UMass announces 2011 schedule, holds Pro Day event
The Massachusetts football team held its annual Pro Day at McGuirk Stadium on March 25, announcing its 2011 schedule.
The schedule is highlighted by the second-annual Colonial Clash at Gillette Stadium against New Hampshire on Oct. 22 and a BCS battle against Boston College on Sept. 24.
UMass will open its season on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Holy Cross on the road. Following a bye week, the Minutemen open their home schedule with a conference game against Rhode Island on Sept. 17.
Central Connecticut rounds out the non-conference schedule for UMass as it will host the Blue Devils on Oct. 8 for Band Day. Nov. 5 marks the annual Homecoming game, this year played against Villanova. The Wildcats, who lost in the semifinal round of the Football Championship Subdivision postseason tournament in 2010, will meet the Minutemen after a year off.
Old Dominion, also omitted from last season's schedule, welcomes UMass on Oct. 1. The Minutemen also travel to Delaware (Oct. 15), Richmond (Oct. 29) and Maine (Nov. 12) for Colonial Athletic Association road contests.
The final regular season game will be played on Nov. 19 against James Madison.
Seniors work out for scouts at Pro Day
Seniors John Griffin, Anthony Nelson, Kyle Havens and Greg Niland each worked out for NFL scouts at McGuirk Stadium during the annual Pro Day event.
Each player participated in specific drills, including the 40-yard dash, intended to test their skills at their particular position.
The weather conditions were not ideal for the NFL-hopefuls, but it didn't deter them from putting out their best performances.
"It was definitely cold, that's for sure," said Nelson in an interview with UMass Athletics. "Overall, it wasn't a bad day. We had a good amount of scouts here... For me, from an individual standpoint, I think I did pretty good, especially in the position work."
"I came out here, tried to have fun with the guys, see the football team again, so it wasn't that nerve-racking," said Griffin.
New defensive coordinator
The departure of Keith Dudzinski from the Minutemen coaching staff made way for the announcement of Frank Forcucci as the new defensive coordinator on March 18.
Forcucci served on the UMass staff for five years, most recently acting as the team's outside linebackers coach from 2001-03. Last season, he was the linebackers coach at Central Connecticut.
After seven seasons with the Minutemen, Dudzinski is now the inside linebackers coach at Maryland after being hired on Feb. 16. Dudzinski reunites with Terrapins head coach Don Brown, whom he worked under in 2004-08 when Brown was the UMass head coach.
"We are very excited about Frank Forcucci returning to UMass in the role of defensive coordinator," said Minutemen head coach Kevin Morris, according to UMass Media Relations. "I have gotten to know Frank over the years and am impressed with his knowledge, organization and philosophy of defense."