Football notebook: Shadrach Abrokwah ‘ready’ to carry load for UMass

Last modified: Wednesday, November 11, 2015
AMHERST — Shadrach Abrokwah said he’ll be ready when called upon. UMass football coach Mark Whipple said he plans to use him.

Whipple revealed Tuesday that true freshman Sekai Lindsay’s ankle injury will require surgery ending the running back’s season. Abrokwah, who led UMass in rushing last year (122 carries, 578 yards, seven touchdowns), is expected to see more action in his place. Whipple said Lorenzo Woodley could also see more time.

Abrokwah led the Minutemen with 56 yards on nine carries in the season opener at Colorado, but he hasn’t had a carry since. He had a second-half fumble, but he returned to the backfield afterward. The fumble might have contributed to his demotion to special teams since that Sept. 12 game. It’s possible Whipple always planned to play Lindsay ahead of Abrokwah, but Lindsay didn’t make the trip to Colorado because of precautions due to him having sickle cell trait.

Lindsay had 114 yards on 34 carries before being injured.

Abrokwah said he’s prepared to step in despite going six weeks without a carry.

“I’ve been ready for the opportunity. I’ve been preparing. I’ve been taking the appropriate steps and staying conditioned. I’ve been still working on my reads and watching film like I was starting,” he said. “It’s always next man up. Next man be ready if your number is called. I have no worries. I’m confident. If it was last year. I might have been nervous as a freshman or sophomore, but the game has slowed down for me now. I know how to read defenses a little bit better.”

Abrokwah, a power lifter in high school, said he’s looking forward to being physical.

“I don’t mind a little contact. It’s football by the way. You’re going to get hit regardless,” he said. “It’s been a while. I’m fresh. I feel good. My legs feel good.”

True freshman Marquis Young, who leads the Minutemen with 371 yards on 48 carries, missed practice Tuesday with an undisclosed injury.

HEALTH UPDATES — Whipple revealed that senior cornerback Kelton Brackett missed Saturday’s game with a concussion, but has gone through the required protocol and was back at practice Tuesday.

“He’s fine. He’s all right,” Whipple said. “He’s run around.”

Marken Michel, Trey Seals, Kassan Messiah, Lucas Amato and James Oliphant all missed practice Tuesday.

Amato is likely out for Saturday. Messiah could return to practice as soon as Wednesday. Everyone else’s status will be determined later in the week.

“(Marken) might go,” Whipple said. “He’s getting treatment. He looked all right today. We’ll know more on Thursday. I don’t know about (Trey Seals). He’s been getting a little better every day.”

AKRON START — UMass’ Nov. 7 game against Akron is officially a noon kickoff at Gillette Stadium. The game will be on CBS Sports Network.

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