Monday, March 31, 2008

Around FCS

David Coulson of The Sports Network has a new article about Jayson Foster of Georgia Southern.

Foster won the 2007 Walter Payton Award. GSU article about him winning the award here .

BTW, the NFL has a Walter Payton Award also .

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Albany starts Spring Practice

We open August 30th (hopefully under the new lights), against Albany.

They have their Spring Prospectus and practice schedule up.

Wish UMass would do a Spring Preview.

UPDATE: Montana, for example, has a 28 page spring prospectus (pdf).

UPDATE II: Someone in the comments mentioned this year's BCS/I-A opponent Texas Tech. This link has their spring 2008 depth chart. Before you click, jot down a guess on how many offensive linemen the Red Raiders have that are > 350 pds. How close were you?

Article about Neal Brown

Another article about former UMass player and assistant coach Neal Brown. At only 27, Brown is among the youngest Offensive Coordinators in BCS/I-A football.

I've blogged before about Brown. Blogger will display the posts below this one.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Odds & Ends

The second game of the 2008 season will be Holy Cross. They finally published their recruiting list for this year. One interesting recruit is Matt Bellomo, who was the Massachusetts Player-of-the-Year. Another article about him here .

In other news, UMass football is again taking part in the bone marrow registration drive started by Andy Talley.

Nothing on the wires about UMass' Pro-day. If I get anything, you'll be the first to hear...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Signs of Spring!

Well, my backyard is still snow covered here in the Great Granite State. The Madness of March is on basketball. However, for football fans, there are signs of Spring.

The CAA has started its second season of spring practice player Blogs. The player blogs (Delaware, Maine, Richmond, Rhode Island and Northeastern) so far are here . Another article on the CAA spring schedule is here. UMass spring practice starts April 5th!

Meanwhile, JMU had their Pro Day.

I could not figure out why Racheed Rancher was not on NFL draft lists. He's now on the Consensus Draft list.

Former UMass legend Dick MacPherson is again on the College Hall-of-Fame ballot.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

FCS/I-AA football and Hoops

Sporting News' David Coulson has an article about FCS/I-AA teams in the NCAA tourney.

In the other bracket of the NIT, UMass' A10 league-mate Dayton plays football in the Pioneer league. The Pioneer League teams have prospered in hoops .

The Flyers are no slouches in football either. They were 11-1 in 2007 and won the "Mid-Major National Championship". In 2007, they beat Patriot League champion Fordham and also topped our 2008 opponent Albany.

The Flyers football page is here .

A quick check of the UMass Press Guide shows the Minutemen have never played Dayton in football.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Great Game Hoops!

I think this is the first ever blog post on a UMass team other than football, but I can't ignore a great game like I just witnessed.

I had basketball season tickets for years when I lived in the valley and still do about five weekend games a year.

But the Syracuse game felt like the days of "Refuse to Lose!"

The story should be up shortly on the UMass Basketball page.

Great game guys!

Football 2008---- The Spread Offense

Let's get back to football. The Spread Offense is going viral in college football. Appalachian State beat Michigan with it. Oregon killed Michigan with it.

Oklahoma is adopting it. Former FCS/I-AA coach Paul Wulff is bringing it to Washington State.

Our BCS opponent Texas Tech wrote the book on the spread offense.

The Spread Offense has its own website (including methods of defensing it).

And the Citadel wants to try to defensing it against Appalachian State.

UPDATE: Just to give you more to worry about, Texas Tech is loaded this year .

UPDATE FRIDAY 28TH: Michigan and Wisconsin are adding the spread option.

Monday, March 24, 2008

McGuirk and the UMass Sunwheel

In the Easter blog post I talked about the astronomical connections with the date of Easter. The comments to the post started me thinking about the fact that the UMass Football stadium is perhaps the only stadium with a working stone astronomical calender on the grounds.

The calender is the famous UMass Sun wheel . Designed and constructed by UMass astronomy professor Judith Young , the Sun Wheel is the site of numerous presentations by Prof Young . It is a little smaller than Stonehedge as pictured to the right, but still great fun.

The Springfield Republican just ran two articles about the UMass/McGuirk Sun Wheel here and here .

Next time you visit, show it to your kids---- they'll love climbing on the rocks if nothing else :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

The UMass Football Blog wishes the UMass Football on-line community a Happy Easter.

As you know from my "About Me" section in the blog, I'm also an amateur astronomer. Easter is an astronomical holiday since it tracks the Passover date based on a lunar calender.

Easter is always the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Vernal Equnox.

Easter won't fall this early again (on March 23rd) until 2160 and won't fall on an earlier date (Mach 22nd) untill 2285. Wonder if we will make the playoffs that year...

Find the Easter date for any date.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New England Pro Days

Remember in Wednesday's Blog post, Ricky Santos did not get invited to the the Boston Pro Day?

Well, UNH had it's own Pro Day.

So did the Maine Black Bears.

Friday, March 21, 2008

From Lindy's Magazine to God's ear!

The above image is from the ACC Recruiting section of 2007 Lindy's College Football Magazine. Click on the image and read the last line of the BC capsule.

The Sun-Chronical has a blurb about Eason here .

Hope he finds a home with UMass. Brown's attacking style defense is perfect for Eason as a DE. Watching him tee off and rush the passer would be a treat for Minutemen fans. Not a bad way to make it into the Pros either.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Seven UMass players at BC's Pro Day

Seven UMass seniors were scheduled to take part in yesterday's Boston College's Pro Day. They were:

OL Matt Austin (UMass)
LB Jason Hatchell (UMass)
K Chris Koepplin (UMass)
RB Matt Lawrence (UMass)
TE Brad Listorti (UMass)
WR J.J. Moore (UMass)
LB Charles Walker (UMass)

A complete list of local players who attended is here .

The image above is not the BC proday. I grabbed it off the web to illustrate the blog post. Still don't put much faith in those hand timed 40 sprints...

Hope they all did great!

UPDATE I: NFL teams in attendance.

UPDATE II: All those scouts. All that football expertise. The players really get a fair, quality evaluation about their ability to play Pro Football----- right? Read these. Matt Ryan is great . Matt Ryan sucks .

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Third UMass Recruit to play in the NY-NJ Football Classic

I've blogged before about two UMass recruits playing in the NY-NJ Football Classic (formerly the NY-NJ Governors Bowl). Note that the team rosters on the game website have not been updated and are from the previous year.

Now the New York roster has been released and UMass recruit Sean O'Connor is on the roster. He's a 6-6 275 pd OL from Iona Prep in Valhalla, NY. There's an article about his signing with UMass here .

Monday, March 17, 2008

How unstable is the Big East?

There is an interesting article on the instability of the Big East here . This article was brought to my attention over at the the Blog.

I've always thought that the mix of state schools and Catholic private colleges lacks stability. Note that several of the basketball scenarios have Catholic schools from the A10 joining a future All-Catholic league.

No mention of UMass in any of this.

UMass Connections ---- Travis Tripucka Lacrosse

UMass freshman Lacrosse player Travis Tripucka is the nephew of former UMass QB Mark Tripucka.

Mark Tripucka was with the Football team from 1970-1974. My collection of UMass game programs starts in 1976, so I don't have any images of him.

Mark Tripucka's time as QB overlapped the career of Peil Pennington, who was one of the most prolific passers in UMass History. Tripucka was the starter in in 1974. He went 60-145 817 yards and 6 TDs. Mark lettered in 1971, 1972 and 1974.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Morning Odds & Ends

David Coulson of the Sporting News writes about the hard way of doing things up in the BCS Division.

If you really like college football, then you should look into this job offer .

MaxPreps has an article about the destinations of Massachusetts players in the 2008 signing class. Note the error listing Josh Previte as a UMass recruit. He's going to Rhode Island.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Recruiting 2009-------- LB Ed Roberts

UMass is interested in 5-11-220 pd LB Ed Roberts of sicklerville NJ. His Rivals page is here.

The image to the right of Roberts (in the air) is by Akina Suma of the Inquirer.

Drawing lots of CAA interest with Maine, Towson and Delaware also in the picture.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday morning reading

Charles Coulson of the Sports Network talks about speed in college football.

Coach Brown's mantra at UMass has been "Play fast!". And indeed, his UMass teams have been, in my view perhaps the fastest in UMass history.

Being faster than the other team is the ultimate point. This article over on the always interesting Draft Daddy, records the 40 yard dash times of the combine invitees. Those players are the elite of college football and it would be expected their forty times to be among the best.

Note that those times are considerably different than those thrown about on fan boards...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Recruiting 2009------ Greg Herman OL

In our first recruiting post for 2009, UMass is interested in Greg Herman a 6-1 250 pd OL/DL from Warren (NJ) Watchung Hills.

His page is here . This article mentions him as a DL.

Herman is drawing lots of FCS/I-AA interest from Bucknell, Cornell, UNH, Delaware and Northeastern.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Two UMass recruits to play in the NY-NJ Football Classic

Two UMass recruits will be playing in the 11th annual NY-NJ All-Star Classic football game. The game will be held on Saturday, June 8th at 3:00 pm. The Press release is here . Note that the rosters listed on the page are last year's rosters.

According to the press release, UMass recruits Charles Thompson and Kumar Davis will play.

The game will be televised on Fox-NY, which is available on Dish Network channel 413 and Direct TV Channel 624.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday morning aticles

Dave Coulson of Sporting News has an article about coaching changes in FCS/I-AA this year.

Speaking of coaching changes, a number of former UMass coaches lost assistant coaching jobs this year.

Former UMass coach and player Bill Durkin, was replaced after new Richmond Coach Mike London brought in his own staff.

Former UMass assistant coaches John Strollo and Brian Sherrod were replaced when former UMass coach Ted Roof was fired as head coach at Duke. Roof was hired as defensive coordinator at Minnesota.

In other news, Ricky Santos had his number retired at the UNH football banquet(with some bonus coverage of UMass hockey).

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Calling Coach Ford

Say coach Ford, you don't have room for another player, by any chance?

2008--------- Special Teams

've been doing a series of posts on the state of the 2008 UMass football team. This post covers UMass Special Teams for 2008 and tries to guess what the coaching staff has in store for us.

Remember I have no special inside information.

Freshman are green.
Sophomores are orange
Juniors are blue
Senior are red

I'm working out of the UMass depth chart for the Hofstra game. Teams are only allowed to dress 60 players for the playoffs, so the depth chart for the playoffs may have been different. Note that the class of the player is for fall of 2008 not their current status.

According to the last regular season depth chart:

PK -- Open
------Armando Cuko Junior

P-----Brett Arnold Senior
------ Scott Woodward RedShirt Junior

LS--- Open
------ Bob McLaughlin RedShirt Sophomore

------ Open

KR----Courtney Robinson Senior
-------Reshaude Godwin Redshirt Sophomore

-------Sean Smalls Senior


Chris Koepplin did all kickoffs except for one in 2007. He also did all the field goals. UMass was #1 in the CAA with 44.2 net kickoff average. UMass returns Armando Cuko who struggled in his first year in 2005. He does own one of the best ever field goals in UMass history as he kicked 41 yarder out of a mud hole to beat JMU. With only one kickoff and field goal kicker on the roster, we should see some action by Coach Brown before August.

Senior punter Brett Arnold (51-1931) lost his job late in the season after having three kicks blocked. Scott Woodward started in the SIU playoff game and went 5-185. UMass was 11th in the league in net punting average in 2007. Ryan Logan can also punt and may be in the mix for 2008.

Bob McLaughlin had a rough start to his long snapping career at William & Mary, but settled down and is probably in the lead to take over the job in 2008.

For Kick Returner, Robinson went 19-495 w/1 TD. Jeremy Horne was the second leading returner with 10-195 .

J.J. Moore had the entire load for punt returner in 2007. Smalls should take over here.

Friday, March 07, 2008

UMass History -------1981

I've added ten scans from UMass game programs in 1981 to the UMass History link in the sidebar. Double click on the first 1981 image and then use the arrow keys to view that group. Click on the above image for a larger view.

The Minutemen went 6-3 that year (note that was the last year we only played nine games) and were 4-1 in the Yankee Conference and won UMass' 13th Yankee Conference Championship.

In the images displayed, we lost to Rhode Island 10-16 and beat Dartmouth 10-8.

Gary Pearson was first team All-American that year. He rushed for 1,026 yards. Captains Peter DiTommaso and Jerry Gordon are active in the UMass Friends of Football.

One sad note is that UMass center Victor Pizzotti recently passed away.

UPDATE: As pointed out by "Brad82" over on AGS, #56 OG for the Rams was Mike Dwyer. He later transferred to UMass and was moved to NG. He was first team All-Yankee Conference and First Team All-American for us in 1985. He wore #71 for UMass.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Article on Coach Brown

The Rutland Herald has an article on Coach Brown attending a coaching clinic in

Article mentions Ryan McCarthy, who is University of Albany's offensive coordinator.

Brown confirms some future BCS/I-A dates:
  • 2008 Texas Tech
  • 2009 Kansas State
  • 2010 Open, but being worked on
  • 2011 Boston College
Sorry I screwed that up when I first did this post.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Comming up later in the week

Later in the week, the UMass football Blog will have some more UMass history. I'll be posting some scans of UMass game programs from 1981.

There will be also something new in the works for the UMass Football Blog community....

Wednesday Odds & Ends

Nothing UMass-specific on the wires yesterday or today, so let's look at some other stuff.

UMass opens with Albany on August 30th. The Great Danes just released their 2008 schedule and it's a killer with four playoff teams: @UMass, Fordham, @UNH and @Delaware. Note that they list the UMass starting time as 6:00 pm. Lights at McGuirk!

Speaking of psycho schedules---- did you see UT Chattanooga's? The Mocs are the host team for the national Championship game ever year. I went in 2006 and thought they had a nice facility. But UT Chattanooga never makes the playoffs. You can see why after looking at their schedule.

The Mocs first three games were supposed to be Oklahoma, NAIA Belhaven and Florida State. The Blazers just backed out. What a way to mess with your players heads...

Meanwhile, over on Draft Daddy's Top 150 Small School Sleepers, Matt Lawrence has moved up a couple notches and J.J. Moore and Brad Listorti continue to be listed.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Were you paying attention?

Recently we've had discussions about the status of running backs and quarterbacks on this blog. This link should bring up both past posts and comments stream.

Did you notice in the UMass Banquet link who won the award for outstanding Scout Players for 2007?

Octavious Hawkins and Emil Iqwenaqu won the 2007 Outstanding Offensive Scout Team Awards. The Blog can't wait for the spring game to see them play. Running other teams offenses should have given both players a lot of experience. And playing against the UMass defense should have honed their physical skills.

I just re-read Iqwenaqu's bio. He averaged 13.9 yards/carry in his senior year. He has a career 10.7 yards/carry average. Can't wait to see both players in action!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

More UMass Football Banquet

Below are some images from the UMass Banquet. My big camera was not available, so these were taken with my point-and-shoot, which was not really up to the job. Click on any image and Blogger displays a larger view.

The program for the Banquet.

The CAA Championship trophy. UMass won the last ever A10 trophy and the first CAA trophy.

I had not heard Chancellor Cole speak before. He seemed very supportive of UMass football and the the football staff presented him with an autographed football from the team. Coach Brown added that Chancellor Cole took the time to call him after the SIU game. The UMass Football Blog would like to thank him for taking the time to attend the banquet and speaking with us.

Athletic Director John McCutcheon gave a short, but upbeat speech . In addition to the new permanent lights, he said that there were further improvements in the football facilities being planned . He did not say what they were. Still, it's very good to hear that after forty years of neglect, some investment in the football infrastructure is in the works.

When you go 10-3, make the playoffs and win the CAA championship, you get a lot of honors. This image is of the players who made the All-CAA teams and also the national honors. The UMass athletic site article lists the players who won team honors such as the Outstanding Offensive and Defensive player award.
The players received CAA Championship rings and watches. The watches were nice, but everybody wanted to see the rings. The ring here was modeled by Rashaude Goodwin, who sat with us at our table. As usual with UMass players, he was a friendly and articulate young man. He's a transfer from Boston College.

All in all a great time. The UMass Friends of Football were there as was a very good turnout of parents and fans.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

It's Official ! Lights for 2008 Season

Had a great time at the UMass Football Banquet last night. I hope to have some images from the event up by tomorrow.

Some interesting news. First, Chancellor Cole announced that UMass will have permanent lights installed this summer. The UMass athletic Dept story is here .

Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a story about the lights here .

I took the image above of temporary lights at the 2005 Albany game at McGuirk.

UMass football fans can also be encouraged by John McCutcheon's speech. Along with the lights, he said that further improvements in UMass Football facilities are planned. That's music to this Blog's ears as there has been little or no investment in the football program for forty years.

Lights and the new artificial surface are significant upgrades. McCutcheon even got the UMass field house painted and the roof fixed last year.

Oh yeah, and the UMass football team is going to be pretty good in 2008 too.

Go UMass! It's a great time to be a Minutemen fan.