August 20, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass names Blake Frohnapfel as the starting quarterback -

Monday, August 18, 2014

Decision looms for Mark Whipple as UMass football looks to name starting quarterback -

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Former UMass star Marcel Shipp overseeing a strong running back competition -

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Former UMass basketball star Chaz Williams signs professional contract in Turkey, still eyeing NBA career -

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Minutemen anxious to display aggressive defense -

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

UMass football turns the page, excited for 2014 season -

Monday, August 4, 2014

UMass student struck and killed by vehicle Thursday night -

Friday, August 1, 2014

UMass receives anonymous $10.3 million gift -

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UMass Football summer coverage 2014 -

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students push for relocation of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health -

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: No. 14 UMass WLAX ends season in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No. 14 UMass women’s lacrosse season ends in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sixth inning rally propels UMass past Dayton 7-2 -

Wednesday, May 7, 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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