April 17, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Minutemen adopt new 3-4 scheme

The Massachusetts football team has answered many questions regarding the switch from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Mid-Atlantic Conference, and on a larger scale, from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Although the conference switch is probably the biggest change to the program in recent memory, there is another glaring change which might have been overlooked thus far – the new-look 3-4 defensive scheme.

The formation, which features three down linemen and four linebackers, was reintroduced this year as the team’s base defense primarily due to the return of defensive coordinator Frank Forcucci, who served on the staff from 1999-2003. Last year, the Minutemen operated under a 4-3 scheme (four linemen and three linebackers).

“I like [Forcucci’s] style and how he goes about his business,” said UMass coach Kevin Morris. “He knows UMass — he’s been at UMass and the 3-4 [scheme] certainly is a package that gives you that kind of multiple sets that you can use that I thought we had the personnel that fit those sets. I thought it was a perfect match.”

With one less lineman, more pressure is added on the linebackers to both stop the run while also protecting the pass. Morris said that there is no group better-equipped to handle that pressure than his linebacker corps, which features redshirt junior D.J. Adeoba and redshirt senior Courtney Jackson on the outside and senior Tyler Holmes and junior Perry McIntyre on the inside.

“In the spring there was a lot ofchoking it down and trying to swallow it and digest it, figure out where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there,” Morris said about the new scheme. “We took the progression from the spring through the fall, which is really what you’re looking for, and that’s because the guys stayed on top of it. They did a lot of working out on their own, going through the calls and such so that when they come out here they’ve been right on point.”

The Minutemen expect the transition of defenses to be fluid and impressive from the start of the season.

Holmes, a two-time All-American, has seen his fair share of defensive changes, excelling first as an outside linebacker his sophomore year, second as a middle linebacker last year in the 4-3 scheme and now as a middle linebacker in the 3-4.

Junior linebacker Chad Hunte is expected to be in the defensive rotation and after opening some eyes in training camp, he is excited for the opportunity to play in the 3-4 formation.

“I’m liking [the defense],” said Hunte in a UMass Athletics interview. “It’s a real fast defense. We’re blitzing a lot, [there’s] a lot of movements, a lot of sacks and hits on the quarterback.”

The Minutemen favor the variety and options the 3-4 provides, especially for the linebackers.

“There’s a lot of different looks, you can blitz off the edge, you can drop back in coverage [for interceptions], there’s a lot of different things you can do in 3-4,” said Hunte.

Although UMass was deemed ineligible for the 2011 playoffs because of the conference switch, Holmes and his senior teammates plan on embracing the defensive change and running with it.

“I had a meeting with a bunch of the seniors at my house and we kind of swallowed the pill back in December that we wouldn’t be eligible for postseason play and the attitude of everyone was very positive,” said Holmes. “We bonded together, we’re going to play for each other this year, this is the last time we’re going to be competing with some of these schools and we [plan] to go out with a bang.”

Steve Levine can be reached at slevine@student.umass.edu.

 

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