Monday, June 30, 2008

Bob Behler leaves UMass for Boise State

With some sadness, we report that the voice of UMass football, Bob Behler has accepted a job at Boise State.

We'll miss his calls of UMass football as well as his interviews on the athletic dept site.

Good luck to Bob in beautiful Idaho.

UPDATE: As you know Mrs. Blog and I just returned from a vacation in Wyoming and Idaho. These images were taken on June 10th and 11th.

UPDATE II: Comment by Matty Vautour here .

UPDATE III: Springfield Republican has an article here .

UPDATE IV: Seven Boise State articles here. BTW, the Boise State football team is here .

The Wisdom of the Blog---Part IV Offensive line

Well, we had the biggest turnout of votes (92) so far for the offensive line. The OL will be a critical unit in the success of the 2008 Minutemen.

We will have three new starters as Matt Austin, Nick Diana and Chris Hopkins have graduated.

Looking at the 2007 player participation page, only Ben Coblyn (played 9 games, started 2) and graduated Biff Gotteherer (played 5 games, started 1) had any playing time in 2007.

I would think that UMass would retain Sean Calicchio and Valdimir Ducasse at tackle.

In the Spring Ben Coblyn and Josh Samuda were the first team left and right guards respectively. John Ihne was the starting center.

The return of Kevin Macon may juggle the starting lineup. If Macon is available and is playing up to his potential, I would think UMass would find a place for him on the starting line.

Samuda has played a lot at center. He could be moved there. I see Ben Coblyn keeping his slot at guard. Most of the competition for a starter's position should be at center and right guard.

Based on the votes in the poll, it looks like the Blog Community believes Rob Getek and Brian Ostaszewski are the top reserves this year.

Redshirt Freshman Michael Binkowski, RS Sophomoer Mike Boyle, RS Freshman Justin Sawicki and senior transfer Chauncey Incarnato will provide depth.

This is a OL squad with "length" as seven UMass offensive linemen are 6-5 or better.

I'm looking for a great year from the OL. I believe there is a great deal of talent and heart in the unit. Go UMass!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Coulson looks at FCS quarterbacks in 2008

Sporting News columnist David Coulson takes a look at the state of quarterbacking in FCS/I-AA for 2008 in his latest article.

He mentions eight QB's that UMass will see in this year's schedule or reside in the CAA.

National Rankings:
  • #3 Dominic Randolph. UMass jumps right into the stack with a second game meeting with the Crusaders. Randolph was also named a pre-season All-American. In our 2007 meeting Randolph threw 62 (!) times and had 32 completions for 296 yards and two TD's.
  • #6 Rodney Landers. Right after Holy Cross, UMass will meet JMU in the third game of the season. That clash at Mauch stadium should go a long way in deciding the CAA championship and should be one of FCS' top games in 2008. Landers played on special teams in 2005 when UMass won.
  • #11 Anton Young. Young was injuried and DNP in last year's UMass-Villanova four overtime game at McGuirk. Young and Whitney should give the Wildcats one of the deepest QB corps in FCS in 2008.
  • #13 Sean Schaefer. Like Liam Coen, Schaefer was slowed by injuries in 2007. UMass did an excellent job against Schaefer in 2007 holding him to 44-27- 262 yards 0 TDs and three INTs.
  • #20 Josh Skelton. In last year's playoff game against UMass, Skelton threw for 46-28-1 281 yards and 3 TDs. Fordham is my pick to win the Patriot League, and we could well see Skelton again in 2008. Skelton was named the Ram's MVP for 2007.
New Starters:
  • #1 R. J. Tolman. Rival New Hampshire starts life without Ricky Santos.
UMass fans should get to see a great selection of the best quarterbacks in the FCS Division in 2008. And that's not counting Texas Tech's Graham Harrell who was just named to the BCS Division's Unitas List.

Should be a great year to be a UMass fan and someone who loves College Football!

Friday, June 27, 2008

NFL Draft Scout tracks 16 UMass players

NFL Draft Scout's "UMass Players to watch" page has sixteen players plus detailed biographies of Sean Smalls, Liam Coen and Courtney Robinson.

Each player has a link page with varying amounts of information.

Let's parse the list by class. Eight UMass seniors, seven juniors and one Sophomore. My links are to the UMass athletic dept bios.

Liam Coen is ranked #8 in FCS/I-AA QBs

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Changes in FCS in 2008

Making the FCS/I-AA playoffs is one of the most difficult tasks in college sports. With only 16 teams out of 104 (2008) making the cut, it's one of the highest barriers in college play.

Two teams that may make life more difficult for established FCS/IAA teams are North Dakota State (10-1 in 2007) and South Dakota State (7-4 in 2007).

Both teams join the renamed Missouri Valley Conference (ex-Gateway).

NDSU beat two I-A teams in 2007. They crushed MAC champion Central Michigan 44-14 and also handled Big Ten team Minnesota 27-21. They also played a who's-not-who selection of FCS/I-AA teams including Stephen F. Austin (0-11), Southern Utah (0-11), Illinois State (0-11) and Mississippi Valley State (3-8)

SDSU played a toughter FCS/I-AA slate and finished 7-4.

Winston-Salem is in their second year in the MEAC. The Rams went 6-5 last year in their first year in FCS/I-AA.

Presbyterian Blue Hose will play in the Big South this year.

North Carolina Central plays an independent slate in 2008.

The Central Arkansas Bears will play their third year in the Southland conference.

UMass 2008 opponent Bryant begins its first year in FCS/I-AA on the way to the Northeast Conference.

And lastly Savannah State will play as an independent in 2008

UPDATE: South Dakota officially joins Division I

UPDATE II: So did North Dakota State.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

As others see us

This year's FBS/I-A opponent Texas Tech has an excellent fan blog called "Double T Nation".

In today's post he has a link to a video recap of the Texas Tech-Northwestern State game from last year. The Red Raiders won 75-7.

Key quote from clueless local reporter "The Northwestern State Demons are not from the Big Twelve. They're not even Division I"

Signs of Football

The Wizard of Odds has a post on the first appearance of odds on the August 28th and 30th college football games. He never misses a chance to dis FCS/I-AA football, but I thought the odds were interesting.

Remember, betting odds are not an indication of the relative strength of the two teams. The odds are what the book has to set to attract equal bets on both sides (and thereby making money no matter which side wins). I learned a long time ago not to bet on sports.

Some of the odds.
  • JMU +2 @ Duke
  • Appalachian State +23 @ LSU
  • Villanova +35 @ West Virginia
  • Eastern Washington +33 @ Texas Tech
  • Maine +22 @ Iowa

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FBS to FCS transfers

So far, we have not heard any news about UMass getting any FBS/I-A transfers in the spring semester.

Lots of activity elsewhere in in the Division.
UPDATE: Samford adds a QB.

UPDATE II: Another article on Ohio State QB Henton.

UPDATE III: Indiana State (0-11 last year) adds a QB who had 11 police citations in eighteen months at his last school.

UPDATE IV: Appalachian State gets a VA Tech transfer.

UPDATE V: Duquesne has a QB from Michigan State.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wisdom of the Blog Part III --- DL

Well, that poll reeked. One day after I set up the defensive linemen poll, UMass published a revised roster that pretty much made the poll meaningless.

First, two members of the poll were not on the revised roster list. Gone were Corey Eason and Jonathan Richard. Eason got the most votes (56) in the poll. Andrew Kervis is now listed as a tight end.

And I screwed up by not including Sophomore transfer Raymond Jones, who probably will see playing time in '08.

The remaining DL's got the following votes:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Consolidated Preseason Poll

College Sporting News has a "master' poll, which averages the rankings of other FCS/I-AA polls.

UMass currently has a consolidated poll rank of 8th in the Division. That may change when more polls come out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

UMass recruit Darren Thellen does well at Shriners Game

UMass bound DB Darren Thellen played well at the Shriners Football Classic last night.

More on the Shriners game here .

UMass recruit Julian Colarusso also played in the game. He's mentioned here .

UPDATE: Another Shriners game article here (also mentions Thellen).

UPDATE II : Another article from 06/25/08 here .

Friday, June 20, 2008

Recruiting 2010 --OL/DL Teddy Reed

Teddy Reed (6-4 260) a Boston Globe All-Scholastic has decided on a prep year at Deerfield Acadamy.

Has an offer from Northeastern and recruiting interest from Delaware, UNH and UMass.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keeper's preseason top 25

Keeper's college football ratings has a preseason top-25 here. UMass is rated #5.

Keeper is one of the very few college stat guys who covers FCS/I-AA football.

Like most mathematical models, the ratings get better at the end of the season.

A couple of vaguely related football items

As you know, the only non-football related link in my blog is to Dave Barry's column in the Miami Herald. He has recently scouted the Miami Dolphins.

Key quote:"The Dolphins lost 15 games and won only one, which I believe was against Princeton."

In what the rest of the world wrongly calls football, Austria beat Germany 10-5 in girls soccer game----topless. Sorry guys, link is totally work safe.

Stadium Lighting Progress

UMass has a story up about the status of the lighting project at McGuirk.

Bob McGovern in his excellent UMass all-sports blog has more details about that project and renovations at the UMass LAX facility here .

I'll be down to McGuirk in a week or so and I'll get some images for the blog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sports Blogging

The Associated Press has been threating Bloggers with lawsuits for publishing a quote (some were as few as 17 words) and then including a link to the original article.

I guess I won't be linking to any AP sports news articles. Don't understand AP's thinking on this. Blogging is all about getting people to visit your site. If Bloggers are linking to AP news stories, then that would be a good thing for Associated Press. Right?

Now after an uproar by bloggers, AP has decided to charge bloggers $2.50/word to quote from one of their articles.

OTOH, Sporting News is offering a free daily digital sports newspaper.

UPDATE: It was a bad week for freedom of the internet. I just got an e-mail from Verizon (my ISP) saying it will block thousands of newsgroups. Most other ISP's are going even further. More details here .

Roster Changes

The UMass Athletic Dept has a revised Spring Football Roster up.

Some pleasant surprises here!

  • Kevin Macon is back. He was a highly rated OL recruit who made the traveling squad as a true freshman. He should be mix for a starters position this year.
  • Kumar Davis is listed in the 2008 recruits. Davis had signed a LOI with UMass, but was not listed among the recruits on the February press release. He was a Rivals and Two star recruit. His addition makes a strong 2008 recruiting class even stronger.
  • Jared Chivers---A former scout teams player who was invited to join the regular roster in 2007 now joins in '08
  • Spencer Whipple-- Son of former UMass coach Mark Whipple. Adds a second left-handed QB to the UMass roster.
  • Theluxon Pierre--Former UMass LOI recruit spent two years with Dean Junior College. Should make the DL even deeper.
  • Andrew Kervis-- has been moved to TE as reported in several blog comments.
As far as I can see, there were no deletions from the roster list given out at the Spring Game. The addition of Kevin Macon and Kumar Davis adds two highly rated players to the 2008 UMass football squad.

Go UMass!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Article on potential FCS-BCS upsets in 2008

Check out Adam Nettina's ongoing column on potential FCS-over-BCS upsets in 2008.

Adam is a quality writer on college football. He also produces a lot of original material.

He is currently doing some work for In The Bleachers.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Revised "small school" NFL draft picks

Josh Buchanan over at Daft Daddy has revised his list of "Top fifty small school NFL draft prospects". Scroll after the link to reach the list.

He has Sean Smalls as #20 and Ben Coblyn as #36, both have risen since he last published.

There has not been much UMass news on the wires the last couple of days and I have been too tired to produce any orginal content. It's been a busy couple of days on vacation. We're flying home this morning in a couple of hours.

There's some stuff coming up at the blog you'll like. We'll be doing a tour of the UMass field house and the first ever prize contest on the UMass football Blog will be coming up soon ----but you'll have to do some work to win the prize!

As soon as I recover from my vacation :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

New Stuff from the UMass Athletic Dept.

The official UMass football page has a link to the 2007 video highlights.

It also has a link to this year's Don Brown football Camps.

Blog Notes: Under the "It's a small world Dept."----In Wednesday's blog post about defending the spread offense one of the articles was written by none other than Jerry Gordon former two-time UMass Captain and assistant coach.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recruiting Texas

On Tuesday we looked at an article about the state of college football recruiting in the State of California.

One of my favorite all-time UMass players was L.A. Love. He was from Bryan, TX.

This article talks about college recruiting in the State of Texas. Key Quote"With so much talent in the area and so few Division I scholarships, the players who use the summer wisely have a better chance at one of those coveted spots.

"There are over 1,200 high schools in Texas," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "And only about 350 kids a year get football scholarships, so the competition can be pretty stiff."

Maybe our visit to Texas Tech will give us a little exposure to some Texas players.

The Wisdom of the Blog---- Linebackers

Well, we're really consistent. We had 73 votes in the WR poll and we had 73 votes in the LB poll.

Looks like we think Anthony Rouzier, Andy Resende-Gomes and Darrlyn Fenner are the three LB's who will get the most time in the remaining LB slot.

Given Coach Brown's liking for defensive packages, I think we'll be seeing a lot of the remaining linebackers. We haven't seen much of Chad Arango, Johnny Evans, Anthony Monette and of course the JUCOS Terrance Farris and Kurt Filler. They all should be in the mix for the 2008 season.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Defending the Spread Offense

I've blogged about the spread offense before. The spread offense website has two articles about defending the spread here .

They also have a spread offense blog.

More on the spread offense from ESPN.

Image is from the NY Times.

VACATION UPDATE: It's snowing again here in Jackson Hole, forecast is for 4 to 6 inches tonight.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Update June 10, 2008

Well, I hear it's been hot back east. Here in Wyoming, yesterday was the first day of our vacation that it did not snow----but the forecast calls for snow tomorrow. We spent all day yesterday in Yellowstone. Great fun despite the weather.

On a football note: will California be the next great recruiting area for FCS football?

Key Quote:"It's a shame," says Dennis Farrell, commissioner of the Big West Conference for 16 years. "There are a lot of outstanding (high school) players in the state of California with nowhere to play at the collegiate level. It's a concern when the largest state in the country is down to this many teams."

UMass recruit RB Kumar Davis mentioned in Governor's Bowl

I've blogged before about UMass recruit Kumar Davis. He recently played and scored a TD in New York-New Jersey Governor's Bowl.

Newsday has a story here .

SuperPrep has another story here .

Burlington Conty Times has yet another here .

I'm looking forward to seeing him play for UMass!

Monday, June 09, 2008

UMass Recruit Sean O'Conner mentioned in All-Star Game

I've Blogged before about UMass OL recruit Sean O'Conner . He received a favorable mention in this write-up of the New York-New Jersey All-Star football classic.

Looking forward to seeing him play for UMass.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Matt Lawrence article

Things may be looking good for Matt Lawrence to make the Chicago Bears.

Another article about Benson's troubles here .

UPDATE: The odds just got better .


Looks like Coach Brown was ahead of the curve on defensive linemen.

Because (currently) the FCS playoffs are not seeded, first round playoff opponents are selected by geographical proximity. That means UMass would face a northeast team that is not a member of the CAA. That usually means a member of the Patriot league.

With the NEC being given an auto-bid by the NCAA starting in 2010, and sooner if the league champion meets certain criteria, UMass could be facing a steady stream of NEC teams in the first round of the playoffs.

USA today has a extensive writeup on Texas Tech (it's at the end of a long scroll) in this article. This quote may be at the heart of how our blitzing defense may fare against Texas Tech: "RB Shannon Woods had a good spring, though the battle for the starting spot remains uncertain heading into fall camp. What may separate Woods from the other three, though, is his blocking. Leach depends on his running backs to block when defenses try to blitz Tech's pass-happy offense. Leach emphasizes blocking as much as running from his backfield"

UPDATE: One of the Texas Tech's backs was suspended for the season.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Blog news from the road

Looks like I picked a good time to go on vacation. UMass football news continues to be light. While I'm on the road, I don't have access to the vast UMass Football blog archives, so we'll have to wait for some news for blogging material.

Some thoughts from Logan Utah:
  • The local paper still has Alley-Oop in the comics section
  • On our drive through Logan Canyon yesterday, we had some rain mixed with snow
  • You know on many rural roads people hit deer-----well on this road to Bear Lake someone hit an elk...
  • Football thought for the day----I-A opponent's Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell has passed for 10,260 yards and 86 TDs in the past two seasons.
We're off to Jackson Hole Wyoming. I'll check in from there. Go UMass!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Open comment thread day 06/06/08

Good Morning from beautiful Logan UT.

Doesn't seem to be much on the wires this morning, so why don't we go with an open comment thread. I'm getting excited about the coming season.

Mrs Blog and I are off to Logan's main post office to see if the hiking gear we mailed to ourselves made it...

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Blog publishing news

The Blog and Mrs. Blog are off on a 11 day trip out west.

I hope to "road blog" during our stay. Supposedly, internet connections are available where we are staying. However, I've learned in the past that having an internet connection and having an internet connection that works are two different things.

So, should the blog go silent, you know that I am without a connection and blog publishing will resume on June 17th.

Hopefully, all will go well and I'll be blogging from the great American West tomorrow morning.

Spencer Whipple to join UMass

Jeff Thomas reports that Spencer Whipple will be transferring to UMass this summer.

Nice to have the Whipple family involved in UMass again.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wednesday Morning Odds & Ends 06/04/08

Can our coaching staff make a quick phone call to this guy?

I've blogged before about A10 basketball foe UNCC starting football. I did not realize they wanted to go I-A quickly.

Delaware's opening game at Maryland will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

UMass coaches will be meeting and greeting local high school players at Northeastern's Football Camp.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The wisdom of the Blog--- WR's

Looks like the Blog readership likes Warren Wilson(27 votes) and Jeremy Horne (22 votes) as our two starting wideouts for 2008 based on the poll ending today.

For our third WR, the readership is pretty evenly split between Joe Sanford, Julian Talley and Victor Cruz. Ke'mon Bailey was just behind the pack.

Looks like we think WR's with low uniform numbers will rule in 2008!

A10 and football

As you have probably heard, the A10 has a new commissioner. Bob McGovern has the story over at the UMass All-Sports Blog "Between Mullins and McGuirk"

Our basketball friends are pretty obsessive and I wonder how they would react to this rumor that Temple (along with former I-AA team Western Kentucky and currently independent) is leaving the A10 for an all-sports membership in the MAC.

Temple has shown some life in the MAC and it would make sense for them to make the move. They were only in the A10 because the Big East's basketball teams froze them out.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jason Cherry kicks for the Huntington Heroes

Kudos to UMass Football Blog reader who left this link to a story about former UMass kicker Jason Cherry kicking for the Huntington Heroes Arena team. The original comment is in the Chris Koepplin blog post.

The Heroes web page is here .

Cherry's UMass bio page is still available here .

Jason's seven PAT's against Georgia Southern in 1998 is a UMass postseason PAT record that is likely to stand for some time.

UPDATE: Cherry also holds the record for the longest field goal in UMass postseason history (34 yards against Furman in 1999)