Friday, September 14, 2012

Who Are You and Why Should We Care?: Massachusetts Minutemen

Since Fouad is not posting a preview today, Who Are You and Why Should We Care is back on Friday. 

Have we ever seen them before?
Three games into the 2010 season, the Minutemen came to the Big House to take on the Wolverine's in Rich Rodriguez's last season. Just three seasons after THE HORROR, Michigan decided to schedule another Division 1-AA* opponent; this time against a Greg Robinson lead defense. Michigan scored 42 points, and needed almost all of them to defeat UMass, 42 - 37. Denard was forced to play the entire game. He ran for 104 yards and threw for 241, scoring 3 touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns were throws to Darryl Stonum, who accounted for 121 yards receiving. Michael Shaw** had a tremendous game with 126 yards and 3 touchdowns on 12 carries. Michigan's defense could not get the Minutemen off the field. The defense allowed 439 yards. Quarterback, Kyle Havens had 222 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the running back duo of Jonathan Hernandez and John Griffin combined for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Michigan had to withstand an onside kick attempt in the final minutes to hold off the Minutemen. 

*I will never call it FCS
**I have no idea what those two UMass players are doing in the Shaw picture.

What do they look like?
The Minutemen are represented by the colors Maroon and White. While members of Division 1-AA, they wore maroon jerseys with huge black underarms and red or white pants at home. They wore white jerseys with maroon underarms, which took up way to much space on the back of the jersey. UMass had white helmets for both the home and road look. This year, UMass entered the MAC, and changed their uniforms. They simplified the look with plain red jerseys and white, red, or black pants at home and white jerseys on the road. There is also an all black option, which was broken out against Indiana. The white helmet was retired, and the Minutemen now wear a black helmet at all times. In my opinion, the uniform looks much better, but the helmet was a step backwards. Their undershirt sleeve is pretty awesome though. 

Where does the name Minutemen come from?
Originally, the Massachusetts State College football team was nicknamed the Aggies or the Statesmen. Those two names were both used until 1947, when the college became the University of Massachusetts and the team changed their name to the Redmen. After determining that the name may be anti-Native American, the team changed their mascot to the Minutemen in 1972. All the information you could ever want to know about the Minutemen of the American Revolution here

Have they had good coaches?
The current head coach is Charley Molnar. Molnar had been an assistant coach from 1984 to last year. He slowly made his way up through the ranks, working at small schools like Lock Haven, Western Carolina, Illinois State, Kent State, and Eastern Illinois. He has completed the trifecta of directional Michigan schools after stints at Eastern, Western, and most recently, Central. He followed Brian Kelly from Central to Cincinnati to Notre Dame, before finally being offered the head coaching job in Massachusetts. Molnar was the Offensive Coordinator at Notre Dame the last two seasons, so there is a good excuse to show Tommy Rees throwing the ball backwards. 
Molnar is currently defeated as a head coach, but that has a lot to do with only playing two games. 

Have they ever won a National or Conference Championship?
UMass beat McNeese State, Lehigh, Northwestern State, and Georgia Southern in the 1998 Division 1-AA playoffs, winning their first, and only, National Championship. From 1947 to 1996, the Minutemen were in the Yankee Conference. They won 17 Yankee Conference Championships. They moved to the Atlantic Conference in 1997, and won the Conference Championship there four times before moving to the Colonial Athletic Association, where they were Champions in 2007. 

Where do they play football?

From 1965 to 2011, the Minutemen played their games at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The 17,000 seat stadium was named for Warren P. McGuirk, who was the Athletic Director from 1948 to 1971. When UMass made the move up to Division 1-A, the University decided it was necessary to improve their home stadium drastically in order to live up to expectations of Division 1-A play. In order for the renovations to occur, the Minutemen will play all their 2012 and 2013 home games at Gillette Stadium, two hours away. Gillette Stadium, home to the New England Patriots, holds 68,756 people, and will host at least four UMass home games through 2016. 

Do they have any players in the NFL that we may have heard of?
They currently have seven NFL players, but the only one I have ever heard of is Victor Cruz.

Other famous people?
Do they have a goofy mascot?
The mascot for UMass is Sam the Minuteman. He performs at every sporting event, and placed second in the 2005 Capital One Mascot of The Year Competition. He's been in some commercials for Sports Center, which is pretty impressive for a mascot from a school without a Division 1-A football team. 

The University of Massachusetts Minutemen have been terrible so far this season. They lost 37-0 to UConn and 45-6 against Indiana. Hopefully, this will be a game where the first team is taken out of the game very early, and we get to see what Russell Bellomy can do at QB. Prediction based on everything but football: Michigan 52 - UMass 3. 

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