Sunday, August 31, 2008

Albany Game Report, Picasa Web Album & Thank You's

First, some thank you's are appropriate.

The UMass Athletic administration should take a bow. The Albany game was an event. McGuirk looked great under our new lights with our new sound system on our new field turf field. The fireworks were awesome. I bet a good 50% of the crowd stayed to watch the show after the game ended.

The UMass Marching Band was great for the umpteenth year. The band makes these halftime shows look easy------and it's not. Thanks for the great music.

The UMass cheerleaders were wonderful as usual. Speaking of making things look easy, that cheerleader that was ticking out those wide armed push ups, was in some serious good shape!

Special thanks to the 15,112 UMass and Albany fans who took in the game. The crowd made the atmosphere. That was the second largest opening crowd in UMass history. The UMass fans gave the team a nice hand as the game ended.

Consider these games:
  • Albany@UMass 15,112
  • Richmond@Elon (the FCS/I-AA game of the week) 10,842
  • Colgate@Stony Brook 5,808
  • Monmouth@ Rhode Island (the new version Rams open at home) 3,220
Take a bow, adminsitration, band, cheerleaders and fans. You were great!

Then there was the game. The good:

Tony Nelson was all he was cracked up to be and then some. He averaged 8.6 yards a carry. He rushed 20 times for 171 yards and one TD. Nelson didn't fumble the ball and he didn't cramp up. He was flat out the best UMass player on field.

Punter Brent Arnold (47.5 yard average) and kicker Armando Cuko (62.0 yard average) in their 2.0 version did really well. Cuko kicked the extra points half way to Sunderland and also hit his kickoffs well. In the still, humid air, Arnold boomed several punts. A little better coverage would have helped. If we could have downed one of those punts on one yard line, it would have really put some pressure on the Great Danes. JUCO Terrance Farris was close to the ball on special teams all game.

Ian Jorgensen made a great one handed catch for a TD.

UMass broke Korrey Davis' redshirt in the first game as he had seven carries for 19 yards.

And the bad:

UMass players were dropping like flies with cramps (which was not happening to Albany, BTW). The constant change in offensive linemen did not help the offense, which was limited to 16 first downs and 307 total yards. UMass had only 92 net yards passing and Liam was at an unheard of low for him with a 50% completion rate.

Our tackling in the first quarter was awful. It looked like we were trying to play flag football. We were whiffing on tackles all over the place. As the game went on, that improved. The defense began to get pressure on Esposito and the hitting picked up. McCarty still averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

Albany is a good team. They were 8-4 last year and undefeated in the NEC. They were also the unofficial Patriot League champs as they beat playoff bound Fordham 23-20. Albany has a definite chance of beating Hofstra, UNH or Delaware.

All in all, the first quarter was terrible, but we worked our way through it. On to Holy Cross.


The team was not the only ones not in game form. I left my image-stabilized zoom lens home and I was getting some serious blur in my images by the second half.

I made up a 54-image Picasa Web Album. It's here . Click on the "slide show" or view one-at-a-time.

Hope you enjoy the images.

Wisdom of the Blog --- Albany Game

The knowledgeable Blog community correctly picked the outcome of the Albany-UMass game.

UMass by 7 to 20 points collected the most votes with 51 and 43% of the vote cast.

I'll be back maybe later today with my thoughts on the game and a Picassa Web album from the contest. The web albums take a lot of time to edit and up load.

Hope to see everybody this evening with my rant and the images.

Go UMass!

Woah! New Sound speakers!

Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

The old "horn shaped" speakers have been at McGuirk since at least the early 70's. Another nice up-grade to McGuirk from the Athletic Dept.

McGuirk has new speakers! At last we have a clear sound system.

Kudos to the Athletic Dept (who apparently reads the Blog) for getting this done.

Anyone in the know have the technical details on these babies?

Albany game news

Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

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

The Worcester Telegram here . Another Telegram article here .

Schenectady Gazette has an article from the Albany side here and here . The Albany Times here.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an article with photos here .


UMass athletic dept write-up here .

Great Danes athletic dept write-up here .


UPDATE: The CAA has recaps for all the CAA games here .

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Game Day ---- Albany 08/30/08

The Boston Herald has a game day article here . Note that they report John Ihne has taken over the starting right guard position.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has another here .

From the Albany side, the Schenectady Times has one here . The Albany Times here . And the Capital News here .

Matty Vautour has a opening game story here . He recaps UMass' history of home night games here .

Matty has a blog entry on Brandon London hanging on with the Giants.

Marcel Shipp was cut by the Texans .

You will remember in a previous post I linked to an article stating we were receiving $450,000 for our Texas Tech game. This reporter says $475,000. This reporter says $300,000 (which is the figure I believe was quoted last year). These big time MSM reporters would not write a story without actually checking the facts would they?


The College Sporting News site is back up. Bruce Dowd's CAA opening week forecast is here .


The CAA's Game Day page has gone active .


The weather is supposed to be in the low 70's with 30% chance of showers. Winds light. Hourly forecast here .


Go UMass!

Friday, August 29, 2008

One Day until Football 0829/08

This is a very cool feature. Matty Vautour is re-running his weekly articles (with notes) from UMass' 1998 National Championship year. Game one with Delaware is here .

I vividly remember that game. When Whipple was hired, I attended his first UMass sports luncheon and Whipple made a famous comment that he would like to bring a championship to UMass. I also went to the 1998 Spring game and it was nothing special.

But then, in the opening game against Delaware, UMass was flying up and down the field. We had always struggled against Delaware's superior talent and we were just smoking their defense. WHMP's tiny 250 watt night time power barely reached Whatley and I had to listen to the game on WMUA. The student announcers were saying things like: "Dude! This is the best game I've ever seen!". The magic was on. And it has yet to leave the UMass football program.


Jeff Thomas of the Spring field Republican has an article about the season opener here .


The South Bend Tribune has an article about ex-Notre Dame players including Chauncey Incarnato in a story here .


Hofstra got crushed in its opening game against UConn.

Northeastern got crushed in its opening game against Ball State.

The CAA has recaps of both games on its news page .


UMass' Liam Coen is on the Sports Network's Walter Payton Watch List.


Speaking of the Sports Network, David Coulson has his week #1 predictions here .


I found this over on the college football site "The Wizard of Odds". If you attend a Washington State practice, you have to sign a nondisclosure wavier. One booster got banned from practice for publishing this crucial information:" Some players showed some serious fire ... I watched each line going through drills and there was absolutely no screwing around ... I personally really like this coaching staff ... [Ed] Donatell is first-class ... [Steve] Gervais is a total stud ... I really hope it stays intact from the head coach on down." Story here .

Makes me appreciate how far UMass Football has gone to accommodate the UMass Football Blog.


UPDATE: Reshaude Goodwin is back on the UMass roster.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two Days until football 08/28/08

Remember to listen to Coach Brown's show tonight live from the Hanger at 7:00 pm on WRNX.

UMass and Clear Channel have reached a three year agreement on broadcasting UMass Sports.


The Boston globe has a story about the UMass defensive secondary.


FCS and CAA football opens tonight as the Hofstra Pride visits the evil UConn Huskies.

The Hofstra game will be shown live at 7:30 tonight on SNY TV, which is available nationally on both Direct TV (channel 625) and Dish TV (channel 438). Comcast will also carry the game.

Meanwhile, the good Huskies (Northeastern) open their season tonight against Ball State. No TV but there is internet radio.

The CAA has lots of info on both games here .


Woah! Yesterday I returned home to find a pile of boxes that the UPS guy had left on my porch (Mrs. Blog is redecorating). Carelessly thrown on top was a white envelope from the UMass Athletic Dept.

In it were my Texas Tech tickets. We're in section 13 with end zone seats. Texas Tech has a neat feature that if you click on their stadium map, you get a view of the stadium from your seats. This is what I hope (God willing) to be taking images of in a couple of weeks.


Matty Vautour has an article on the UMass defense .


UMass football uses One Playbook software to manage contacts with UMass players and coaches.


CSN has a excerpt from their FCS magazine covering the CAA here (.pdf). They are rather down on UMass.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Three Days Until Football 08/27/08

The Boston Herald, which always does the best job of covering UMass in the Boston area has two articles about the 2008 Minutemen. John Connelly has an article about UMass-UNH in the CAA North here . Connelly has a three page article about UMass here .

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- has an excellent article about FCS Vs FBS games called Guarantee games don't always go as planned . It has a writeup about the UMass $450,000 guarantee for playing Texas Tech and Sean Smalls head to head matchup with Michael Crabtree.


ESPN has an article about Sean Smalls here .


The Charleston News has an article how FCS/I-AA teams are recruiting speed to counter the spread option offense.


The Worcester Telegram has an article about Holy Cross' Ryan McGuire a 6-4 230 pd TE whom we will meet on Sept. 6th.


Meanwhile down at Rhode Island, Darren Rizzi's Rams have 45% of their players new this year.


The Providence Journal has an article on our Oct 25 foe Bryant's first year in FCS/I-AA.


We'll be getting Delaware at home on Oct 4th. They still can't pick a quarterback .


UPDATE: The Texas Tech-UMass game is close to a sellout.

UPDATE II: Matty Vautour looks at this year's offense .

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 .

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!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Five Days before the start of the 2008 season 08/25/08

Warren Wilson the transfer WR from Boston College is the feature of an article from the Lawrence Eagle Tribune.

Matty Vautour has a mention of the article in his Sports Blog and some additional comments on the UMass receiver corps.

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has an article about the UMass defense and the end of training camp.

The Schenectady Gazette has an article about the Albany Great Danes killer schedule. Indeed Albany's opening games are a load few FCS/I-AA teams would like to lift.
  • @ UMass 8/30
  • @Hofstra 9/13
  • @New Hampshire 9/20
  • @ Delaware 9/27
Another Great Danes article from the Albany Times-Union here . The Gazette has an article about Albany's struggle for recognition.

UPDATE: Matty Vautour muses on the new season.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wisdom of the Blog---- Top UMass Quarterback

The greatest quarterbacks blog poll came directly from the career top 10 list in the 2008 UMass press guide. The 100 Blog votes went like this:
  1. Liam Coen- 05-08 39 votes. Liam leads UMass in career TD's, Season and career passing efficiency, total yards and most yards gained in a single game (three of the top four). Coen has played in a lot of games and that adds to his career statistics. He played in 15 games in 2006, which was almost two seasons for the old time quarterbacks.
  2. Todd Bankhead- 98-99 23 votes. Todd is the only UMass QB to win a national championship. Coach Whipple offered a scholarship to a QB he never spoke with in person from a JUCO in CA. A couple of months later, Bankhead was all over the Delaware defense and the single greatest season in UMass history was in motion. Bankhead played two years and holds the top two single season yards gained record. He put UMass on the map in the modern era.
  3. Greg Landry 65-67 13 votes. Landry is UMass' only first round NFL Draft pick. His 1965 QB efficiency rating of 145.4 still stands as the UMass record. All-Pro for Detroit in 1971. Again, it would be interesting to see Landry in Whipple's offense.
  4. Dave Palazzi. 85-88 13 votes. Palazzi was a I-A level QB. He was somehow missed by BC, Syracuse or Penn State. If he had played for a I-A team, he would have had several bowl trophies sitting in his rec room. Palazzi's 3rd in all-time career passing. Remember he was playing in an option offense.
  5. Jeff Krohn 02-03 5 votes. After UMass' national championship, the question was open if UMass was going to have to wait another 20 years for a top level FCS/I-AA team. Krohn answered that question. Jeff kept the lights on in the Minutemen's reputation as a national and conference power. In his time before UMass, he led the PAC10 in passing...
  6. Tim Day 02-05 1 vote. Tim is 6th in career passing for UMass and third in career passing completion average.
  7. Mike McEvilly 77-79 1 vote. Mike is 9th in career yards passing.
  8. Andrew McNeilly 92-95 1 vote. McNeilly is 10th in total yards passing. Another QB who played in an option oriented offense. He never had more than 86 completions in any season.
  9. Gary Wilkos 89-90 1 vote. If any UMass QB reminded me of Tom Brady, it's Wilkos. Gary had that kind of demeanor as a QB. He only played 1.5 seasons before suffering a spinal injury that ended his career. He's still the #3 ranked freshman QB in UMass history.
  10. Peil Pennington 71-73 0 votes. Maybe UMass' best pure passing QB. Still #6 in total yards passing.
  11. Jerry Whelchel 62-64 0 votes. Played in the old-old Yankee Conference "three yards and a cloud of dust" offenses. He's #11 in total yards passing.
The results show a tendency to favor the more recent quarterbacks (as you might expect). Many of the older QB's played in offenses that were far removed from Whipple's high-octane passing game. Parsing the list by yards per attempt is fairer to the older QBs and looks like this:
  1. Liam Coen 8.6 yards per attempt
  2. Jerry Welchel 8.4
  3. Tod Bankhead 7.5
  4. Gary Wilkos 7.2
  5. Tim Day 7.1
  6. Noel Reebenacker 7.1 (1950-1952)
  7. Dave Palazzi 7.1
  8. Jeff Krohn 7.0
  9. Greg Landry 7.0
  10. Brian NcNally 6.7
  11. Peil Pennington 6.6

Saturday, August 23, 2008

One week to go!

Time to get your game faces on. We're going live in seven days. Get your tailgating equipment together. Find your Maroon & White shirts. Got your "UMass Football' hat. Are you ready for some football?

Matty Vautour has a nice story about UMass WR Victor Cruz. It looks like three years of potential is finally going to make it to the field.

Sean Smalls is named a preseason All-American by Sporting News.

Our I-A opponent Texas Tech has sold out its season tickets for the first time ever.

Next week's opponent the Albany Great Danes are cautiously optimistic . Another story from the Great Danes' Media Day.

Besides Comcast Sports broadcasting of CAA games, they also plan significant weekly coverage of the CAA in their "SportsNite on Campus" show.

Without comment-----Hofstra's new helmet.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Moring stuff 08/22/08

Jeff Thomas has an article about the 2008 UMass offensive line here .

Looks like the lineup for the opening game is:
Top backups are John Ihne RSo. 6-5 280 0 games, Chauncey Incarnato RSr. 6-7 300 0 games, Justin Sawicki RFs. 6-5 305 0 games and Brian Ostaszewski RF. 6-5 285 0 games.


Matty Vautour has a long article about Joe Sanford . Sanford played in 12 games and had 4 catches for 71 yards and 2 TDs.


NESN has video interviews of Coach Brown and a number of UMass players here .


Many FCS/I-AA teams play at least one BCS/I-A game. Those contests tend to generate a lot of fan interest on the FCS level.

The Georgia Southern- Georgia game is turning into the "Suspension Bowl" Eight GSU players are suspended from the game here and here . And it's kinda tough to keep track of how many Georgia players are suspended.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday news 08/21/08

I received an e-mail from Comcast sports about this year's UMass TV schedule. Bob McGovern is all over it on his UMass all-sports blog "Between Mullins and McGuirk", so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel.


Matty Vautour has an article about UMass being ranked #5 in the Sports Network Preseason poll.

In his Sports Blog, he gives his preseason top 25.

The UMass Football Blog's preseason top 25 runs like this:
  1. Appalachian State
  2. JMU
  3. Richmond (the most returning starters in the CAA)
  4. Eastern Washington
  5. UMass
  6. Northern Iowa
  7. Cal Poly
  8. North Dakota State
  9. Wofford
  10. McNeese State
  11. Delaware
  12. Montana
  13. Youngstown State
  14. Southern Ill
  15. Eastern Ill
  16. Elon (I'm not sure Elon is as good as everyone thinks)
  17. Georgia Southern
  18. Villanova (maybe too low)
  19. UNH
  20. Montana State
  21. The Citadel
  22. Fordham
  23. Holy Cross
  24. Harvard
  25. South Dakota State

Keeper's has his FCS team and conference power rankings up.

He has UMass ranked #7 in power rankings and he rates UMass' schedule difficulty as #1 in the Division with a predicted 9-3 2008 record.


UMass has a new cheerleading coach . The cheer leaders do a great job at McGuirk and usually have a squad at the away games. The UMass cheerleading webpage is here (needs updating).


Did you know the UMass Dance Team has an active Blog with images, video and more? Well they do.

The Dance team is first rate, but their videos could use some improvement. Anyone want to volunteer as their Videographer?


Matty Vautour has an article about Sean Callicchio's move to center.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Media Day Practice and comments

Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Morning articles 08/19/08

The Berkshire Eagle has an article about Liam Coen.

The UMass Athletic website has more information about Marcel Shipp's signing with the Texans and includes a video link. Houston Texans story here .

The Bleacher Report has a Marcel Shipp story here .

The CAA has a UMass 2008 preview up on their website.

I hope to have my UMass Media Day article up tomorrow. Today is a "Honey do" day :)

Recruiting 2009 --Keith Bourne & Russell Braithwaite

UMass is recruiting two of the top 10 Massachusetts players not committed for 2009.

Keith Bourne a 6-4 270 pd OL from Fitchburg, MA is a rivals two-star recruit. Also being recruited by Boston College and Temple.

Bourne's TruPreps page is here (with a couple of images)

Russell Braithwaite is a 6-2 185 pd DB from Southborough, MA. He's another Rivals two-star. Also being recruited by Boston College, Syracuse and UNH. He's also getting looks for hoops .

Hope they both consider UMass!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Morning Odds & Ends 08/18/08

The CAA has started a "Press Box" of team and league information. They also have been running a football preview of the CAA teams on their front page.

UMass' freshman DB recruit Dan McLaughlin's brother Mike McLaughlin has been named a captain at Boston College.

And Marcel Shipp has been signed by the Texans (as reported by everybody)

UPDATE: The Giants play tonight at 8:00 pm EDT on ESPN. Brandon London should get quite a bit of playing time. I'll probably be watching with the sound off as ESPN announcing drives me nuts. Maybe WFAN 660 NY will stream the Giants audio feed...

Defensive line article

Image was taken by me at the UMass Media Day. Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

Jeff Thomas has an article about the 2008 UMass defensive line here .

Thomas reports that the starting UMass line will be:
UMass looks to be deeper this year with a number of players with game experience as backups Darrlyn Fenner DE RSr. 5-11 230 (12 games), Shaun Allen RSr. DL 6-3 255 (7 games) and Bob McLaughlin DT RSo. 6-2 265 (13 games).

Other DL expected to contribute this year are Anthony Monette DE RJr. 6-2 245, Theluxon Pierre DL JUCO Junior 6-3 260, Ray Jones DL RSo. 6-4 275 (9 games in 2006 for Delaware) and Courtney Jackson DE RFr. 6-2 235.

Other DL on the roster includes:
Three of the starters will return in 2009, so this is young group. Looks like more talent and more speed than in the past. This will be an exciting group to watch.

Wisdom of the Blog----Expectations 2008

Well, we're an optimistic bunch. The 2008 expectations poll ran as follows:
  1. Deep into the playoffs 47 votes (53%)
  2. To the National Championship Game 25 votes (28%)
  3. Just miss the playoffs with a 7-5 record 6 votes (6%)
  4. Make the playoffs 4 votes (4%)
  5. Loosing record 4 votes (4% probably UConn trolls and "Tubby Raymond")
  6. About .500 record 2 votes (2%)
The lowest poll ranking I've seen for the Minutemen was 12th, so it seems we are in line with the professional writers.

A lot has to go right to make it to the National Championship game, but I think this is a powerful club and we should be a force in 2008.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

UMass linebackers 2008

The image above was taken by me at the 2008 UMass Media Day. Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

Matty Vautour has an article on the 2008 UMass linebackers here .

Starters look like:
Anthony Rousier (RJr. 6-1 220), if healthy should get a lot of reps as the run-stopper.

Sam Besong (RSo. 6-0 215), Chad Arango (RSo. 6-0 225) and JUCO's Kurt Filler (Jr. 6-3 230) and Terrance Farris (Jr. 6-0 195) should be the top backups and also figure in various packages.

Also on the roster are:
Our three starters have good size and speed for a FCS/I-AA club. Both Filler and Farris are regular Juniors and could take a redshirt year in 2008 in order to maximize their playing time at UMass.

Hope they all have a great year!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Brandon London still doing well with the Giants

I did a quick check of Bob McGovern's UMass All-Sports Blog "Between Mullins and McGuirk" and I don't think he covered this story.

I was channel surfing Wednesday and hit a replay of Sunday's Giants-Lions game. Brandon London led all Giants receivers and had a great catch.

The Giants write up is here .

Relevant quote from the story: "

So was the play London made on the Giants’ touchdown drive. On third-and-two from the Detroit 40, he took a short Carr pass, broke two tackles and bulled his way to the 11 for a 29-yard gain.

“I thought Brandon London made an outstanding play,” Coughlin said. “He showed some real enthusiasm and some real desire to get to the end zone with the ball. I liked what I saw with the way he played tonight.”

London, a free agent from Massachusetts, spent the entire 2007 season on the Giants’ practice squad. Although the Giants began camp with a deep cast of receivers that includes several high draft choices, he believes he can earn a promotion.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” London said. “This year, my goal is to not be on the practice squad. My goal is to make the 53-man roster and slowly build off of that. Any chance that comes my way I have to make that play. I want to make sure the quarterbacks keep their confidence in me and that’s going to make the coaches keep their confidence.”

London led the Giants wide receivers with three catches for 46 yards, but it was his long gain that garnered the most attention.

“I wanted the end zone,” London said. “When I got back to the sideline everyone was making fun of me, because I should have broke that last tackle. To tell you the truth, I was kind of tired. But that was my chance to make a play to stand out and that’s what I was going to do. David Carr put a nice ball there, so you have to catch it.”

YouTube has the game highlights. London's catch comes at about the 2:35 point.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

UMass defensive backfield talented and deep

Image taken by me at UMass Media Day. Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

Matty Vautour has an article on the UMass defensive backfield here .

UMass returns three starters and they all made preseason All-Conference.

Courtney Robinson CB 6-0 196. He had 27 UT 21 AT 4.5 TFL 1.5 sacks 3-39 INT and 6 pass breakups in '07. He's also a talented kickoff returner. Robinson is third in UMass career return average (24.6) and seventh in total career return yards (984). Robinson was a honorable mention All-American in 2007

Sean Smalls CB 6-1 190. Smalls had 31 UT 18 AT 49 TT 2.5-7 TFL 2-90 INT. He played as a true freshman and has started the last 28 games. He was a 2007 honorable mention All-American.

Jeromy Miles FS 6-2 207. He was First-Team All-East and ECAC Freshman player-of-the-Year at Navy. Last year at UMass he had 38 UT 29 AT 67 TT 4 FF 2.5-3 TFL and 10 PD. A big hitter, Miles is a preseason honorable metion All-American.

Brian Ellis ROV 6-0 210. Former linebacker moved to SS. In 2007 he had 20 UT 22 AT 25 TT 1-5 sacks 1-5 TFL 1-3 INT and 4 PD. Ellis is a good player who should shine at strong safety.

The top backups in Coach Brown's DB heavy roster include:

Reshaud Goodwin 5-11 186. In 2007 Goodwin had 2 UT 4 AT 6 TT 1 PBU. He's a likely starter at CB on 2009. Excellent speed.

Corey Davis 5-11 190. Davis had 12 UT 4 AT 16 TT in 2007. Usually plays a the nickle cornerback. Also plays special teams.

Eric Dickson 5-11 205. Dickson had 1 UT 5 AT and 6 TT as a backup safety in 2007.

Shane Viveiros 6-0 205. Has been mentioned several times by Coach Brown as being in the mix for playing time in 2008.

Other DBs on the roster include:
UMass DB are one of the top units in FCS/I-AA. I'm excited about watching them play against pass happy Holy Cross and Texas Tech.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Media Day articles

Click on the image and Blogger displays a larger view.

There were a lot of credentialed reporters at the UMass Median day yesterday. And one non-credentialed UMass blogger. Everybody kept a close eye on towering anvil-shaped thunderheads all afternoon. Despite a short rain shower, UMass got through Media with no casualties.

I'll have my own report and a web album in a day or so.

The UMass website has a transcript of Coach Brown's remarks, video and still images here .

Matt Vautour of the Hampshire Gazette has an article here .

Jeff Thomas of the Spring field Republican has an article here .

The Telegram & Gazette has an article about Emile Igwenagu here.

The Salem News has an article about Armando Cuko, Kyle Harrington and Chris Zardas here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Training Camp news

The main UMass website has a video report on training camp.

Short article here about the first two-a-day practice here .

I'll be attending UMass Media Day and hope to have a report tomorrow.

Coulson ranks the running backs

David Coulson of The Sports Network has an article ranking the running backs of FCS for 2008.

UMass fans will get to see a fair sample of the Division's best.

9. Eugene Holloman, James Madison, 5-11, 185, Senior. The Dukes are a running team and stopping Holloman will be point #1 when we visit JMU on Sept 13th.

17. Chad Kackert, New Hampshire, 5-8, 190, Junior. UNH added field turf this year and that should make a fast track. No one really knows how good UNH's offense will be now that Santos has graduated. We'll find out on November 15th.

19. David McCarty, Albany, 6-0, 190, Junior. Albany is an up-and-coming program in I-AA. In 2006 they beat Delaware at Delaware. Last year they beat Patriot League champion and UMass' first round opponent Fordham----and held them to 20 points. Defense and McCarty are the Great Danes' hope for an upset of UMass.

New Faces:

1. Josh Vaughan, Richmond, 6-0, 232, Senior. UMass gets Richmond at home on October 18th. That should be one of the top games in the CAA this year. The Spiders return 16 starters and should contend for a league championship.

3. Tony Nelson, Massachusetts 5-10, 210, Junior. We know about Tony.

5. Jerry Butler, Delaware, 5-9, 185, Junior; Phillip Thaxton, Delaware, 5-10, 180, Sophomore. Do the Hens have yet another All-American RB on their roster? UMass fans will get to see for themselves on October 4th at McGuirk.


1. Joe Casey, Rhode Island, 5-10, 215, Senior. Rhody is another mystery team as the Rams have scrapped the option and gone to a "creative spread" offense. How Casey will fit in is something UMass fans will have to travel to Kingston on Nov. 1st to find out.

5. John Crone, Richmond, 5-11, 250, Senior. The Spiders running back tandem should be among the best in FCS.

Top Teams:

3. James Madison

5. Richmond

UMass is not listed. Hopefully, Hopefully Tony Nelson and Chris Zardas will change that perception.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday madness 08/11/08

Jeff Thomas has an article about Tony Nelson. Tony's listed as 5-10 205 in the latest version of the UMass roster.

Matty Vautour has a story about Armando Cuko, who's reclaimed the starting kicker spot.

UMass' I-A foe Texas Tech has the top rated WR in the nation in Michael Crabtree. This story tells what he's like off the field. Crabtree's Wikipedia article here. I'm looking forward to seeing Sean Smalls battle him.

Speaking of Texas Tech, Keeper's has them rated #3 in his preseason power ratings. If the Red Raiders were to achieve that level in the AP poll, they would be the highest rated team UMass has ever played.

Brandon London get a positive mention all three of these Giant's practice reports: here and here and here.

UPDATE: We've got a poll going about our expectations for the 2008 season. Mickey Matthews says he expects JMU to contend for the National Championship.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ben Coblyn Article

Matty Vautour has an article about UMass OG Ben Coblyn.

The updated roster lists Coblyn as 6-8 300.

He could be a good prospect to make an NFL team if he continues to work on his strength and technique. Ben only has one year of eligibility remaining and he needs playing time at his position.

Besides his height, his published 40 time of around 5.05 should turn NFL scout's heads.

Michigan OT Jake Long was the #1 pick in this year's NFL draft. He's listed as 6-7 315. However, I read a print article (no link, sorry) that he ran a 5.12 40 in Combine workouts. Note that time was after attending one of those expensive preparatory combine training camps.

I hope Ben has a great senior season. Hopefully, he'll get more than 12 regular season games to work on his game!

Image from Coblyn's webpage.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday morning 08/08/08

First up, UMass has the Fall 2008 roster posted.

The revised roster has good news in several places:
  1. All the recruits listed in the Feb 6th letter-of-intent day press memo made it (minus the un-lamented Corey Eason).
  2. Kevin Macon is back.
  3. No academic or personal problems casualties from Spring Roster.
The UMass website has a set of images from the first day of practice. It has an image of Kyle Harrington's 440 pd lift. Awesome!

Josh Buchanan has another list of the top-25 "Small School NFL prospects", which includes Sean Smalls.

Rant-for-the-Day: ESPN's football announcing is ----- I can't think of an adjective bad enough. By the second half they more or less ignore the game and just prattle about nothing. Steve Baylark got into the Cardinals game last night, but by that time the ESPN announcers had stopped doing any play-by-play.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wisdom of the Blog------ Greatest UMass RB

The results of the RB poll went as follows:
  1. Marcel Shipp 56 votes
  2. Steve Baylark 26 votes
  3. Rene Ingoglia 7 votes
  4. Lou Bush 6 votes
  5. Gary Pearson 4 votes
  6. Frank Alessio 1 vote
  7. Jerome Bledsoe 1 vote
Marcel Shipp finished his UMass career with 6,250 yards, 5.2 yards/carry and 58 TDs. His career total yards record will stand for some time.

Steve Baylark ended with 5,332 yards, 4.8 yards/carry and 42 TD's.

Rene Ingoglia is third in UMass career yards with 3,624, 5.1 yards/carry and 54 TD's. He had the best run I've ever seen at McGuirk against Delaware.

Lou Bush was an All-American at UMass when there was only one division. He scored a phenomenal 39 TD's in 1931 and 1932.

Garry Pearson was a two-time first team All-American. He's fourth in career rushing with 3,859 yards 4.8 yards/carry and 35 TDs. He was especially great against UConn. Pearson averaged over 200 yards/game against the Huskies.

Jerome Bledsoe is sixth in UMass career yards with 2,216, 6.0 yards/carry and 20 TD's. How tough was Jerome? He broke his leg playing against Holy Cross and lied to the coaches and told them it was OK so he could stay on the sidelines and see the rest of the game.

Frank Alessio is fifth in UMass career rushing with 2,887 yards, 5.6 yards/carry and 20 TD's. He holds the UMass single game record of 337 yards against BU. In 1995 he averaged 7.9 yards every time he carried the ball. Two of the top ten longest runs in UMass history belong to Alessio.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned Rene Ingoglia was one of two RB's included in the Yankee Conference's 50th Anniversary Team. Being rated as one of the top two running backs in 50 years covers a lot of territory.

Fall Practice opens

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a article here .

The UMass athletic site has an article here . Also kudos to the athletic dept for starting a series of video clips about training camp on the website. That's a cool feature.

I know I've said this a number of times, but we are really living in a great time to be a UMass fan. The amount of information available is wonderful. Be sure to check Bob McGovern's "Between Mullins and McGuirk" UMass all-sports Blog and UMass1863's UMass Football Page for more UMass insights.

Sure beats the old days when I would be moodily leafing through last year's game programs and wondering what was happening with the team.

In CAA news, JMU's early schedule includes UMass and Appalachian State back-to-back.

UPDATE: Matty Vautour has an article about the first practice and has a side note on seven former UMass players in NFL training camps.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tuesday morning articles 08/06/08

The UMass athletic website has an interview with Coach Brown on opening training camp.

Some links to our 2008 opponents training camps:

Our August 30th foe Albany has a training camp article and 2008 season preview here.

The Maine Black Bears have two articles here and Maine gets field turf .

The Northeastern Huskies open their camp. The Boston Herald has more Huskies training camp news here .

Rhode Island has a story here .

Delaware has an article here.

Two James Madison training camp articles here and here .

Eight Texas Tech stories here .

Hofstra opens training camp here . Hofstra opens its schedule against UConn on Aug 28th. The game will be televised on SNY (available on most satellite and cable systems).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

UMass fall 2008 camp opens today

Today's the day. UMass football starts the first steps toward the 2008 season as the players report to camp.

Should be a number of articles available tomorrow. From the various interviews given by Coach Brown, it seems that he feels most of the roster positions are set. Time to work on technique and togetherness.

Wonder what this year will bring?

The image is UMass football wallpaper for your cell. Available at Busted Thumbs.

Cardinals release Marcel Shipp

The Cardinals released former UMass star Marcel Shipp yesterday.

There were lots of duplicate articles on the wires. The three above seem to have some original content.

Hopefully, some other team will pick him up.

Image by Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

UPDATE: Shipp was not cut, he was paroled .

Monday, August 04, 2008

LIam Coen article

Matty Vautour has an article about Liam Coen in his Hampshire Gazette section.

He also has a comment about David Coulson's ranking Liam #11 in the nation.

I attended last year's media day and at that time Coen said he had deliberately gained weight because he tended to run down (meaning lose weight) during the season.

During my July 9th blog post about my visit to McGuirk to image the lighting project, I mentioned a number of UMass players were running in the heat. Coen was one of them and he indeed looked like he has gained muscle this year.

Hopefully, he will have a injury free senior season and lead UMass deep into the playoffs!

Just as a reminder, Coen played in 13 games, 156.29 EFF, 232-360-14, 64.4% comp, 3091 yards, 30 TDs, 237.8 yards/game.

Go UMass! Go Liam!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Help the Power & Class of New England build their new home

I just sent the UMass Marching Band my second contribution towards their new building.

According to George Parks' letter they are making great progress. The plans may be sent to bids this October and the band hopes to be in their new home by the fall of 2010.

If you can help them achieve their goal, mail a contribution to:

Minuteman Band Building Campaign
attn: Carol-Ann Batchelder
Draper Hall
Amherst MA 01003

In only 29 days UMass will open the lights at McGuirk. I'll be getting out of our truck and in the distance I'll hear the UMass Band cadence. That still sends a tingle down my spine!