UMass QB Andrew Ford eager to build off of year one

  • UMass quarterback Andrew Ford, right, and center Derek Dumais warm up during the first practice of the season on Sunday, July 30, 2017. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

  • UMass quarterback Andrew Ford, right, and center Derek Dumais warm up during the first practice of the season on Sunday, July 30, 2017. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

@MattVautourDHG
Published: 8/3/2017 9:54:02 PM

AMHERST — A year ago, Andrew Ford was still learning his way around UMass, Mark Whipple’s offense and a few of his teammates’ names.

The quarterback from Pennsylvania arrived in May 2016 after transferring from Lackawanna Community College, where he played for a year after leaving Virginia Tech.

A year later he’s a different guy, carrying much more confidence, both his own and that of his teammates.

“Just being familiar with everything from how coach Whipple runs practices, how we watch film as a team to how guys are in the locker room. I’m way more comfortable with every single aspect,” Ford said. “I’m that much more confident in our guys and in myself as well.

“Last year I was watching film of the previous year trying to learn our offense. I have a much better feel for the receivers, who each guy is going to run each specific route,” he continued. “We were out there a lot this summer, but I wasn’t learning as much on the fly about Andy Isabella and Sadiq Palmer. Being able to spend more time focused on the teams we have coming up this year is going to help us in the fall.”

Ross Comis was the No. 1 QB out of camp last season, but he and Ford hot-potatoed the starting job through the season’s first five weeks as neither was sharp.

Comis then suffered a season-ending leg injury and Ford found his comfort zone, finishing with 2,665 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

He and Comis are competing again. Ford said both are approaching the competition like they’re already the starter. That way when Whipple names a No. 1, there’ll be no transition necessary.

“I don’t look at this camp any different than my freshman year at Virginia Tech when I was three or four on the depth chart,” Ford said. “I’m coming in every day preparing like I’m the starter.”

When Ford watches video he barely recognizes the guy wearing the No. 7 jersey in preseason last year. He’s come a long way.

“Yeah there’s definitely a learning curve. There’s some plays last year that I wish I had back. But that’s part of it. I think later in the year I transitioned to being a little more consistent,” Ford said. “I think that came with some of the mistakes I made. As frustrating as it is to go back and revisit some of those experiences, I think those mistakes really helped me learn and better myself. It’s tough watching some of those plays, but as long as you learn from them and don’t make the same mistake again.”

Ford said he hoped 2017 provides another sizable step forward for himself and UMass.

“It’s exciting to know where our potential is. We just have to prove it to other people. There were some moments last year where we could look back at and see what we could be but it’s all about consistency,” he said. Each and every day we’re trying to be more consistent. We saw some things last year that were pretty good. The bad things we saw, we learned from. There’s a long way for me to go. I know the goals and standards I have for myself,” That’s part of what keeps me going every day.”

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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