Senior guard Nick Speller still not at UMass football practice
AMHERST — Senior guard Nick Speller, who remained out of action for the University of Massachusetts football team, will need to return for Wednesday’s practice if he wants to avoid missing his fourth consecutive game due to an academic suspension.
“No updates today,” said UMass coach Charley Molnar, who will accept Speller back whenever he returns. “I never told him he had a certain date. I said here’s what you need to do and when you accomplish this you’ll be back on the team in good graces. I was looking for a much faster resolution, but once he takes care of it, I’ll keep my end of the bargain.”
Antoine Tharpe, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury, had a setback after practicing Monday.
“He’s sore. We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Molnar said. “I would say he’s doubtful based on what I saw today.”
Redshirt freshman guard Jamie Casselberry (concussion) isn’t expected to play either.
“He’s making strides. But he’s just starting to exert himself,” Molnar said. “We’ll see how he is at the end of the week, but I would say he’s doubtful to out.”
HILLIARD DONE — Sophomore linebacker Greg Hilliard is officially done for the season with a shoulder injury. Molnar said the Minuteman are exploring the possibility of getting him a medical redshirt that would give him three years of eligibility after this year.
“He’s out. He’s done for the season,” Molnar said. “They’re looking into (a redshirt). I don’t have an official answer on that yet.”
NEW CONTRACT FOR CRUZ — Former Minuteman wide receiver Victor Cruz told ESPN that he thought he and the New York Giants were close to a new contract in an ESPN interview.
“I was excited to hear this weekend that contract talks are moving in the right direction,” Cruz said. “I heard there was some progress on the structure.”
RISING MAC — CBS Sports’ weekly ranking of the 11 FBS Conference saw the MAC jump up to No. 5 behind the SEC, the Big XII, the Pac 12 and the Big 10, putting the league ahead of two BCS leagues the Big East and the ACC.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.