Sunday, January 08, 2017

Sunday--January 8th, 2016

Mike Traini has a post-2016 season review. It's well done and worth a bit of your time.

It's difficult to to give a evaluation of the 2016 season, because as Traini points out, the level of competition was so high. The Minutemen played 9 teams that qualified for bowls and those teams had an 8-1 record in post season. South Carolina, the lone loser, lost in overtime. Troy and Louisiana Tech turned out to be two of the Group-of-Five's top teams. Those two teams went a combined 19-5 against Group-of-Five teams.

Part of the problem was we lost three impact players. In summer camp, Whipple repeatedly said Ross Comis was "our best guy" and the intended starter. Comis played well at Florida. He then got clotheslined against BC and then suffered a season ending injury at Old Dominion. His replacement, Andrew Ford actually played well for not really starting until the fourth game. Ford completed almost 61% of his passes and had a 133.99 efficiency rating. He threw three or four bad interceptions, but he was all UMass fans could ask for after stepping in. It will be interesting to see if Comis, who's game was his legs, will be effective next after a severe knee injury.

Back on December 30th, I took a look at the UMass running game. Specifically, I looked at the Minutemen's effectiveness against the non-power Five section of the season. UMass finished #124 out of 128 FBS teams in rushing yards. The Minutemen did better in the Group-of-Five portion of their schedule averaging 4.16 yards a carry and 123.00 yards a game. Still, if projected over a 12 game schedule, the results would have placed UMass in the bottom 20% in rushing effectiveness. That's one area that needs more production in 2017.

On defense the loss of Shane Huber and Tedrick Lowery hurt a defense that was fairly stout in its front seven. UMass has 70 TFL in 2016 a strong set of opponents had 77 against the Minutemen. DaSean Downey would start on a SEC team. He had 8.5 TFL and 6 SACKS. Downey developed pressure on the opposing QB no matter who were playing.

Still, UMass got beat over the top against the likes of Hawaii, Tulane and Old Dominion. The Minutemen were #106 in passing yards allowed. That's an area that needs improvement.

I believe UMass was a better team in 2016 than 2015. The strength of schedule masked a good deal of the progress. I will take off my Maroon & White colored glasses to say, even against an easier schedule, a bowl game probably was not in the cards in 2016. If we had been in the MAC a four or five win result would have been likely.

I'll talk about 2017 in future posts.


Anonymous said...

Good assessment, Frank. I think it may be hard for Comis to win his job back, but who knows? It was hard to watch him take some of the hits throughout his time on the field. He's one exciting player

You didn't one area of concern: the receivers. This team needs help at the position.

Need one more back to help out Young, and preferably a downhill type. Can't rely solely on Young for an entire season.

Still no word really on which recruits are likely to sign. A few weeks away to NLOI and we only have about three who have signed. Amy idea about likely or strong possibility recruits?

UMass74 said...

We do seem to be a little behind in recruiting where we were last year.

But on LOI last year we signed a whole bunch of three-stars that did not appear anywhere pre-signing day. I subscribe to I watch Mike 247Sports site. I monitor Twitter for "offer from UMass" and do daily Google searchs and it always seems we have a group of recruits that were not mentioned anywhere. Probably a number are hoping against hope for Power Five offer.

UMass plays a national schedule and has has tons of playing time available. I would think many recruits would grab it. Opportunities abound at UMass for DB's and WR's.

Two-star recruits and lower three-stars are "fill-in" guys at Power Five schools. They get buried in the depth chart and recruited over every year. A recruit has to look around at a team's roster and consider where he'd be in their plans.

I hoping for a big "fourth quarter" recruiting push.

Anonymous said...

Whipple has been MIA the last month...hmmm

Anonymous said...

We are currently in the recruiting "Dead Period." If there was anytime to take a little vacation, this is it.


Anonymous said...

I think Ford should be, without doubt, the guy. No offense to Comis, he is a great competitor and athlete and the players like him, however, in the MAC maybe he'd be something special, but in all honesty there are Power Five D-Linemen that are just as athletic, if not more, than him. With the schools UMass is playing now, there is rarely anybody who can beat a power five school off of straight athletic scrambling unless you are a Lamar Jackson caliber which (again no offense) Comis isn't even in the same realm. Yeah sure, he can move in the pocket and escape pressure sometimes and can run faster than Brady, that doesn't mean he can blaze past defenses.

ESPECIALLY in Whipple's pro-style system you need a QUARTERBACK! Someone who can pick apart defenses using his ARM. Comis may be better with his legs than Andrew Ford (Ford also showed flashes using his legs) but Andrew Ford is a better QUARTERBACK than Comis. He was essentially a freshman this year, of course he's gonna make some bonehead decisions, but if he is coached right, then I think he has infinitely more potential to lead UMass to big-time wins than Comis. I'm not talking about slinging the ball 40 yards on a post route, I'm talking about 5-7 yard gains to Breneman, Isabella, and (now hopefully) Brennon Dingle, Sadiq Palmer, Robinson and the other guys they brought in and consistently move the ball down field and get some God-forsaken first downs and keep our defense off the field for longer than 2 minutes.

I think if Whipple is clever enough he could incorporate Comis into the system somehow similarly to the John Franklin III situation at Auburn.

Dave Root said...


There is no doubt UMass will always stay FBS, but I don't want to stay the FBS doormat for much longer. I hate to say it, but our opener at Coastal Carolina better be a W or it's going to be another long season (2-10) or worse.

Dave Root said...

Next year, we have to get off to a good start with both wins vs. Coastal Carolina and then Old Dominion at home. If not, I don't know where the wins are going to come from even with only 2 P5 teams on the schedule. Basically, Hawaii and Ohio will give us a reasonable shot at W's.