2013 UMass football's 10 things to know: Awkward timing, extreme youth

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Can the Minutemen improve on just about the worst debut possible? Schedule, roster, projections and more below.

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. Timing is everything.

The University of Massachusetts announced on April 20, 2011, that its football team would move up to FBS. At that point, the Minutemen were just three seasons removed from a CAA conference title and four seasons removed from a trip to the FCS national title game. If it had joined the MAC in 2006, the breaking-in period may have gone reasonably well. UMass ranked 59th in the 2006 Sagarin rankings, ahead of every MAC school but Central Michigan. In 2007, they ranked 77th, ahead of everybody (unless I missed someone).

By 2011, however, the program had lost a little bit of steam. Head coach Don Brown left Amherst to become Ralph Friedgen's defensive coordinator at Maryland, and Kevin Morris went just 5-6 in 2009 and 6-5 in 2010. The Minutemen went 5-6 again in 2011, and Morris was replaced by former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar. Insert a ton of injuries, put onto the field one of the most ridiculously young teams ever, and you have just about the worst FBS debut season imaginable.

Timing really hasn't been UMass' thing -- one could argue that the program should have made the FBS move 50 years ago -- but wow, was the timing bad in 2012. What seemed at one time to be a logical, well-timed decision quickly turned into a nightmare. It was so bad that, to some faculty, UMass' stay at the FBS level should have been cut very, very short.

2. It's not a good sign when the response to your first FBS season is a vote to leave FBS.

UMass Faculty Senate motion to leave FBS falls a vote short.

Back in December the Faculty Senate at Massachusetts voiced its concern over the increase of money the school was spending on its football program following a move from the FCS level to the FBS level. On Thursday, the Faculty Senate voted on a motion to have UMass football leave the FBS level and that motion failed by one vote.

The motion was beaten by a 19-18 vote with one abstention. Absent from the vote was professor Max Page. He had been the most vocal critic of the school's move to the FBS but was out of the country on Thursday and could not vote.

"Whatever else might be said of the 2011 decision to move to the next level, it was never presented as a one-year experiment," said chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy at Thursday's meeting. "It simply couldn't be. Like many decisions I inherited, it is my job to ensure the program's success in a responsible manner. That's what I intend to do. I have been consistent in this position. As with any major campus initiative we will carefully monitor the progress and the financial commitments associated with the process to ensure that the best interests of the university as a whole are always at the forefront."

Or, to put it another way, UMass football edges faculty for second FBS victory.

(Matt Sussman is awesome, by the way.)

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 1-11 | Adj. Record: 0-12 | Final F/+ Rk: 122
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
30-Aug at Connecticut 0-37 L (-4.7) - 37.1 L
8-Sep Indiana 6-45 L 11.2 - 35.4 L
15-Sep at Michigan 13-63 L 18.6 - 47.9 L
22-Sep at Miami (Ohio) 16-27 L 20.6 - 31.3 L
29-Sep Ohio 34-37 L 32.1 - 33.2 L
6-Oct at Western Michigan 14-52 L 16.8 - 44.3 L
20-Oct Bowling Green 0-24 L (-1.2) - 18.9 L
27-Oct at Vanderbilt 7-49 L 19.3 - 43.8 L
3-Nov at Northern Illinois 0-63 L 14.7 - 43.6 L
10-Nov at Akron 22-14 W 18.9 - 29.4 L
17-Nov Buffalo 19-29 L 15.6 - 34.0 L
23-Nov Central Michigan 21-42 L 17.2 - 33.2 L
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 12.7 124 40.2 121
Adj. Points Per Game 14.9 124 36.0 118

3. This team never had a chance in 2012.

Even with no injuries, this team wasn't going to be very good in its first FBS season. The team was too young, there was not enough FBS-level talent (even with the addition of some late senior transfers), and the new coaching staff was attempting to get its footing. But then quarterback Kellen Pagel was lost for the season to concussion-related issues (he is now on the UMass baseball roster, not the football roster), leaving two freshmen in his place. And the offensive line dealt with injuries and extreme youth. And the secondary dealt with xtreme-with-an-x youth. And after losing the top five 2011 targets from the receiving corps, almost nobody stepped up when given opportunities to make a mark. (The quarterback issues didn't help.) And a team that probably wasn't good enough to rank better than about 105th or 110th in the F/+ rankings instead became one of the two or three worst teams in the country.

If you're looking for a ceiling, however, look toward one specific game.

4. UMass almost beat Ohio.

Against an undefeated Ohio squad that had beaten Penn State about a month earlier, in front of a paltry 8,321 fans at Gillette Stadium, UMass almost pulled off a miracle.

The Minutemen gained 511 yards on a faltering Ohio defense, threw for 373 yards, moved the chains 28 times, took a 27-20 lead into the fourth quarter, faltered, rallied, and got to the Ohio 45-yard line with about 30 seconds left. But four straight incompletions ended an upset bid, and Ohio held on, 37-34. Quarterback Mike Wegzyn completed 27 of 51 passes for 373 yards and four scores, but it wasn't enough. We briefly got a glimpse of the potential of UMass' pistol attack, but that was just about the last time we would see potential in 2012.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 124 121 121 123
RUSHING 118 119 119 118
PASSING 103 123 119 123
Standard Downs 123 121 123
Passing Downs 113 117 108
Redzone 119 117 117
Q1 Rk 118 1st Down Rk 124
Q2 Rk 119 2nd Down Rk 124
Q3 Rk 120 3rd Down Rk 98
Q4 Rk 124

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Mike Wegzyn 6'5, 215 So. ** (5.4) 182 346 1,825 52.6% 6 10 25 6.7% 4.5
A.J. Doyle 6'3, 226 So. *** (5.5) 56 98 419 57.1% 3 8 7 6.7% 3.4
Ian Shultis


0 1 0 0.0% 0 1 0 0.0% 0.0
Brandon Hill 6'5, 218 Jr. NR








Todd Stafford 6'6, 240 Fr. ** (5.4)








5. Continuity would be a start.

Two freshmen got time at quarterback, four freshmen got opportunities at receiver, and four freshmen started at least one game on the line. The lineup we saw was not what we were supposed to see, but injuries were devastating to the UMass charge in 2012.

Some improved injury luck might allow the Minutemen to take advantage of what could be a lovely base of experience. This will be the case in 2014 more than 2013, probably, but this fall we'll still see a couple of interesting quarterbacks getting longer looks (both Mike Wegzyn and A.J. Doyle showcased at least a little bit of running ability and never had a chance to prove themselves as passers with this line and this receiving corps). We'll also see a potentially interesting corps of running backs, one that should include star freshman Lorenzo Woodley. The Minutemen almost certainly aren't going to win many games in 2013, but continuity and further experience could pay off dramatically in coming seasons.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Michael Cox RB 198 710 3.6 3.9 5 -31.6
Mike Wegzyn QB 6'5, 215 So. ** (5.4) 68 298 4.4 3.0 2 -7.5
Jordan Broadnax RB 5'9, 175 Jr. NR 51 138 2.7 2.0 1 -12.3
A.J. Doyle QB 6'3, 226 So. *** (5.5) 20 94 4.7 4.4 0 -0.7
Jamal Wilson RB 5'10, 190 So. NR 17 48 2.8 2.6 0 -3.8
Chris Burns RB 14 20 1.4 2.8 0 -4.3
Stacey Bedell RB 5'10, 180 RSFr. *** (5.5)





Lorenzo Woodley RB 6'0, 210 Fr. *** (5.7)





Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Deion Walker WR 93 59 667 63.4% 7.2 22.6% 57.0% 7.2 67.6
Alan Williams WR 72 42 450 58.3% 6.3 17.5% 50.0% 6.0 45.6
Rob Blanchflower TE 6'4, 250 Sr. NR 70 43 464 61.4% 6.6 17.0% 50.0% 6.3 47.0
Tajae Sharpe WR 6'2, 175 So. ** (5.4) 51 20 206 39.2% 4.0 12.4% 51.0% 4.1 20.9
Marken Michel WR 5'10, 185 Jr. *** (5.5) 47 28 229 59.6% 4.9 11.4% 46.8% 5.1 23.2
Jordan Broadnax RB 5'9, 175 Jr. NR 24 14 81 58.3% 3.4 5.8% 70.8% 3.8 8.2
Michael Cox RB 18 13 63 72.2% 3.5 4.4% 50.0% 3.7 6.4
Bernard Davis WR 6'1, 180 So. ** (5.4) 11 6 32 54.5% 2.9 2.7% 63.6% 3.0 3.2
Derek Beck WR 6'4, 205 So. NR 8 3 20 37.5% 2.5 1.9% 37.5% 2.1 2.0
Elgin Long WR 5'10, 189 So. NR 7 3 -3 42.9% -0.4 1.7% 71.4% -0.4 -0.3
Brian Dowling WR


5 1 6 20.0% 1.2 1.2% 80.0% 0.9 0.6
Chris Burns RB 2 2 13 100.0% 6.5 0.5% 0.0% 2.6 1.3
Ricardo Miller (Michigan) WR 6'4, 226 Sr. *** (5.7)








Rodney Mills WR 6'1, 205 RSFr. ** (5.4)








Dalvin Battle WR 5'10, 175 RSFr. ** (5.4)








Shaquille Harris WR 6'2, 185 Fr. ** (5.4)








D.J. Woods WR 5'10, 160 Fr. ** (5.4)








Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 83.0 1.84 3.96 34.4% 54.8% 27.2% 87.2 2.9% 10.2%
Rank 115 124 6 109 116 122 78 30 107
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Stephane Milhim LT 37 career starts
Nick Speller LG 30 career starts
Quinton Sales C 27 career starts
Anthony Dima RT 6'7, 302 Sr. NR 20 career starts
Michael Boland LG 6'7, 295 So. ** (5.3) 6 career starts
John Wallace LG


4 career starts
Al Leneus RG 6'2, 295 So. NR 2 career starts
Jamie Cassleberry RG 6'6, 280 So. NR 2 career starts
Matt Sparks LG 6'4, 275 So. ** (5.2) 1 career start
Vincent Westcarr LT 6'4, 308 Sr. NR
Tyrell Smith RG 6'5, 285 So. ** (5.2)
Malcolm Speller LT
Josh Bruns OL 6'5, 290 Jr. ** (5.2)
Sam Zeff OL 6'5, 277 Fr. ** (5.4)
Jordan Page OL 6'5, 302 Fr. ** (5.4)

6. The offensive line was crazy-young last year.

This time last year, UMass boasted three two-year starters on the line, which looked like a potential strength for an offense in need of one. The unit was still pretty awful, however (especially in run blocking), in part because of injuries. Nine players started at least one game, including four freshmen/redshirt freshmen. The pass protection was not horrible, but UMass was the worst in the country at opening holes on standard downs.

And now the Minutemen must replace their three most experienced starters.

Big Anthony Dima returns to anchor what will still be one of the younger lines in college football. UMass returns 31 career starts, 11 of which came from players who are now sophomores. This isn't a recipe for improvement, but with a load of sophomores and a new offensive line coach (former Cincinnati assistant Dave Johnson), things certainly look pretty good for 2014 and beyond. That's something.

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 104 123 123 119
RUSHING 117 124 122 124
PASSING 67 119 122 110
Standard Downs 124 124 120
Passing Downs 113 99 114
Redzone 122 122 122
Q1 Rk 116 1st Down Rk 108
Q2 Rk 116 2nd Down Rk 121
Q3 Rk 111 3rd Down Rk 115
Q4 Rk 111

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 82.2 3.30 3.84 43.3% 75.0% 15.8% 60.1 3.1% 2.9%
Rank 121 111 115 113 106 105 118 105 117
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Hafis Williams DT 12 36.5 5.3% 5 0 0 2 1 0
Stanley Andre DE 6'2, 240 Jr. ** (5.3) 12 28.5 4.1% 4 1 0 0 1 0
Chaz Thompson DT 12 28.0 4.0% 6 0.5 0 0 0 0
Kevin Byrne DE 6'3, 290 Sr. NR 12 20.5 3.0% 4 2 0 0 1 1
Ryan Delaire DE 6'4, 245 Jr. NR 8 14.5 2.1% 5 2.5 0 0 1 0
Galen Clemons DT 6'2, 275 Sr. NR 9 12.0 1.7% 0.5 0 0 1 0 0
Trey Seals DE 6'4, 231 So. NR 12 7.5 1.1% 1 1 0 1 0 0
Daniel Maynes DT 6'2, 250 Jr. NR 6 6.5 0.9% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Brandon Potvin DE 6'1, 262 Sr. NR 12 6.0 0.9% 1 1 0 0 0 0
Robert Kitching DT 6'1, 300 So. ** 7 1.5 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Peter Ngobidi DE 6'1, 210 Fr. ** (5.4)






Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Perry McIntyre ILB 12 96.5 13.9% 7.5 3 0 4 0 0
Kassan Messiah OLB 6'4, 215 So. ** (5.2) 9 43.5 6.3% 3 1 0 2 0 0
Tom Brandt OLB 6'0, 215 Sr. NR 12 29.5 4.2% 1 0 1 0 1 0
Jovan Santos-Knox OLB 6'2, 235 So. NR 10 21.5 3.1% 4 0 0 2 0 1
John Robinson ILB 6'2, 225 So. ** (5.2) 10 8.0 1.2% 0 0 0 0 0 1
Tim Brandt OLB 6'0, 212 Sr. ** (4.9) 10 7.5 1.1% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Greg Hilliard LB 6'3, 205 Jr. NR 3 6.0 0.9% 2 0 0 0 1 1
D.J. Adeoba LB 4 3.0 0.4% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rob O'Connor LB 6'1, 220 Sr. NR 2 1.5 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Darren Thellen S 12 62.0 8.9% 1 0 3 3 1 0
Randall Jette CB 5'11, 175 So. ** (5.4) 12 41.5 6.0% 1 0 2 4 0 0
Joe Colton S 5'10, 187 So. NR 11 38.0 5.5% 1 0 1 2 2 0
Trey Dudley-Giles CB 5'11, 170 So. ** (5.4) 11 35.0 5.0% 0.5 0 0 4 0 0
Khary Bailey-Smith S 6'2, 190 So. ** (5.2) 12 34.0 4.9% 1 0 2 1 1 2
Christian Birt S 6'2, 197 Sr. ** (4.9) 6 25.0 3.6% 0.5 0 1 0 0 0
Ed Saint-Vil S 5'11, 190 Jr. NR 5 18.0 2.6% 0 0 1 1 0 0
Antoine Tharpe CB 5'10, 190 Sr. NR 5 14.5 2.1% 2 0 1 1 0 0
D'Metrius Williams CB 6'0, 170 So. ** (5.2) 11 12.5 1.8% 1 0 0 6 1 0
Mike Lee DB 3 10.0 1.4% 1 0 1 2 0 0
Quayshun Smith DB 5'9, 160 Jr. ** (5.2) 9 2.5 0.4% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Devin Brown CB 5'11, 185 Sr. NR 7 2.0 0.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Iric Harris DB 5'8, 175 So. ** (5.4) 2 1.5 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Arthur Williams DB 6'3, 190 Fr. ** (5.4)







7. The secondary was crazy-young last year.

Few FBS units had to be shuffled around more than UMass' secondary. Thanks to injuries and attrition, 10 different Minutemen got the chance to record at least 10.0 tackles, only three of the 10 played in all 12 games, and by the end of the season, almost the entire two-deep (six of eight spots) consisted of freshmen and redshirt freshmen. Yikes.

Last year's shuffling, however, could turn into this year's strength. In sophomore corners Randall Jette, Troy Dudley-Giles and D'Metrius Williams, UMass has a trio that combined for two picks, 14 passes broken up, and 2.5 tackles for loss. Throw in four experienced safeties, and you've got a recipe for improvement, especially considering the front seven returns four players who made at least 4.0 tackles for loss last fall. There is almost literally nowhere to go but up for this defense, but overall the UMass D might be the first of the two major units to actually resemble an FBS unit.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Colter Johnson 6'3, 200 Sr. 64 43.8 5 7 16 35.9%
Jeff Strait 6'0, 197 Sr. 9 42.0 0 2 0 22.2%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Brendon Levengood 6'1, 197 Sr. 39 60.7 10 25.6%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Blake Lucas 5'8, 160 So. 8-9 7-8 87.5% 0-0 N/A
Brendon Levengood 6'1, 197 Sr. 6-7 3-4 75.0% 0-1 0.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Jordan Broadnax KR 5'9, 175 Jr. 44 21.2 0
Marken Michel KR 5'10, 185 Jr. 9 16.1 0
Trey Dudley-Giles PR 5'11, 175 So. 14 8.0 0
Brian Dowling PR

5 1.0 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 79
Net Punting 86
Net Kickoffs 67
Touchback Pct 95
Field Goal Pct 40
Kick Returns Avg 85
Punt Returns Avg 75

8. Special teams was, and should again be, a relative strength.

UMass' special teams unit was far from perfect -- iffy returns, few touchbacks on kickoffs, iffy punting -- but UMass made 10 of 12 field goals under 40 yards and covered kickoffs well. And in the absence of other strengths, this is something on which you can hang your hat.

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2012 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
31-Aug at Wisconsin 14
7-Sep Maine NR
14-Sep at Kansas State 40
21-Sep Vanderbilt 49
5-Oct at Bowling Green 67
12-Oct Miami (Ohio) 106
19-Oct at Buffalo 101
26-Oct Western Michigan 93
2-Nov Northern Illinois 50
16-Nov Akron 120
23-Nov at Central Michigan 96
29-Nov at Ohio 83
Five-Year F/+ Rk 124
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 124
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -9 / -7.2
TO Luck/Game -0.7
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 9 (4, 5)
Yds/Pt Margin** +10.5

9. Whatever UMass might become, it's still a year away from starting to become it.

The schedule features just four teams projected 100th or worse in the F/+ projections, and only two projected worse than Miami (Ohio) at No. 106. Considering 100th-105th is just about the best UMass can hope for with its continued youth, that suggests that the Minutemen are not going to win many games this fall.

That said, last year's ridiculously young team is still going to be young in 2013; if it sticks together, UMass will have one of the most experienced teams in the MAC come 2014-15. In players like Mike Wegzyn, Lorenzo Woodley, a host of young receivers and offensive linemen, and a defense that will feature perhaps as few as 6-7 seniors on its two-deep, there is a core around which Charley Molnar can build.

We don't know about the overall level of talent yet, and returns aren't amazingly promising, but in a year or two we might find that things are improving swiftly in Amherst.

10. Victor Cruz is really good.

Just saying. If UMass can produce him, it can produce a few more like him at some point.

(I really wanted to end this on a positive note.)

More in College Football:

SB Nation exclusive with Bobby Petrino, football mind

New Oregon State logo, football uniforms revealed

This Alabama tattoo will haunt your dreams

All in, at last: SB Nation inside Gus Malzahn's Auburn

Kliff Kingsbury isn't GQ enough

The speed conspiracy: Comparing NFL and high school 40-yard dash times

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.