×

Derek Dumais ready to assume leadership role on young UMass offensive line

  • UMass redshirt sophomore Derek Dumais is slated to be the starting center on a young offensive line. GAZETTE STAFF / Caroline O’Connor

  • UMass redshirt sophomore Derek Dumais is slated to be the starting center on a young offensive line. GAZETTE STAFF / Caroline O’Connor

  • UMass redshirt sophomore Derek Dumais is slated to be the starting center on a young offensive line. GAZETTE STAFF / Caroline O’Connor



@MattVautourDHG
Friday, August 11, 2017

AMHERST — As he walked off UMass’ Gladchuk practice field Tuesday, Derek Dumais’ long hair was dripping. The maroon workout shirt underneath his practice gear was darkened with sweat.

Dumais’ effort is undeniable in an important camp for him. UMass returns its top passer, its top rusher and top two receivers on offense, but that won’t matter much if the offensive line doesn’t come together.

Including Dumais, who’ll take over at center, UMass has three new starters on the line.

“He’s done a nice job. He was our backup last year. He’s continued to improve. He had a real good spring for us,” UMass offensive line coach Mike Foley said. “He’s doing a nice job. He’s a big body and has good feet for a big man. He’s smart. He makes all the line calls and is pretty vocal.”

Dumais worked as a guard during his redshirt year, but switched to center last year. The responsibility of calling the protection and leading the unit took some time to learn.

“At first it didn’t come as quickly, but in my second year it’s pretty repetitive now,” he said. “I feel like I’m up to speed with it.”

He said he benefited from watching Matt Sparks, who started in the middle in 2015, and Fabian Hoeller, who took over last year.

“The guys before me, like Fabian Hoeller and Matt Sparks, were good mentors to have. Coming in as a freshman, they taught me a lot,” he said. “I always watched Fabian and tried to do what he did. He was a hard-working guy who always did the right thing. He went out of his way to help me. I try to do that now with the younger guys.”

Jack Driscoll will likely start at right guard with Jake Largay at right tackle. Raquan Thomas will be at left tackle with Lukas Kolter the likely starter at left guard. Mike Yerardi and Larnel Coleman will likely be regular contributors as well. There’s not a senior in the group.

“You have to have group integrity. Four guys could to a heckuva job and one guy screws up and the play breaks down,” Foley said. “Those are young guys developing together.”

Dumais is hoping to help foster some cohesion.

“Camp is definitely building chemistry for us. I think it’s going well,” he said. “We have most of our plays in. We’re kind of cleaning up and learning from our mistakes.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage