Gazette: UMass Looks To Run Wild Vs. HC - UMass Athletics

Gazette: UMass Looks To Run Wild Vs. HC

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Among the encouraging things for the University of Massachusetts football team from last week's 27-23 upset of then No. 4 William & Mary, was how efficient the offense looked despite having so many new faces in the lineup.

Particularly sharp was the play of the Minutemen's no-huddle offense. UMass has used the hurry-up approach in other seasons, but not as regularly as it did Saturday. William & Mary seemed caught of guard by it.

The Minutemen will likely utilize it again in Saturday's 6 p.m. game against Holy Cross.

Read the entire preview in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

UMass offense looks to run wild against Crusaders

AMHERST - Among the encouraging things for the University of Massachusetts football team from last week's 27-23 upset of then No. 4 William & Mary, was how efficient the offense looked despite having so many new faces in the lineup.

Particularly sharp was the play of the Minutemen's no-huddle offense. UMass has used the hurry-up approach in other seasons, but not as regularly as it did Saturday. William & Mary seemed caught of guard by it.

The Minutemen will likely utilize it again in Saturday's 6 p.m. game against Holy Cross.

UMass coach Kevin Morris said offensive coordinator Brian Picucci deserved credit for how effective the offense was on the fly.

"Coach Picucci did a great job getting it going the other night. It was very effective. Coach Picucci installed that on day one. We've been working on that all camp long. It wasn't like it was new for this game. I think we got a good advantage from it. It helped us at that point in the game," Morris said. "When anything is working it gives you momentum, but that's an extra little chip because of the pace of the game."

Junior receiver Julian Talley said the Minutemen got a psychological boost watching William & Mary struggling to keep up.

"We definitely like it. We try to keep the tempo fast and the defense on their heels," he said. "Their dudes were puking on the field. We're running up and down the field. Coaches really did a good job getting us ready for that."

Senior center John Ihne agreed.

"We just kind of get up there and run it. We try to keep the offense running. Everybody is on the same page. You have to get up there and go. You have to be in shape running up and down the field. When you run three or four plays in 60 seconds, you have to keep your endurance up," he said. "When you see the defense huffing and puffing you feel good. As center you just run to the ball as fast as you can. It's so quick. It's fun."

Senior quarterback Kyle Havens said the offense out of the no-huddle is pretty simple.

"There's not a lot that we do out of that. It's pretty simple. I tell them the play, but it's in code words so no one knows what we're talking about," he said. "It's a good tempo. It gives you good momentum. Everyone gets excited. Even if we're tired, if we see they're more tired than us we just keep pounding. It's exciting for all the guys on offense."

Time & location: 6 p.m., McGuirk Stadium

Records: Both teams are 1-0

Last week: UMass defeated William & Mary, 27-23; Holy Cross defeated Howard, 38-7

All-time series: UMass leads 22-21-5

TV: CBS 3 Now

Radio: WRNX-FM (100.9), WMUA-FM (91.1)

Internet broadcast: Links can be found at umassathletics.com

When Holy Cross has the ball: Under former quarterback Dominic Randolph, the Crusaders often threw the ball as many as 50 times per game. While the Crusaders aren't likely to put quite as much of the offensive load on new QB Ryan Taggert's shoulders, they're still going to throw the ball. Against Howard, the fifth-year senior completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Bill Edger was his favorite receiver as the senior caught seven passes for 124 yards and two of the touchdowns.

"They're probably going to throw the ball more than they run the ball based on past history and they have a good corps of wideouts," Morris said. "We have to make sure we stifle those guys pretty early and get the ball back in the offense's hands."

Holy Cross will likely challenge UMass' younger cornerbacks. William & Mary went after both redshirt freshman Mike Lee and true freshman Antoine Tharpe last week and both were able to make plays.

The Minutemen didn't register a sack last week, a fact they'll try to remedy Saturday.

When UMass has the ball: Until a team shows it can slow UMass' running attack, expect the Minutemen to keep handing the ball to Jonathan Hernandez and John Griffin on a regular basis. Saturday figures to be more of the same against Holy Cross's 3-4 defense.

Senior defensive end Mude Ohimor leads the HC defense. Last year's first-team All-Patriot League selection had seven sacks last year.

Notable: South Hadley native Mike Chieco is a true freshman offensive lineman on Holy Cross' roster. Former UMass kicker Armando Cuko's younger brother Llazar Cuko is a reserve kicker for the Crusaders.

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