Wednesday, August 12, 2009

24 days before Kansas State 08/12/09

As usual, Matty Vautour has perhaps the most informative article to come out of training camp so far here. The quarterback position seems to be a two-man contest between Kyle Havens and Scott Woodward. I would expect the decision to be made pretty quick.

Other news from the article is that senior LB Josh Jennings is still not practicing due to a chronic back injury. Jennings was CAA co-Defensive player-of-the-week three times (8/31,10/3,113) in 2008. If he is unable to go, then all three LB positions will have new starters this year.

Matty reports that UMass adds another transfer 5-11 212 pd LB Dawon Nolton from New Mexico State. Nolton's 2007 Scout.com page here.

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Matty follows up with an article about the 2009 UMass linebacking corps. Reading between the lines, it does not sound all that good for Josh Jennings. Mentioned are Kurt Filler, Tyler Holmes, Mile Mele (and I would guess that those will be the starting three), as well as Nolton, true freshman Devin Lindsey and senior Eric Dickson.

Kyle Harrington won the bench press competition with 475 pds. Freshman Vincent Westcarr set a UMass freshman record with 435 pds.

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Eastern Washington has dropped its Marching Band due to financial problems. Bummer!

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The New Hampshire Football Report says New Hampshire will play Big Ten team Minnesota in 2012.

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Dave Coulson of The Sports Network previews the Patriot League and picks Holy Cross the winner. A first round playoff game between the Crusaders and UMass would be the biggest cross state game in years for Massachusetts.

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14 comments:

Anonymous said...

If Jennings doesnt come back and play this defense is in big trouble. A very weak core of linebackers without him.

Anonymous said...

There is also a weak core at Offensive line. Vladimir a 3rd year returning starter/ All American, and the only other with a little experience is Josh Samuda returning 2nd year starter. It looks like everyone else has little or no experience at all, i hope this wont be an issue because i would hate to see Tony Nelson, and Who ever the QB might be to have a bad season.

Anonymous said...

Weak core at OL??? You are kidding right?

UMass74 said...

Since there may be three new starters, what justification do you have for your opinion that the core of the linebackers will be very weak? Clairvoyance?

Anonymous said...

There is never a shortage of people who don't know what they're talking about! The O-line should be very strong with a lot of experienced guys who didn't start and the linebacking crew as Matty says has good potential but lack experience. So gloom & doom all you want . . .

Anonymous said...

"Weak" as in a lack of experience, as with the LB corp, QB, and the OL, that I'll grant you, but any other supposition or conclusion is premature and therefore has no basis of fact but conjecture. Wait until the season starts to make such inference. We're all here to support these young men play well and to enjoy the espirit de corps. Go support UNH, or even Northestern, both of which have many returning starters. Go UMass!

Anonymous said...

Vautour's knowledge of Jenning's status and health does carry subtext, suggesting he may not be ready to start the season, if he is able to play at all. Could Jennings apply for a medical redshirt if he is unable to play?

Anonymous said...

"Weak OL" - Are you NUTS??? What games were you watching...

UMass74 said...

No. Jennings has already had a medical redshirt season (2006). Check his bio, link in blog post.

Anonymous said...

Vlad, Getek, Ihne, Oztaszewski and Samuda all started and/or played significant minutes last year. They also have guys like Flanagan, Sales, Milhim and Sawicki who will be pushing for starting jobs. The OL neither lacks experience nor depth.

Anonymous said...

Stopped by practice yesterday-just finished-They were in 1/2 pads.
Spoke to DC and asked about Jennings-His response was " we are evaluating his situation"
Not very encouraging-As I said last yr on this blog-Jennings was about the only guy who could tackle and kept Umass in some games

Anonymous said...

Jennings is a good LB, tough to replace him and what he brings. This new O coordinator is very predictable from what I've seen in spring practice. They better be good at OL if they want to be a contender for the title.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the team is looking at Collier the starting Fullback who left Syracuse? Zardas looks great when healthy but he has been injury prone and we could certainly use a little depth.

MinuteFan said...

It seems these kind of posts always degenerate into the gloom and doom folks vs. the "love it or leave it" UMass fans. How about a realistic assessment? If the coaching staff was feeling good about the linebacking corp, they would not be picking up LB transfers 3 weeks before the first game, and what appear to be undersized players for the position at that. Last year, despite the terrible stats on defense, in most every game I was at (all but 2), the defense actually got to the ballcarrier in numbers, but they were the worst group of tacklers I have ever seen. Tackling is not directly related to size (although it doesn't hurt), but has more to do with technique, heart and desire (which is why Jennings and Miles were so good). So if this group of linebackers exhibits better tackling skills than last year, there could be some improvement. Hard to imagine it being worse. So a wait-and-see attitude is all you can subscribe to, but its hard not to look at this as a big area of concern. In general, I think fans may need to temper their expectations a bit about this season. A lot of things have to go right for this to be a playoff team. When you have a new coaching staff (at least many familar faces in new roles), no clear #1 QB, and a less than stellar defense from last year that at least on paper does not look to be improved, I think anticipating some rebuilding hiccups are not unexpected. You can still be a supporter, go to all the games, but be realistic in your expectations of the coming season.

GO UMASS!