Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — First Look at UMass Football — New Kids on the Block
Some transitions are easy; say switching from driving a Corolla to driving a Camry. Some transitions are very difficult and are not accomplished in an eye blink. The Minutemen have a task that fits into the later category, moving up to the elite Division One Bowl Series in football (FBS).
This is no secret and as can be discerned by reading an interview with GBMWolverine earlier this week with UMass athletic director John McCutcheon. Change takes time but also players, finances, community support, and plenty of patience and band-aids to put on top of the ego and physical bruises programs incur with such a bold move. The time frame that Director McCutcheon stated of three to five years for becoming competitive is very accurate assuming the other pieces fall into place. Studies on change indicate that exact timeframe.
One piece that is needed is a combination of coaching and leadership. UMass appears to have accomplished this with the head coach hiring of long time assistant coach Charley Molnar. He is one of those guys everyone roots for to get a head coaching opportunity and he final did. His stops have been many and include many MAC schools (Eastern, Western and Central Michigan, Kent State), Cincinnati, and Notre Dame. Coach Molnar has been an assistant under George Welsh, Jim Heacock, and for the last several years Brian Kelly.
Molnar’s specialty is offense, as a coordinator and working with quarterbacks. His success is notable, especially working with Kelly at Central Michigan, Cincinnati, and Notre Dame. At Central Michigan he tutored a young freshman named Dan LeFevour to national prominence. Wherever he has been, Coach Molnar has been successful with quarterback development.
He has placed the offense under the leadership of veteran NFL and collegiate coach Mike Kruczek, another coach known for quarterback development.
The offense will be wide open and very fast. Look for the hurry up no huddle type of approach and a wide-open playbook. Coach Molnar has a big redshirt freshman quarterback, Mike Wegzyn, with a pretty good arm and quite a bit of upside.The new defensive coordinator is veteran coach (38 years) Phil Elmassian. Coach Elmassian has been around the block and has coached at numerous big name schools as linebacker coach and defensive coordinator. His stops include LSU, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Boston College, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota and most recently Purdue. Coach favors the 4-3 approach and so UMass may switch from last year’s 3-4 preference.
The foundation looks strong from a coaching standpoint and frankly one can only describe as impressive UMass collecting this trio in its jump to FBS competition. There are several promising newcomers but it would be outrageous to expect this transition to be accomplished overnight.
As mentioned in the earlier interview, UMass and the MAC seem like an outstanding match. It will be interesting where UMass places major recruiting emphasis.
Programs such as UConn, USF, UCF, etc. have made their mark and escalated upwards. This of course is the aim of the Minutemen.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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