Gazette: Havens Has Lots Of Good Ideas - UMass Athletics

Gazette: Havens Has Lots Of Good Ideas

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Kyle Havens doesn't remember exactly when the play happened in the University of Massachusetts' week two win over Holy Cross, but it's significance didn't escape the senior quarterback.

He saw a potential target downfield and thought about trying to thread a perfect pass in for a big gain and caught himself.

"I definitely would have thrown that last year, and it probably would have been intercepted," Havens said Wednesday. "But I took it down and threw to Anthony (Nelson) on a little cutter route."

He laughed to himself after the play, recognizing his own development as it happened.

Read the full story from Matt Vautour on the QB's progress in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

This year, Havens has lots of good ideas

Photo: This year, Havens has lots of good ideas
AP PHOTO
UMass quarterback Kyle Havens looks downfield against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday. Havens was 22 of 29 for 222 yards in the 42-37 loss.

AMHERST

Kyle Havens doesn't remember exactly when the play happened in the University of Massachusetts' week two win over Holy Cross, but it's significance didn't escape the senior quarterback.

He saw a potential target downfield and thought about trying to thread a perfect pass in for a big gain and caught himself.

"I definitely would have thrown that last year, and it probably would have been intercepted," Havens said Wednesday. "But I took it down and threw to Anthony (Nelson) on a little cutter route."

He laughed to himself after the play, recognizing his own development as it happened.

"It feels good to know I have the ability to stop and say 'No, that's not a good idea,'" Havens said.

Havens had to overcome more than his share of not-so-good ideas last year. He arrived from junior college with designs on stardom and by his own admission tried to force too many passes that ended in the hands of opposing defenders. His 15 interceptions were among the nation's leaders in the category.

UMass entered 2010 with questions up and down its roster after last season's 5-6 campaign. But the rest of those paled in comparison to the team's concerns under center.

If the Minutemen didn't get better play at quarterback, they would have struggled no matter what happened with the rest of the roster. Among the reasons they were picked eighth out of 10 teams in the Colonial Athletic Association's preseason poll was quarterback uncertainty.

But three games into his final collegiate season, Havens has blossomed and put those concerns to rest. The northern California native is second in the CAA in passing yards per game (246.0) and touchdown passes (five). But most importantly he's thrown just one interception.

His turnaround is a big part of the reason the Minutemen are a much better football team than they were projected to be in the preseason.

Havens foretold this improvement in the preseason, but felt glad to back up his prediction.

"It feels good, but I knew that it would be this way. I worked real hard in the offseason. It's not unexpected, but it does feel real good," Havens said as he walked onto the McGuirk Stadium field to prepare for Saturday's 6 p.m. game at Stony Brook. "It goes to show that working hard and really concentrating on what you need to get done really does pay off in the end."

Junior captain Emil Igwenagu said the way Havens has carried himself this year has given his teammates more faith in him.

"Everybody has had a lot more confidence in him. It started with himself," Igwenagu said. "He's playing with a lot more confidence. That helps the whole situation. He's definitely been a leader and everything has been on point."

UMass coach Kevin Morris brought in junior college transfer Ian Shultis to compete at quarterback in the preseason, but Havens' improvement was evident enough for Morris to name his incumbent the starter early in camp.

"He's definitely maturing as a quarterback and doing what we're asking him to on the field, which is lead the other 10 guys. He's staying focused on that task and doing a nice job running the offense," Morris said. "Kyle's done a good job of giving us a chance to win ball games. It's a long grind of a season and we have to maintain that grind, but he's definitely on the right track. For the most part he's making good decisions with the football."

Havens hoped his improvement isn't complete.

"I'm getting better every day. There's a lot of room to," he said. "This whole team has a lot of room to get better. We've been playing well, but we have to keep getting better."


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