Good, bad and neutral

September 17, 2008

Decent amount of football news out there – some neutral and some pretty bad.

For some reason, the Seattle Post Intelligencer has a preview on the UMass/Texas Tech football game this weekend. The article is pretty down-the-middle, and doesn’t exactly give a whole lot of information we didn’t already know.

Opponents are scoring 36.7 ppg against UMass, which is yielding 383.7 total ypg. Clearly, there is room for the defense to improve. Stopping the run has proven to be extremely problematic, as foes are generating 215.0 total ypg on an average of 5.0 ypc. Of the 14 touchdowns that opposing offenses have registered against the Minutemen, nine have come on the ground.

As most football fans know, Texas Tech isn’t exactly known for its ground game. The Red Raiders are going to do their best to pick apart the Maroon and White’s secondary with its outstanding passing game.

However, it appears Tech isn’t afraid to hit the trenches.

As for the ground attack, Baron Batch is averaging 8.8 ypc on 21 attempts, and Shannon Woods has reached the end zone four times. “We are going to make plays,” said Batch of the role that he and Woods play in the offense. “So if were passing and that’s working, then that’s fine with me. But we can always run, we have play makers in every position.”

Should be a scary game – I just hope it prepares the Minutemen for the rest of the season.

Now for the bad: Folarinde Aiyeku, a former UMass football player, is going to jail after pleading guilty to assaulting Kevin Maresco, a former UMass hockey player, in 2007.

Janda Ricci-Munn, a former UMass track and cross-country athlete, finished fifth at the Subaru 70.3 Muskoka Ironman in Huntsville, Ontario.

Tevin Baskin, a UMass basketball recruit, is looking at schools and doesn’t appear to have a favorite yet.

He’s checking out Amherst in October.

“I haven’t heard from Rutgers and St. John’s, or any of the Big East schools really,” he said. “I have no favorite. Schools are still coming in.”


I left my heart in…

June 17, 2008

San Francisco?

Well, apparently two former UMass track members – Korhonen and Andy McCarron – are heading West on an incredible bike journey. The two athletes are riding their bikes from Amherst all the way to San Fran.

To think, I had trouble running from one bar to the next last weekend.

From the Worcester Telegram:

“When we decided to ride across the country, we also decided that it would be a good way to raise a lot of money for a good cause,” Mr. Korhonen said. “We wanted to help Children’s Hunger Fund and the idea took off from there.”

On Saturday, after goodbyes from friends in the Boston area, Mr. Korhonen and Mr. McCarron will leave from the Long Wharf in Boston Harbor and ride to Amherst. The official send-off will be from the Fort River Elementary School parking lot in Amherst on Sunday morning beginning at 9 a.m.

Best of luck to both of you. I always wonder how people go about making these incredible cross-country trips. What roads do you take? How do you know what neighborhoods to stay out of? How much cashola do you need to eat, sleep and enjoy the road?

Either way, I’m sure it’s cheaper than ponying up gas money.

The News Tribune is listing a IMass alumni as a possible candidate to replace recently fired  Bill Bavasi as the GM for the Seattle Mariners.

From the article:

There’s Chris Antonetti, a Georgetown grad with a master’s degree from UMass. The assistant general manager in Cleveland, Antonetti’s credentials are so impressive, he was offered the Cardinals GM position last winter. (He turned it down.)

Keeping track

June 5, 2008

Greg Zopatti, the head track coach for the Pembroke girls track team, attributes his attitude toward training to his time at UMass.

From the Enterprise:

Zopatti used his background as top 800 runner for Harvard and Massachusetts Track Coaches Hall of Famer, Oliver Ames grad and former Weymouth coach Ed Meehan, as well as his time as a runner at UMass-Amherst.

“The thing I took away from Ed Meehan was the personal approach of working with the kids,” Zopatti said. “Meehan got people to believe in what they were doing physically as well as mentally. The training part is what I took from my time at UMass-Amherst

Speaking of success on the track, Christine DeRosa has qualified to run the 10,000 meters at the 2008 NCAA Women’s Track & Field National Championship.

Check out the release at UMassAthletics.

Dick Weiss, from the New York Daily News, said the A-10 should take a look at Hofstra as a possible basketball member.

From the Daily News:

If the Atlantic 10 is looking to make a bigger splash in our city, maybe it should look to add Hofstra as a new member. The Pride has developed a strong following and, paired with Fordham, might be finally able to establish some increased buzz in a media capital traditionally dominated by the Big East.

FOOTBALL UPDATE: Mark Whipple’s son is transferring from Pitt to UMass to play a little quarterback.

The UMass Football Blog has this covered.

Batter up

May 14, 2008

The Boston Herald had an article about the future of the UMass baseball program – including the replacement of Earl Lorden Field, which is way past its prime.

For the longest time, the baseball team has been second-fiddle to lacrosse and has had to get by with minimal support from the school. Mike Stone has consistently made the most out of local talent, but there is only so much a bunch of Massachusetts boys that have to practice inside for most of the year can do.

From the Herald’s article:

Replacing Earl Lorden Field with a new facility is the overriding priority, and private financing is the best option. Lorden Field once stood alone on open meadow on the northwest fringe of the campus. But it now looks out of place nestled between the new physical plant and the Mullins Center.

Stone believes UMass must upgrade to a new stadium before he can attract top prospects to Amherst.

“The main thing is an improved field facility with a field turf surface, new stands, press box and fence,” Stone said. “You have to have a desirable place to play that the kids want to come to and play at.

“The scholarships are the other issue, but UMass is relatively affordable compared to other places and if we had a great place to play that would be tremendous.”

The fact that UMass has to use 2.3 scholarships to compete against other Division I talent is frustrating. Of course, there are other programs going through the same situation, but UMass is a state school that should have the financial backing to compete with the Richmonds of the world.

I hope some private funding comes in to help. Stone is a great manager, but he needs more than smoke and mirrors to get this team where it needs to be.

Just look at what happened in the Beanpot this year. Imagine if Stone had the same resources as the boys on Chestnut Hill.

Tim Balise, Brian Danvers and Doc Schneider were named to the NEILA All-New England Second Team.

Check out the article at CSTV.

Apparently we lost out on a pretty good track star a few years back.

From the Daily News via North Andover:

“I e-mailed schools like (University of Rhode Island), UConn, and (University of Massachusetts),” said Martin, who emphasizes her leg training with exercises like clean and jerks and squats. “URI wanted me to go there, UMass didn’t want to have anything to do with me, and UConn asked me to visit.”

Don’t get Cocky Travis

January 22, 2008

First, let me just say that I apologize for leaving my shameless plug up for so long. Between being sick and the Giants making the Super Bowl (pinch me) I’ve been away from the computer for an extended period of time.

Let’s start things off with some Travis Ford rumors — that’s always fun.

The Charleston Post and Courier is reporting that Ford is on a short list of possible candidates for the University of South Carolina coaching position, replacing Dave Odom.

The search to replace him is expected to begin in earnest this week for USC athletic director Eric Hyman. Hyman declined all questions Friday about the search, saying it was “Dave’s day.”

Hyman is expected to meet with the media later in the week to discuss the process.

Other names that are bound to surface, in some capacity, are Kent State coach Jim Christian; UMass coach and former Kentucky guard Travis Ford; and Miami coach Frank Haith, a former Wake assistant under Odom.

After I saw this story on my RSS feed, I went to UMassHoops and noticed that it was already posted. One of the first responses was whether or not South Carolina is a “step up” from UMass, and the answer is quite simple — yes.

As you know, I’m a huge, HUGE, UMass fan, but I am also (at times) a realistic one. South Carolina is an SEC team, gets SEC recruits and SEC television time. It has the chance to showcase itself in front of a larger audience, better recruits and — just by the nature of its conference schedule — ALWAYS has a chance at postseason play.

Of course, USC is not exactly synonymous with success in college hoops, but it is a team that won back-to-back NIT championships (one against St. Joe’s in 2005, I was there as a Gamecocks “fan”) and has the potential to thrive in a SEC that is in the midst of a down period — save for teams that call Tennessee their home.

Obviously, this is a rumor for now, but there is no denying that Ford is making a name for himself in the college ranks. Teams are always looking for the “next one,” and preferably a young next one that can carry a program on his charisma, recruiting and uncanny ability to get young athletes to respond. Ford has all that, and we’re lucky to have it as long as we do.

Hopefully he takes us to the Dance before he finds a prettier prom date.

The Republican had a good, brief article on Ricky Harris and his recent A-10 Play of the Week honor. I’m starting to get used to this kid’s scoring ability, but it is still a shocker that he’s only a sophomore.

“You can’t just take a lot of 3-pointers, you’ve got to make them,” Harris said. “Offense is just about confidence. If you’ve got that, the shots will fall.”

Christina DeRosa was named the A-10’s Indoor Track female Athlete of the Week.

DeRosa won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16.58.47 at the Gotham Cup on January 18…her career-best time was the second-fastest mark in UMass indoor track history…qualified her for the ECAC Championships.

Paul Dainton, UMass’ hockey goalie, continues to have an impressive freshman campaign. He is giving up 2.39 goals per game — good for fourth in Hockey East. He also has more minutes that either Carter Hutton (UMass-Lowell, 488:28) and Nevin Hamilton (also UMass-Lowell, 731:27) who are ahead of him on the list at Nos. 1 and 3, respectively.

… and people were so Quick to judge after UMass lost Johnny on the spot.