UMass quarterback Andrew Ford is hungry, improving

  • Massachusetts quarterback Andrew Ford (7) attempts a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Massachusetts 34-28. AP

  • UMass quarterback Andrew Ford about to throw the ball during a game against Hawaii at McGuirk Stadium on Saturday, August 26, 2017. GAZETTE STAFF / Caroline O'Connor

@MattVautourDHG
Published: 4/6/2018 7:57:18 PM

AMHERST — It’s easy to look at Andrew Ford as a given.

There are questions in some key spots on the UMass football roster, but as long as Ford is healthy, quarterback isn’t one of them.

In 2017, Ford averaged 265.8 passing yards per game. He threw 22 touchdown passes and was intercepted just four times. If UMass had a conference, there’s a good chance he’d be a leading candidate for a preseason all-league team.

He was good enough for the Minutemen to be good and is part of the reason there’s increased optimism around the program for 2018.

Last year, his wide receivers were young and his offensive line took some time to come together, leaving him under pressure for much of September and October. If Ford is exactly as good as he was last year, UMass’ offense could take a step if additional experience leads to those groups improving.

Not surprisingly, he’s not looking at it that way.

“I did some good things last year. I did some bad things. I’m nowhere near satisfied with how I played last year,” Ford said. “That’s motivation to come out here every single day and get better. I think I did takes some steps last year, but I’m trying to take an even bigger step.”

UMass coach Mark Whipple said he’s expanding Ford’s game day playbook.

“We’ve added a lot more stuff and worked on stuff he struggled a little bit with and didn’t have to time to work on,” he said. “We’re adding another page to his repertoire.”

Ford said winning four of their last six games was encouraging. It was also a reminder of what could have been had they started the season better.

“We knew if we played the first half of the season the way we did in the second half and should have the whole year, our season wouldn’t have ended on Dec. 3,” he said. “We know this is the year to put it all together.”

He said the Minutemen have tried to use spring as an early start on fall camp.

“We understand the steps we take now will decrease the time we spend on the field fixing mistakes in the fall,” he said.

BRENEMAN BACK IN THE POLITCAL ARENA — After a knee injury caused him to walk away from football for the second time, former UMass tight end Adam Breneman went back to what he did the first time.

In 2016 after leaving Penn State, Breneman helped guide Mike Regan to a win in the Republican primary in the Pennsylvania State Senate. Regan won the general when Breneman returned to football and is still serving.

Now Breneman, a Cedar Cliffs, Pennsylvania native, is the campaign manager for Dr. John Joyce, who is seeking the Republican nomination to represent Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

UMASS YOUTH CLINIC — UMass is hosting a free, non-contact clinic for kids (ages 5-13) prior to the April 13 spring game.

Registration is at: http://umass.fan-one.com/webApp/umassF18YouthClinic.

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




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