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Photo by Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

Nick Canelas of the Daily Collegian has a story on which players will play leadership roles on the defensive side of the ball after losing Darren Thellen and Perry McIntyre from last season.

Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican has a feature on Joe Colton being awarded a scholarship on Wednesday. Colton says that a major reason for his determined play this year was being doubted as a FBS player coming out of high school.

Stephen Hewitt of the Daily Collegian takes a look at the impact several freshmen have made this season on the UMass football team.

Freshmen making impact, providing optimism for UMass football - The Daily Collegian

Stephen Hewitt of the Daily Collegian takes a look at the impact several freshmen have made this season on the UMass football team.

Freshmen making impact, providing optimism for UMass football - The Daily Collegian

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a preview of the Miami (Ohio) game focusing on the challenge the UMass secondary will have with Red Hawks quarterback Zac Dysert who is one of the top passers in the league.

In UMass' first ever game at the FBS level, Darren Thellen's tipped pass for an interception by Tom Brandt was named the Play of the Day on ESPN's SportsCenter. Thellen dove out of bounds to tip a pass by UConn QB Chandler Whitmer back into the field of play where Brandt secured the pick in the first quarter of play. It was Brandt's first career interception.

Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican has a story on how UMass football practice changed on Saturday from preseason camp mode to game-week mode with the Minutemen preparing to face UConn this Thursday night.

Harry Plumer of the Springfield Republican and Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette each have stories on the visit of Lt. Governor Tim Murray to Thursday's football practice as the Minutemen closed preseason camp.

ABC40: Thellen Assumes Leadership Roles

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John Johnson of the Boston Globe takes a look at the impact of Brockton natives Darren Thellen and Greg Hilliard on the UMass football team this season.

Darren Thellen was named one of four "College Football Heros" by the Boston Herald staff after his impressive defensive performance last weekend in the win at No. 9 Delaware. Thellen had a pair of interceptions for the second straight game.

Highlights From Football's 21-10 Win At #9 Delaware

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Recaps From Football's Win Over CCSU

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Jim Fenton of the Brockton Enterprise looks at the connection between former Brockton High School players in this Saturday's UMass-Boston College game. UMass starting safety Darren Thellen is a former Brockton standout and will be matched up against some of his former teammates.

Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette looks at the leadership role of Darren Thellen among the defensive backs. He also has a feature on transfer running back Chris Burns.

A year ago, as he prepared to begin his first full season as a starter, Darren Thellen talked about wanting to live up to the high standard set by the University of Massachusetts safeties who'd preceded him.  

A year later, he's the one setting the standard.  

At practice Monday, Thellen marvelled at the speed of his role transition.

Photo: Maintaining a high safety standard
Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican looks at the UMass secondary, the experience returning at the positions and what the young group must do to improve in 2011.

The University of Massachusetts defensive secondary was young and pretty good last year. 

This year it is still young, but looking to make the leap to exceptional. 

"We're young but very talented in the defensive backfield," redshirt junior Darren Thellen said. "Even though we're young we've got a lot of game experience in us and that's going to help us out this year."

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UMass All-Access catches up with UMass Football Blueshirt MVP's Darren Thellen and Rob Blanchflower from Monday's practice and Julian Talley from Wednesday's practice session.



Rachel Roberts of MassLive.com has a story up on the make-up and team chemistry of this year's UMass football team.

With only two weeks separating preseason camp from their opener at Holy Cross, the University of Massachusetts football team is geared up and ready to showcase their talent; both young and old. 

Head coach Kevin Morris leads a team with 40 percent of its players and staff brand new, but he's ready to display what his squad will bring to their last season in the Colonial Athletic Association.

A Look At This Week's Football Practice MVPs

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Check out this week's football MVPs including Tyler Holmes, Chaz Thompson, Darren Thellen. The players talk about spring football and about the UMass football move to FBS and the MAC.

Happy Birthday: Jan. 22 - Benson, Gordan, Thellen

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Happy birthday to a trio of UMass student-athletes on Jan. 22: baseball senior Charlie Benson  rowing sophomore Tory Gordan  and football sophomore Darren Thellen.

Charlie Benson  Tory Gordan  Darren Thellen

Enterprise News Feature On Darren Thellen

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His college football career has not reached the midway point, and already Darren Thellen has built a strong foundation. As a red-shirt freshman, the safety from Brockton broke into the University of Massachusetts starting lineup last season.

He got to play alongside Jeromy Miles, now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad, while starting seven of 11 games in 2009.

Read the full story in the Enterprise News.

Republican: UMass Gears Up For UNH

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Read Ron Chimelis' preview of the UMass-UNH game in the Springfield Republican.

Darren Thellen has this matchup pegged. "They don't like us. We don't like them. It's a great rivalry,'' the University of Massachusetts safety said of his team's relationship with New Hampshire, which faces UMass Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Dubbed "The Colonial Clash,'' this 73rd meeting of the onetime Yankee Conference teams will be the first college game played at the Patriots' stadium in Foxborough.

Republican: Gillette Game Will Be Cool

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Ron Chimelis has this story in the Springfield Republican about UMass venture to Gillette Stadium.

The University of Massachusetts football coach played a high school game at Giants Stadium more than 25 years ago.

"The place holds 75,000 people. There were about 25,000 there. There might as well have been 10,'' Kevin Morris said. "But for a high school kid, it was fantastic. The thrill is in the experience.''

On Saturday, UMass plays New Hampshire at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. A great rivalry is about to be taken to another level.

Gazette: Bar Is High for UMass Safeties

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The bar they're being measured against greets the University of Massachusetts safeties every time they walk into the stadium. Among the 20 UMass legends displayed on huge maroon banners on the University Drive side of McGuirk Stadium are three standout safeties - James Ihedigbo, Shannon James and Jeromy Miles.

Since the championship season of 1998, the Minutemen have always had either an All-American or a player who'd become an All-American at safety. Miles, who graduated in May, is the most recent addition to the UMass fieldhouse's wall of All-Americans where he joined recent safeties Ihedigbo, James, Anton McKenzie and Jeremy Robinson.

Read Matt Vautour's feature on UMass' current safeties in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

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