UMass Mailbag: Week 4

  • University of Massachusetts senior quarterback Andrew Ford steps back to pass against Duquesne in the first quarter of the Minutemen's 63-15 win over the Dukes in their home opener at Warren McGuirk Stadium in Amherst on Saturday, August 25, 2018.

Staff Writer
Published: 9/21/2018 5:13:39 PM

This was certainly an interesting week in Amherst for the UMass football program. The Minutemen return home this weekend with a 1-3 to take on Charlotte in a game that is suddenly extremely important.

There were a lot of questions for me this week that I cannot or will not answer — opinions on the job security for any coach will never be discussed in public. But there were a few questions that I need to address as well, so let’s dive into this mailbag.

Q: Several people emailed me about how UMass will bounce back from the locker room turmoil.

A: I am starting to close in on the source of this incredible rumor, but there is no locker room turmoil nor has there ever been any. There has been the expected frustration with the lack of results, but at no point was the locker room divided or in any sort of distress.

This should be a very motivated Minutemen squad on Saturday, and I expect to see the best game UMass has played all year.

Q: Steve Levie asks a question that I’ve heard several times in the past three weeks or so. Will Mark Whipple cut down on the offensive schemes/packages which include two totally different styles of qb and try to perfect one system?

A: The simple answer is that Ross Comis and Andrew Ford run the same offense basically. The plays don’t change drastically for either one of them. If either one of them is in the game, I doubt Whipple simplifies the offense too much because of the veterans playing on that unit.

Whipple did mention that the gameplan will be altered slightly if Michael Curtis needs to start Saturday. The junior doesn’t have as much experience with the starters, so Whipple will stick with the formations and concepts that Curtis is most comfortable with executing.

Overall, though, I don’t think the offensive execution has anything to do with the scheme. Many issues have been simple fixes like dropped passes and missed blocks, and much of that isn’t scheme-based.

Q: Obviously many of you asked about the status of Ford and Comis while expressing doubt about Curtis.

A: We’ll find out who is healthy enough to play on Saturday during pregame warmups. Both Comis and Ford have returned to the practice field, but it still seems they have additional hurdles to clear before they play in a game. My gut feeling says at least one of them will be back based on what Whipple has said, but that’s optimism more than anything else.

You’ll read more about Curtis in Saturday’s paper, but I think the week of first-team reps is really helpful for him. He is more talented than many of you give him credit for, and a super bright person as well. He’s the third string for a reason, but I think he can easily lead the Minutemen on four or five scoring drives, which is all you can ask of a quarterback.

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