Massachusetts Minutemen 2010 NCAA Football Preview

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Massachusetts Minutemen

Colonial Athletic Association


2009 Record: (5-6, 3-5)

2009 Bowl: none

Coach: Kevin Morris (5-6 at Massachusetts, 29-38 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Brian Picucci

Defensive Coordinator: Keith Dudzinski


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Jonathan Hernandez, RB, 577 yards

Passing: Kyle Havens, QB, 1,908 yards

Receiving: Julian Talley, 350 yards

Tackles: Tyler Holmes, LB, 110

Sacks: Tyler Holmes, LB, 1.0

Interceptions: Tyler Holmes, LB, 4


Other Key Returnees: CB Ke’Mon Bailey, S Kumar Davis, TE Emil Igwenagu, LB Perry McIntyre, LB Mike Mele, S Darren Thellen, S Shane Viveiros

Key Losses: OT Jared Chivers, WR Victor Cruz, CB Corey Davis, LB Eric Dickson, OT Vladimir Ducasse, DE Michael Hansen, DT Kyle Harrington, WR Jeremy Horne, S Jeromy Miles, DE Anthony Monette, RB Tony Nelson, WR Joe Sanford, FB Chris Zardas


Despite inconsistent quarterback play, Massachusetts had a pretty good offense in 2009. The problem was turnovers and a defense that could not stop the opposition after being on the field too long. Umass has the talent to turn things around in Coach Kevin Morris’ second year at the helm, but it will not happen if turnovers remain a prominent issue.



Vladimir Ducasse was a big part of the offensive line and was picked in the second round of 2010 NFL Draft. However, the offensive line is still in good shape in large part due to acquisition of senior tackle Greg Niland, who will be eligible to play immediately after the dismantling of the Northeastern football program, and the return of three starting linemen from a year ago. Niland is not the only player who is coming to the Minutemen to finish off their career. Running back John Griffin is also from Northeastern and will join Jonathan Hernandez in the backfield to give the Minutemen a speedy one-two rushing attack. Anthony Nelson tallied 71 yards and a touchdown against Umass last year while playing for Hofstra, but will be catching balls for the Minutemen in 2010. He joins Julian Talley and tight end Emil Igwenagu to provide the team with a few quality and experienced receivers.



It is hard to blame the defense for last year’s disappointing season, but they do need to do a better job getting pressure on the quarterback and creating some turnovers of their own. The front line that was relatively unproductive last year has a lot of rebuilding to do. What this defense does have is plenty of talent at linebacker. Tyler Holmes turned into the unit’s leader last season and will be again this time around. With Perry McIntyre returning and a full year of Syracuse transfer Mike Mele, not to mention another Northeastern transfer in Chad Hunte, the linebackers will have to carry this defense. The secondary will get torched again if the front four cannot get to the quarterback, but at least Ke’mon Bailey, Darren Thellen and Shane Viveiros are experienced players who could have a good year if the line can do its job.


The Bottom Line:

Who is the quarterback? This team is good enough to win games as long as the quarterback avoids mistakes. Kyle Havens tried to do too much last year and his 15 interceptions were a huge problem. Yet, he is still in line for the starting job. However, junior Octavious Hawkins is battling for the gig and true freshman Brandon Hill could be in the mix as well if Havens and Hawkins cannot get the job done. Havens is the most talented player at this point, but Umass should not hesitate to pull him if one of the other quarterbacks can run the offensive more efficiently. No matter who starts at quarterback, they better learn to take care of the ball or the Minutemen will have another disappointing campaign.


2009 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 148.45 (44th in nation, 5th in conference)

Passing Offense: 229.18 (29, 4)

Total Offense: 377.64 (28, 2)

Scoring Offense: 26.82 (38, 4)

Rushing Defense: 119.91 (28, 4)

Pass Defense: 198.09 (66, 9)

Total Defense: 318.00 (35, 7)

Scoring Defense: 22.18 (47, 7)

Turnover Margin: -1.00 (108, 11)

Sacks: 1.18 (108, 12)

Sacks Allowed: 1.55 (37, 2)