carries for 51 yards.

Reshaude Goodwin is back. His speed will help the secondary and give Coach Brown more options in defensive packages.

True freshman LB Tyler Holmes will probably get some playing time.


Reinforcements on defense are needed. UMass is in territory we've not seen under Coach Brown.

UMass is:

The UMass and Delaware bands will perform together at Saturday's game. Now that will be a show!


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Matt Lawrence signs with Seahawks

Thanks to the kind soul who sent me the e-mail heads up on this story.

Former UMass RB Matt Lawrence has been signed to the Seattle Seahawks practice squad.

Sunday Morning news

Good morning from Tucson, AZ. As you see, I do have an internet connection and I don't have to call tech support once a day to keep it going.

Not a lot of UMass specific news on the wires this morning, but the CAA website has re-caps for all the CAA teams.

The big news is that Villanova upset Richmond.

From the Wizard of Odds college football blog's coverage of Louisville-UConn football game (scroll down to the 09/27/08 entry). UConn won anyway to go 5-0.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday news

Mrs. Blog and I are moving to the second stage of our Southwest vacation in Tucson, AZ today. That will be a drive of 500+ miles. Again, we are supposed to have high speed internet at our new place, but we shall see. If the blog falls silent, I'll be back as soon as I can find an internet connection.


More on the Boston College-URI game from the Boston Herald. It mentions BC's 2007 game over UMass was one of the Eagles hardest wins.

Bruce Dowd has a long article on week four in the CAA and previews week five.

Chuck Burton has an article on how many FCS/I-AA teams are playing for the playoffs.

All of us UMass fans were impressed with QB Chris Whitney of Villanova during last year's four overtime thriller against the Wildcats. Looks like he will be taking over the starting QB job at Villanova earlier than expected.

Matty Vautour's picks for week five.

UPDATE: Buried in the UMass website was this notice:"Don't miss this: Despite there being no football radio show tonight, there will be a UMass Football Weekly on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on CBS3 and here on The show will feature an all-access behind the scenes look at the team's trip to Lubbock as well as a feature on defensive lineman Brandon Collier."


Richmond Vs Villanova can be seen on CN8 and BC-Rhode Island is on ESPN360.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday FCS Follies

First thing would be to check Bob McGovern's excellent "Between Mullins and McGuirk" blog for his comment on being a journalist and a UMass fan. His "No Doubt" post is a good read.

He touches on effort needed to get the students to go to athletic events. This is the core conundrum for UMass fans. People e-mail me and say they'll get involved in UMass football as soon as we join the Big East or beat UConn or some other thing. Getting involved now indicates to the school someone values UMass athletics. Joining the Court Club, Pond Club or Friends of Football is not just about the 33 cents per day, it shows that those sports have a constituency and that means a lot in the halls of academic administration.


While we have an off week there are a number of interesting games in the CAA this week. The CAA gameday link is here .

Rhode Island gets Boston College this weekend.

Albany, which has played a strong game against three CAA opponents, plays at Delaware this weekend.

Delaware senator, and Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden said he thinks the Blue Hens would, in his words, "Kick Ohio State's ass". The national press spends a lot of time not covering Joe...

Dave Coulson has his weekly CAA column "Around the CAA" here .


The CSN has this week's FCS predictions here .

UMass football is #11 in Keeper's college football power ratings . Then again, he has JMU at #12, which is ridiculous.

He also has BC by 41 over Rhode Island.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Multi Media Thursday

Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

A forty+ image Picasa Web Album of the UMass Texas Tech game is here . All the images were taken by me or Mrs. Blog. As I said in another post, Texas Tech has a limit on how long a lens you can bring into the stadium. I was using a 35-125 Canon zoom.

A Texas Tech fan known only as "Mike" send me a video production on the Red Raider-UMass game. It's excellent.

The Texas-Tech-UMass video.

Both links have been added to the "2008 UMass images" section in sidebar.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recruiting 2009--Niko Sierra & Alex Scyocurka

UMass is recruiting two players from the Longmeadow Lancers, Niko Sierra a 6-3 210 RB and Alex Scyocurka a 6-0 210 FS/RB. Story here .

Sierra had 19 TD's and 1,132 yards in 2007. His ESPN page is here . He's getting looks from UMass, BC and UNH in football. Also plays lacross and has interest from UMass and Bellarmine University.

Scyocurka racked up 28 TD's and 1,729 yards in 2007. His Rivals page is here . His page is here . Scyocurka is getting interest from UMass and UNH from FCS and BC, Syracuse, Stanford, UConn, Penn State and UConn at the FBS level.

It would be nice to have more Western Mass players on the team. Hope they consider UMass.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday Morning in the Byeweek

UMass drops to #18 in the latest FCS Poll. I wonder how many FCS teams would do any better with back-to-back games @JMU and @Texas Tech.

The FCS Coach's poll has us at #10.

Coach Brown talks about, in the weekly CAA conference call, among other things, that reversal of the on-the-field call of Texas Tech fumbling the kickoff in the first half. As I said in my blog post, I thought he had fumbled. After watching the tape, Brown seems to think so too. That would have been huge for us.

Matty Vautour has some CAA notes here .

Delaware may be starting Kervin Michaud at RB. Story here . The Blue Hens official football site has not been updated since Aug 28th. Makes me appreciate Jason Yellin even more. He does a fine job with the UMass website.

The New Journal says that Delaware could not catch a break against Furman. They should have been playing in Lubbock.

Scotty McGee of JMU had another great day against Appalachian State.

David Coulson recaps the week-that-was in the FCS-I-AA universe.


James Ihedigbo and Brad Listorti are still on the NY Jets practice squad.


I bought a Hadrosaur rib at a rock shop yesterday. Never grew out of Dinosaurs.

The Post office still has not found all the hiking equipment Mrs. Blog and I mailed to ourselves at General Delivery Santa Fe...

UPDATE: This is your Hadrosaur news for today.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday morning 09/22/08

Mrs. Blog and I will be staying a week in historic Santa Fe, now home to the artsy-craftsy and, like most towns in the Southwest, explosive growth. In the old days we camped in a KOA not far from the center of town. Now Rt 84 going north out of Santa Fe has six lanes.


The Boston Herald reports that UMass is ready for some time off.

The UMass Daily Collegian has a story here .

Matty Vautour has a Texas Tech game article here. He has some comment here .

UMass took some injuries in the Texas Tech game.


So far we've played four teams, three of them on the road. In case your missed it, JMU beat Appalachian State . They might be the #1 team in FCS/I-AA. Texas Tech is now a top ten team in most NCAA polls.

Albany played another strong game against a CAA team as they were leading UNH in the third quarter.

Holy Cross dropped a one point loss to Havard after leading most of the game.

We've played a pretty tough schedule so far. Next up is the Blue Hens. They had trouble on Saturday.

Delaware lost to Furman . K.C. Keeler was not happy.

Update: David Coulson has an article on the JMU-Appalachian game.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Morning stuff

The Boston Globe has an article here. The Herald has an game article here .

The Sports Network here .

The Dallas News here .

This article about the Red Raiders shutting Down the UMass offense hits close to the mark. has a article here .

This story from the Star-Telegram has a nice shot of Anthony Rouzier getting held.

The UMass athletic site has the story, quotes and notes.

News, notes and quotes from the Red Raiders side.


I left my camera USB cable in New Hampshire. Mrs. Blog and I are headed for Santa Fe for about a week. I'll stop at a camera store and have them copy my images to a CD-ROM or my thumb drive so that I can do a web album.

Something I've never encountered before------Texas Tech has rule on how long a lens you can bring into the stadium. I had my 28-135 on my camera, but I almost brought my 70-300, which would not have passed. It would have been a bummer to come all that way and not have any images.


There's Prairie Dogs in the lawn of my motel. A couple of women and some kids with a bunch of equipment were trying to capture the Dogs to relocate them. I shoulda brought my .243. I could have relocated them for free.


High praise for the Lubbock road system. For $10 I parked on some lady's lawn across from the stadium. I took a left and a right and I was on University Road. That took me to a loop highway that circles Lubbock and I was on my way back to Plainview. All this took far less time than a trip from Amherst to Northampton on Rt 9. Remember there were 53,000+ fans and their cars getting out of the game....


I need to get some chicken-fried steak while I'm out here in the West. Can't get any back home.


Again, we played really, really hard. UMass made some mistakes that hurt us, but it was an effort to be proud of. I liked the hitting the defense brought. If we build on this, we could have a good year.


Just back from the game

Hey UMass fans, we played really hard. The defense hit hard all night. I'm proud of how much effort the UMass players put in. You should be too.

I was surprised that we were not able to get anything going on offense. Every time we seemed to get something going we would get a couple of penalties and that would be it.

It seemed as if Texas Tech had the ball the entire first half.

That play review thing is interesting too. The first quarter took an hour. For a while it looked like the game was going to midnight.

I thought UMass had recovered that fumble in the first half. That happened right in front of me. The Texas Tech kick returner caught the kickoff, tried to make a move and tripped over his own feet. I though he lost control of the ball on the way down. After a review that lasted forever, the refs overturned the call on the field. That and Brian Ellis dropping an interception that hit him right on the number, did if for us in the first half. Both those plays would have given us some momentum.

Sean Smalls did an excellent job on Michael Crabtree. He had five receptions and one TD on a two yard slant. Whoopee.

Again, nobody quit and Texas Tech going it on fourth down while up big, seemed to keep everybody from UMass working hard.

Had a good time talking with the friendly Red Raider fans. Good luck to them with the rest of their season. They are a very, very good football team.

If UMass can take that effort forward for the rest of the season, good things will happen for us.

GO UMass!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Game Day Taxas Tech

Good Morning from Plainview Texas. Well, we----and our luggage, survived three plane changes on the way to West Texas.

Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. Let's hope some of that carries over to the football field.

The Dallas Morning News has an article here .

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican here.

The Boston Globe has a game day here . A columnist from Amarillo doesn't think much of us or our chances.


The key to this game is our defense recovering its poise and execution. If we can recover some effectiveness on defense, we have enough talent to give Texas Tech a hard day on the practice field next week.

Mrs. Blog and I will be off (Hey, I heard that!), in a while to Lubbock to take in the campus and see the game. Hope all UMass fans will be listening and cheering for the Minutemen.

I may be back after the game depending on how wired or tired I am.

Go UMass!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Road Trip-----Texas Tech

Well, it's 38 degrees in the great Granite State this morning. Mrs. Blog and I will be flying out to Lubbock in a couple of hours. While loading up the truck for trip to the airport, I noticed all the neighborhood roofs are covered with frost.

As usual, I will try to publish the UMass Football Blog on the road. However, I've learned that accommodations having "high speed internet access" and having high speed internet access that actually works are two different things.

Should the Blog fall silent, be advised that I'll will be back as soon as I find a connection that works.

Hope to see some UMass fans at the game. I'll try to bring you UMass football news and a report from the game. Mrs. Blog and I are taking the opportunity to do some traveling in the Southwest, so I'll be road blogging for about a week and a half.

Go UMass!

One day before Texas Tech News

The Boston Herald has a UMass-Texas Tech article here .

The Daily Toreador has another here .

The Myrtle Beach has another game article here .

Jeff Thomas has an article about Victor Cruz.


The CAA has its league College Football Gameday page up.


While you are waiting for the Minutemen's 6:00 pm start, Villanova-Penn and Appalachian State-JMU are on CN8. Northeastern@ Syracuse will be on ESPN360 .


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two days before Texas Tech

The UMass Daily Collegian has Texas Tech article here . Another Collegian article here .

Red Raiders coach Mike Leach is using "Extreme measures to motivate his team".

Texas Tech's OL tries to lighten the mood.

The Daily Toreador has an article about UMass QB Liam Coen. has an article on the UMass secondary.


Woah! Techicnal details on the new UMass Stadium audio system here .


The Sprots Network has their weekly "Around FCS" article here .


A list of this week's FCS TV games is here .


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Morning stuff

The weekly CSN All-Stars include two players we've already had the pleasure of meeting.

The Sports Network also has Landers as its National Offensive player-of-the-week.

Matty Vautour has an article about Sean Calicchio's status for the Texas Tech game.

Now we know what happened to Mike Vaz.

UPDATE: Keepers has Texas Tech by 34+.

Texas Tech Guest Blogger Seth C.

Today we have the pleasure of meeting Seth C. who runs the top Texas Tech Blog "Double T Nation". Seth has agreed to answer some questions about his team and the Red Raiders meeting with UMass.

First off, welcome to the UMass Football Blog! It seems as if UMass always hits FCS/I-A teams when they are on a roll. All the pundits are saying that this is the Red Raiders break through year in the Big 12. Is it?

DTN: Thanks for having me, I'm looking forward to the game.

There's actually quite a bit of debate about whether or not this is a true statement. One camp thinks that we're seeing signs of the same old Texas Tech (good offense, no defense) and then there's the camp that thinks there's been some improvement on defense (still giving up yards, but being stingy with points). Personally, I'm in the latter camp. I can see the improvement. However, this year, the offense has struggled a bit, despite returning almost the entire group from last year and a quarterback, Graham Harrell, who is in his 3rd year starting in this system, something hasn't happened under the Mike Leach era. I'm cautiously optimistic that this is the year that Texas Tech breaks through to grab a BCS bowl game, but I'm not holding my breath.

#2. Spread offenses are going viral all over college football. Texas Tech runs a passing version of the spread. Could you describe it to us?

DTN: Starting with the offensive line, the linemen split anywhere between 3' and 6' apart, and average 6'6" and 320 pounds, or so. Typically, the quarterback (Graham Harrell) is in the shotgun with a running back to the quarterback's left or right. The receivers are, in order from the quarterback position (left to right):

- X Receiver (Edward Britton)

- H Receiver (Eric Morris)

- Y Receiver (Detron Lewis)

- Z Reciever (Michael Crabtree)

The H and Y receivers are the inside receivers while the X and Z receivers are lined up outside.

The receivers will run general routes, but will adjust based on the coverage.

#3. It's always fun to see a really great player even if we are on the receiving end of his play. Everybody is saying Michael Crabtree is the best WR in college football. What makes him different? Speed? Hands?

DTN: I think the thing that separates Michael Crabtree from most receivers is his size (6'3"/215). He's just so much bigger than most cornerbacks in today's college game, and that is a decided advantage. I've also always thought that Crabtree, a quarterback in high school, sees the field so much better than most receivers, sort of like a good point guard, he sees the play develop and makes adjustments accordingly. The one flaw that I've seen thus far is when teams get physical with Crabtree at the line of scrimmage, making it difficult for him to stay on his route. Being that this is essentially his second year at receiver, he's still learning some of the nuances of the receiver position and I think he's gotten better as defenses have game-planned for him.

#4. What kind of defense does Texas Tech run? What players should UMass fans look for?

DTN: Texas Tech runs a base 4-3 defense and thus far, it's been pretty vanilla. Ruffin McNeill took over in the middle of the year last year and we thought that we might see more blitzes and stunts, but thus far, we just haven't seen it. As far as specific players are concerned, the defensive line rotates 9 players and they essentially see equal time. Defensive end McKinner Dixon has been coming on lately, while middle linebacker Brian Duncan may be the most steady linebacker at Texas Tech in quite some time. Daniel Charbonnet, 3 interceptions against SMU, has been pretty good at the strong safety position, while Jamar Wall, a preseason All-Big 12 pick, has improved after a shaking first 2 weeks.

#5. The largest crowd UMass ever played before was 51,221 in 2002 at North Carolina State. Will Texas Tech fans break that record for us?

DTN: Last week against SMU there was an announced crowd of 53,383 and all of the season tickets have been sold out. The Texas Tech fans are ready for a winner and they're showing up in droves. I think the UMass game is almost a sell out, if it isn't already, so yes, I think the record gets broken.

#6. Any final thoughts about the game? We appreciate your stopping in!

DTN: I'm interested to see how well UMass rebounds after a tough loss by James Madison (who if I recall is one of the better FCS teams). Texas Tech has been running the ball quite well over the last three weeks (shocking, I know) and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see both the two Texas Tech running backs, Baron Batch and Shannon Woods, continue to get 10 carries each, and Leach looks to continue to run the ball.


Special thanks to Seth for sharing taking the time his thoughts with us. Mrs. Blog and I have camped a lot in Texas and we always liked the friendly Texans. Hope to meet a bunch of good folks at the game.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Texas Tech Preview

On Saturday UMass plays its annual BCS/I-A game. It's a challenge this year as we play Texas Tech----- currently ranked at or near the Top Ten in most ranking services

UMass game notes (html) and notes (pdf)

Texas Tech's official football page . Texas Tech's UMass game notes here (pdf)

The UMass game is sold out (at end of article).

The Red Raiders belong to the Big Twelve.

Texas Tech's head coach is Mike Leach. He's the Mickey Matthews of the Big Twelve. The Red Raiders are 3-0 and they beat their last opponent 42-7 and Leach says he's disappointed in their play.

Just to show what all that TV and Big Twelve league money will buy, check out the Red Raiders strength and conditioning center.

ESPN's Texas Tech page here .'s Red Raider page here.

The best of the Red Raider fan sites is "Double T Nation". That site has links to nine Texas Tech fan sites and a ton of Big Twelve links.


When you talk Red Raiders, you're talking offense. Texas Tech has had fifteen straight non-losing season in the Big Twelve. Head Coach Mike Leach is 65-37 in one of the toughest leagues in BCS/I-A.

The Red Raiders spread the field and throw the ball. Last year they threw the ball 713 times with 512 completions for 5,705 yards and 48 TD's.

This year their QB Graham Harrell, in three games, is 159-99 62.3 average 1,346 yards and averages 448.7 yards/game. That's good enought to lead the Big Twelve in passing.

Their star receiver is Michael Crabtree. He set three NCAA receiving records as a freshman. Crabtree is leading the Big Twelve with 24 catches for 395 yards 5 TD's and 131.7 yards/game. He should be------but probably won't, with the bias towards QB's, a Heisman candidate.

The Red Raiders usually don't rush much, but his year they have done better averaging 135 yards/game and a 5.5 yards a carry average.

Defense has been the Red Raiders weak point in past years and they're 10th in total defense in the Big Twelve. And they have been playing the "soft' section of their schedule.


Tomorrow Texas Tech Blogger Seth Jungman will have some detailed information about Texas Tech and share his thoughts about the game in a special pre-game "Question-and-answer' session here on our blog.


My Thoughts on the Game:

Well, Eastern Washington gave the Red Raiders a pretty good game . They played the game that I hoped UMass would play when I was thinking about Texas Tech pre-season.

Well, we all know what has happened in 2008. Our rebuilt offense took one game to get in sync, but since then has been running on all cylinders despite injuries in the offensive line.

The UMass defense, the defense that held Matt Ryan and the BC Eagles to 323 total yards, has suddenly lost focus. Originally, I had hope for a Boston College result against Texas Tech.

Our lost focus is a bad omen for a game against a team like Texas Tech. Against Bryant later this year, UMass will run it between the tackles in the second half. The Red Raiders are not going to stop scoring.

I do think UMass' offense can move the ball against the Red Raiders. We have at least as much offensive talent as Eastern Washington. We can hope to score and burn some clock time to keep the score respectable.

If our defense, especially the secondary, a number of whom had NFL dreams before this season can recover, this would be an excellent time to do so.

Hopefully, we'll play really hard against a tough BCS team, use that to improve and make a good run in the CAA.

Anyway, I'm there win or lose. Go UMass!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Morning Madness

The Boston Herald has an article about the passing game here .

The JMU student newspaper "The Breeze" has a game article here .

The Harrisonburg Daily Record has an article titled "JMU pounds UMass".

Matty Vautour has three stories" "Dukes run over Minutemen", "A rare whipping for UMass"and "A bittersweet day for Victor Cruz".

CSN has its weekly "FCS Recap" here .

The CAA has the season statistics up.

The Good:
  • Liam Coen is 1st in pass efficiency
  • Tony Nelson leads the league with 120.7 yards/game
  • Victor Cruz leads all CAA receivers with 117.0 yards/game
  • Brett Arnold leads all CAA punters with 46.7 ave
  • 1st in red zone scoring
  • 1st in first downs
The Bad:
  • 11th in rushing defense
  • 11th in scoring defense
  • 8th in total defense
  • 12th in time of possession (are we scoring quickly or is the defense letting the opposition keep the ball?)
  • 11th in kickoff returns
  • 10th in turnover margin

Keepers power rankings drop us to #10.


Tomorrow I'll be doing a Texas Tech preview and the following day we'll have a "Guest Blog" from Texas Tech blogger Seth Jungman who writes the "Double T Nation".

The weather in Lubbock looks beautiful all week. Mrs. Blog and I fly out Friday from Manchester.

Go UMass!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday morning articles

The Boston Globe here and the Boston Herald here .

Worcester Telegram here .

Richmond Times here .

Springfield Republican here .

Harrisonburg Daily News here . WHSV here .

Staunton News Leader here .


Maybe, just maybe we've played three very good teams in a row.

Albany beat Hofstra.

The CAA news page has writeups on all the CAA teams here .


Texas Tech scorched SMU 43-7.


The Texas Tech stadium after hurricane Ike (stolen from the excellent Texas Tech fan blog Double-t Nation)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

UMass run over by landers

Even Blogger is acting up on me. I only have partial functionality, so bear with me.


Well, that was something. That was one of the most amazin' games I've seen.

The Bad:

Rodney Landers ran 26 times for 206 yards with nearly an 8 yards/carry average.

How many times did the offense bring us back to seven points down? Two, three? The defense continues to be the worst tackling unit in my memory. We are still throwing shoulders at opponents and they are just shrugging us off.

The Good:

The offense played well enough to win. We had more total yards and first downs than JMU did.

Victor Cruz had a historic day. He had the best single game receiving total in UMass history with 262 yards. He didn't just break the record he shattered it. He also tied Jimmy Moore and Brandon London for most catches in a single game.

His 20.15 yards/per catch for the game is not even in the record books. That also places him 6th in the CAA All-time single game yardage record, just behind Marques Coulson's 267 yards against Liberty in 2003.


UMass athletic dept report here .

JMU story here .

UMass-JMU game Open Comment Thread

Today, I'll be here at UMass Football Blog Central Control watching the game (hopefully) on internet video.

College football quote for the day:

"At Georgia Southern, we don't cheat. That costs money and we don't have any" - Erk Russell, Georgia Southern

Ahem, Go UMass!!! Beat the Dukes!

UPDATE: I cannot get the CN8 video feed to work. I can get UNH-Rhode Island video from with Internet Explorer. The link shows the UMass-JMU game available at 3:45. There is no audio however..

Game Day---James Madison

Man, I hate not going to the games. Mrs. Blog and I have a lot tradition of going to away games. Most of the CAA games are in places that allow me to go the game and incorporate some shopping or something for Mrs. Blog. But, since I'm going to Texas Tech, there was not really time for a trip to Harrisonburg. Still waiting for the game at home makes me hyper.


Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a game day article here .

The Harrisonburg has something to talk about . WNSV has an article here .

Matty Vautour has a game day article here .

The Boston Globe has an article on New England College teams here .

The UMass website has a story on how WCAP 980 AM Lowell has rejoined the UMass Sports Network. They give a lot of additional coverage. Now, UMass needs a Berkshire station. There are a lot of UMass fans in the Pittsfield area.


BTW, Northeastern continues its tradition of killer OOC schedules with a trip to Georgia


The CAA game day page covers today's games. TV coverage starts on CN8 at Noon with UNH at Rhode Island.


UPDATE: One of the college football blogs I link to "Saturday Soundoffs", just went silent. If you want to check out anything in that blog, better do so now as I'll be taking the link down shortly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The-Day-before-the-JMU-Game stuff

It's often said that the CAA South is better than the CAA North. The truth is James Madison is better than the CAA North.

From the CAA Press Guide:

North Vs South
(from 2004)

UMass 9-3 .750
UNH 7-5 .583
Maine 6-6 .500
Hofsta 5-7 .417
Northeastern 4-8 .333
Rhode Island 3-9 .250

South Vs North (also from 2004)

JMU 11-1 .917
Richmond 8-4 .667
William & Mary 6-6 .500
Delaware 6-6 .500
Villanova 5-7 .417
Towson 2-10 .167

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- has a story that Jamil Sullivan 5-9 205 will start for Eugene Holloman in Saturday's game against UMass. He's out with a bruised thigh. Sullivan will be playing with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

DRN online has a story about UMass Liam Coen from the JMu perspective.

Matty Vautour writes a story about the showdown between Coen and JMU QB Rodney Landers.

He has another story about UMass punter Brett Arnold's improved play this year. Vautour says that UMass freshman Allen Williams has drawn the assignment of being "Rodney Landers" on the scout team.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a story about Travis Trupica's taking over the long snapper position.


ROFL! The National Championship Issue (via the Wizard of Odds) has a graphic on "How to argue about college football".


CSN columnist Bruce Down has another excellent essay on the second week in the CAA.


And things were not good at Army after their loss to UNH last week.

UPDATE: Things are getting uglier at Army. Two of their top players quit the team and the Academy after the UNH loss.

The Sporting News has their top 25 FCS predictions here .


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Morning Info

The UMass Daily Collegian says that the defense wants to step it up against JMU. The Collegian also has a JMU game article here.

From the JMU side, the Richmond Time-Dispatch has an article here .

The James Madison student newspaper has a game article here .


David Coulson has his weekly FCS column "Around FCS" here .


Keepers has the UMass-JMU game essentially even.


The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal has an article about Texas Tech QB Graham Harrel's struggles this season.

Oh, and you heard next year's Big Twelve team Kansas State beat FCS/I-AA team Montana State 69-10 last week, right?


CSN has a list of FCS/I-AA TV and streaming internet games for this weekend.


Matty Vautour has a blog entry listing UMass' and JMU's records against top ten FCS teams.


The SME website covers FCS/I-AA football.


The CSN fan page only lists eight FCS/I-AA football blogs -------- and one of those is run by a newspaper.
FYI the is the UMass Football Blog's 2,156 blog post since June of 2005....


Human nature is a funny thing. In one of my previous posts I had two news items. One was a story mentioning that a player who had signed a LOI to UMass had been named the MVP of a high school All-Star game. The other was that UMass was interested in, but had not signed a player that had some minor legal problems. There were zero comments on the sure good thing and over a dozen about possible bad thing.

There has been a lot of comment about some of UMass' struggles this year, but no one has mentioned UMass' slick two-minute drive to win the game at Holy Cross. See this article from Smart Football about clock management and why spiking the ball is nearly always a bad idea.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

James Madision Preview

Saturday we play James Madison in what should be the top game in FCS/I-AA football.


JMU game notes here (html) and here (.pdf). James Madison message board here .

UMass' game notes here (html) and here (pdf)

The game will the televised live on CN8. Live CN8 internet video feed here (requires windows Media Player).


Some UMass-JMU game articles:


James Madison is 1-1 for the season.

The Dukes QB is Rodney Landers. For the season he is 17-26-1 133.8 efficiency 65% 215 yards and 1 TD. He was 4-9 for 51 yards and 1 INT against Duke.

JMU's top receivers are TE Mike Caussin and Kerby Long they have a combined total of 8 catches for 99 yards.

JMU does not care about passing. Their strength and passion is their running game. The Dukes have a stable of outstanding running backs. JMU returns 8 of 11 starters on offense this year.
  • Eugene Holloman 5-11 185. He has 27 carries for 144 yards 5.3 yards/carry. He has a bruised thigh and may not play.
  • Griff Yancey 5-10 195. Yancey has 9 carries for 83 yards 9.2 yards/carry and 2 TD's. Anybody named Griff has got to be a good player. He was the second leading rusher for the Dukes in 2007 with 665 yards.
  • Corwin Acker 5-10 200. Acker has 11 carries for 69 yards 6.3 yards/carry 1 TD.
  • QB Rodney Landers 6-1 220 can run. He had 16 carries for almost 100 yards (including a 47 yard TD run) against Duke.
On Defense, the Dukes are led by their secondary.
Game Outlook:

Tough to get a read on the Dukes so far. Everybody (including this Blogger) expected them to do better well against Duke. They ended up having only 13 first downs and 239 yards of total offense. One game against a FBS team and one game against an outmatched opponent will not present an accurate picture of the Duke's capabilities.

They blew out North Carolina Central as they should have. Keepers has NCCU ranked 112 of 125 FCS teams.

JMU stadium holds 15,500 and it should be sold out for the game. Crowd factor should be heavily in the Dukes favor.

UMass will have to stop their running game. I highly doubt that they can beat us passing. UMass played well against Albany's run oriented attack (in the second half). If we can get some three-and-outs, we should do well on offense.

We will need to cover better on kickoffs. The Dukes KR Scotty McGee CB 5-9 180 has 5 returns for 157 yards and a 31.4 average.

Go UMass!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Coen wins CAA & National Honors

Liam Coen won National FCS Offensive Player of the Week by the Sports Network.

He was also CAA Offensive Player-of-the-week .

As a bonus, Julian Talley was CAA Rookie-of-the-week for his four catches that gained 71 yards against Holy Cross.

The UMass Athletic Web site has an article about both of them here .

Coen appeared on the CAA teleconference and it's worth reading.

Coen also get a mention over on Josh Buchanan's "Small School Insider Report".

Matty Vautour has an article about Coen's awards and some CAA news here .


In a previous blog post I mentioned Armando Cuko's productivity as a field goal kicker. He has two game winning kicks in seven total field goals.

Several other UMass players also have high productivity ratios. Joe Stanford has three TDs in six total catches.

Ian Jorgensen has six career TD's out of 22 career catches. He's one for two so far this year.


Only one UMass-JMU article so far. It's here . Duke fans are saying on message boards that the game is sold out. If that's true, then there are two sellouts (Texas Tech and JMU) on the road. It's a testament to UMass' drawing power as a football opponent.


UPDATE: Whatever problems UMass may have are dwarfed by the problems of the Idaho Vandals. First they lost to Arizona 0-70, then everybody is making fun of their uniforms.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday morning stuff 09/08/08

The Boston Herald has another article about the "most exciting game between UMass and Holy Cross in thirty years".

Matty Vautour has a game article here . He has another "Offense clicks, but the defense needs work".

UPDATE: Jeff Thomas has some thoughts on the Holy Cross game.

UPDATE II: The UMass Daily Collegian has an article here .
Fordham-URI was delayed until Sunday because of the Hurricane. Fordham won 16-0 in a game that Rhody only managed -26 yards rushing.

Maine struggled against Monmouth.

The New Hampshire Football Report has more articles on the Wildcats victory over Army.

It will be interesting to see how Hofstra plays at Albany this week. Only two games into the 2008 season and it looks like UMass and UNH are again going to be the class of the CAA North.


CSN has a long article recapping this week's FCS action.


Keepers jumps UMass to #2 in his weekly FCS power rankings.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Holy Cross game comments and Picasa Web album

Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

Let's start the good. Liam Coen and his receivers were in sync this week. With Holy Cross putting eight-in-box to stop Tony Nelson (who still made 84 yards, 3.7 yards/carry and 2 TDs), Coen shot down the Crusaders with completions to seven different receivers.

Note that we scored 45 points and we had the ball for almost exactly ten minutes less (24:59 to 35:01) than Holy Cross. We also fumbled on one position while driving for a score.

Jeremy Horne had 10 catches for 172 yards and 2 TDs. That one game ties him with six other UMass receivers for 8th place in the all-time single game receiving record book.

After seemingly waiting since the last Ice Age for him to get on the field, Victor Cruz had 5 catches for 89 yards. A couple of those were nice receptions.

Octavious Hawkins had one catch for 23 yards.

The latest iteration of the offensive line again did not allow a sack. And nobody was cramping up in the humid 80 degree weather. Four hundred sixty eight yards of offensive was a credit to the OL.

The kickers were again superb. Brett Arnold averaged 44 yards/punt. Armando Cucko won his second game in seven field goals. He crushed the game winning kick after ignoring three attempsts to ice him. Cuko also averaged 56 yards/kickoff in the heavy air.

The game winning drive was very nicely done. Starting with 2:22 minutes to play, UMass drove 36 yards in 11 plays to the Holy Cross 25. Tony Nelson set the kick by centering the ball on his last carry.

The Bad was available in large quantities. Tackling continued to be an elusive skill for the defense. Holy Cross had 27 first downs and controlled the clock. The Crusaders had 126 yards rushing. On all those possessions and offense, the UMass defense was around the ball, but did not close on the receiver or did not wrap up. Dominic Randolph's longest completion was only 26 yards.

The defensive intensity did improve in the second half, but if we play that way against Texas Tech, they are going to score like a stuck pinball machine.

The UMass also had at least four instances when the defensive player got his hands on the ball, but did not make the interception. A couple of positive plays in the first half would stopped all the drama in the second.

The special teams flat out did not play well. Holy Cross had a combined 244 yards in punt and kickoff returns. UMass might want to consider playing more of their regulars on special teams.

Other notes: The announced crowd of 12,000+ seemed a little generous. UMass had a big turnout. We had at least 40% of the total crowd.

I have a forty image Picasa Web album here . The images were taken with my point-and-shoot because I was worried about the weather. About 20 minutes after the game, it was raining torrents.

Holy Cross is a good team. We may have beaten our second straight 2008 conference champion.

Go UMass! Beat the Dukes!