Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Visitor’s Locker Room: The George-Anne’s DJ Cadden answers questions

UMass takes on Georgia Southern to open the season

Just last week, the Massachusetts football team added its first game to the schedule with a tilt against Georgia Southern. Now, less than a week away from UMass traveling to Statesboro, Ga., I wanted to talk to someone who would know what’s what about Eagles football.

To try to learn a bit more about what to expect come Saturday, I talked to George-Anne correspondent DJ Cadden to get some insight from the other side.

Who are some players that UMass fans should be looking out for Saturday?

The quarterback Shai Werts has been here four or five years — they run an option offense — so he’s an elite runner and he can throw the ball, which he’s shown a lot more of this year. They have a really solid backfield. They’ve got Wesley Kennedy III, who I think is one of the most electrifying players in the country. He can run, he can catch passes, he can return kicks. And then on the defensive side, Raymond Johnson III, who is pretty disruptive in the backfield.

With the triple option attack, what’s made the rush offense so dangerous?

They’re a veteran team — the backfield has been pretty much the same guys for three or four years so there’s a lot of chemistry. The offensive line is pretty solid and really athletic which helps get out on the edge and block.

What went right in Georgia Southern’s two wins against Louisiana-Monroe and Campbell? What went wrong in the loss to Louisiana?

In the wins, they were running the ball down the defense’s throat. They were just running non-stop. They’ve struggled on the defensive side of the ball. They gave up 30 [points] to Louisiana-Monroe which was pathetic. The game against Louisiana was probably the best all-around game so far — played great offense, played great defense. The Eagles got a miracle touchdown at the end and played prevent defense but gave up a 53-yard field goal to a kicker who had made two [kicks] on the year. The pass defense has probably been the biggest weakness so far though.

What’s the conversation around the UMass game been?

Not having the game against Appalachian State, the school’s biggest rival, blows, but having a game this week is great. There would’ve been a month and a half between home games. I know they’re trying to pack Paulson [Stadium] this week.

Are there going to be fans in the stands?

Yes, they’re at 25 percent capacity right now which is just over 6,000 people.

How do you see the game shaking out? I know you’ve already made your prediction.

I was doing research since UMass hasn’t played this year, but looking at last year, it wasn’t pretty. Georgia Southern will run the ball at will. I think the game will go fast since they’ll run the ball, and once the Eagles get a couple scores, I think it’ll be over.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @noah_bortle.

DJ Cadden can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @yaajeed.

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