Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday--July 29th, 2014

Dan Malone continues his "Top-25 UMass players for 2014" series with a post about Shane Huber and Steve Casali.

Huber's UMass bio. Casali's UMass bio.

Lots of dynamics in play for these two UMass linebackers. One thing you couldn't fault about Charlie Molnar was his recruiting. Casali and Huber were highly rated members of Molnar's second recruiting class. They were expected to add speed and athleticism to a Minuteman front seven that badly needed both quantities.

I don' have images of either player because both DNP in the practice I attended or the Spring Game. Casali was injured early in the season and received a medical redshirt. Huber suffered a torn MCL and ACL late in the season. The conventional wisdom is that it takes a year to come back from torn ligaments. Keep in mind that college students usually don't have the five-hours-a-day rehab time that the pros do.

Unless there are some sort of complications, I would expect Casali to be ready to go by August 30th. Huber is another story. If he's not ready to go until late in the season, would UMass redshirt him? It would seem a waste to activate him for four games or so. OTOH, UMass needs wins. The conference affiliation clock is ticking. The Spring depth chart had Trey Seals listed as one the first unit's OLB's. Seals is really more of a stand-up DE kinda guy. If Casali is ready to go, I think he would be playing one OLB slot.

Shane Allen of Hustle Belt predicts Huber to have a breakout season in 2014.

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Dan also reviews the various college football publications and finds UMass is ranked last in MAC East in all of them.

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Hustle Belt previews Miami (Ohio), a team that is being ranked ahead of UMass despite going 0-12 in 2014.

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The Boston College blog "Soaring to Glory" looks at BC being tabbed as a 14.5 point favorite over UMass.

Speaking of BC, a Hampton Roads reporter ranks the ACC OOC schedules.

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A New Orleans sports writer thinks UMass has a shot at the AAC conference.

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The Sports Network previews the 2014 MAC.

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Image credit unknown
Steelers Depot reports Rob Blanchflower is doing well at blocking (scroll all the way to "final thoughts").

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