July 22, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

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

McMahon, Ferris and McGovern: Not your usual transfer story -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Women’s lacrosse defeats Richmond 10-6 to win sixth straight A-10 Championship -

Sunday, May 4, 2014

No. 13 UMass women’s lacrosse knocks off Duquesne 16-3 to reach Atlantic 10 finals -

Friday, May 2, 2014

UMass one of 55 schools currently facing investigation over handling of sexual assault cases -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Two thefts reported at library -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Senior Columns 2013-2014 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass Dining proposes major meal plan changes -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass baseball beats UConn for first time since 2007 -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MTV’s seemingly controversial new show proves to be ‘Faking It’ -

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UMass looks for better results in Year 2 as member of the FBS

Daily Collegian/Maria Uminski

The 2013 season for the Massachusetts football team got off to a rocky start on Saturday, but coach Charley Molnar has high hopes that this edition of the Minutemen will be an improved football team from last year’s 1-11 squad.

That doesn’t mean that he has a specific goal in mind when it comes to how many games his team should win in its second year in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mid-American Conference, however.

“I haven’t ever spoken in terms of wins and losses with the coaches, with the team or with the public,” he said. “I don’t want to set a goal that’s too high because it sounds good and I certainly don’t want to set a goal that’s too low.

“But I expect to see not only development internally, but I also expect externally that you people watching the games, follow us on a weekly basis, will see an improved football team and say they may or may not be ready to win big in 2013, but you can see that we’ll be a competitive team in the near future.”

His team struggled to stay with No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday and started off its season with the same sour taste that it did in 2012 when it was shutout by Connecticut in the opener.

But Molnar sees an improved team from a year ago.

“(Last year felt) different because I knew we had a long ways to go,” Molnar said. “I thought that maybe some of the guys from our football team would just step up and be able to carry the day. Once we got through the first game when I saw that wasn’t going to be the case, I tempered my enthusiasm to understand where we’re at as a football team developmentally and we were really on the ground floor.

“We’ve taken a step up. I can’t tell you if we’re on the second floor or the third floor yet. Let us play a couple of games. But we are definitely better than we were a year ago.”

Molnar also has the luxury of an experienced No. 1 quarterback that he can turn to in redshirt sophomore Mike Wegzyn. That didn’t look like it would be the case at the end of last season when backup sophomore quarterback A.J. Doyle got the start against Central Michigan, but Wegzyn outdueled him in the offseason for the starting job again.

Wegzyn was missing two of his top targets against the Badgers in junior running back Jordan Broadnax and redshirt senior tight end Rob Blanchflower due to injury. Redshirt freshman Stacey Bedell and graduate student Ricardo Miller got the start at running back and tight end respectively against Wisconsin in their absence.

But perhaps one of the biggest areas of concern for the UMass offense is the offensive line, which suffered multiple injuries last season. That meant that a lot of freshmen had to play and try to protect Wegzyn. Redshirt senior Anthony Dima anchors the line, but questions remain around him.
Molnar, however, thinks that the line is “the best since he’s been here.”

On the other side of the ball, Molnar believed that his defense was outperforming the offense when he spoke at media day in August, which can be attributed to the health of the players.

“I would say right now that the defense remains ahead of the offense,” Molnar said. “They’ve been very fortunate to be relatively injury free. We’ve had some guys out, but for the most part every guy on defense has managed to get back into the mix of things.”

The defense struggled during the game against the Badgers, though, especially against the run. The defense allowed Wisconsin to run for a total of 393 yards and three different running backs to eclipse the 100-yard mark. They were able to hold the Badgers to 17 points in the first half, but things started to unravel in the second half.

This year’s defense is led by the likes of redshirt senior Kevin Byrne on the defensive line, sophomore Kassan Messiah at linebacker and redshirt sophomore Randall Jette at cornerback.
While the Minutemen have those key players back, they will be without Perry McIntyre, who led the UMass defense at linebacker, Hafis Williams and Chaz Thompson on the defensive line and Darren Thellen at defensive back.

But while the team is built for a more successful run than last season, the next step for these Minutemen is to turn that into wins.

Cameron McDonough can be reached at cameronm@ umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Cam_McDonough.

 

 

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