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Daily Collegian: Minutemen adopt new 3-4 scheme

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Steve Levine of the Daily Collegian looks at UMass' new 3-4 defensive scheme and how aggressive the defense can be due to increased chances for blitz packages.

The Massachusetts football team has answered many questions regarding the switch from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Mid-Atlantic Conference, and on a larger scale, from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.   

Although the conference switch is probably the biggest change to the program in recent memory, there is another glaring change which might have been overlooked thus far - the new-look 3-4 defensive scheme.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette takes a look at the UMass defense focusing on the new 3-4 alignment.

The University of Massachusetts football team's defense will feature a new look with a lot of familiar faces.  

Under new defensive coordinator Frank Forcucci, who replaced Maryland-bound Keith Dudzinski, UMass is moving from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4.  

But the Minutemen bring back 13 players that started at least one game last year and most of those players had multiple starts.

Photo: Taking a look at new-look team
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story and notebook in today's paper following Media Day on how Courtney Jackson and Shane Viveiros have acclimated to new roles in UMass' 3-4 defensive scheme. Jackson, formerly a defensive end, and Viveiros, formerly a safety, are both now linebackers.

"At first during the spring it was a little shaky," Jackson said. "Now that I've gotten used to it, I like it a lot."  

"There's a lot more opportunities to run free," he added. "It's a chance to make plays. That's what I'm here to do. Pass rushing is fun. It's definitely where I get my excitement from."  

Viveiros agreed.  

"I'm excited for it. It's a chance to be in the box more and make more plays. They moved me because I have the ability to play in coverage as well as play in the box," said Viveiros, who added a few pounds in the off-season to prepare for the move. "As long as I can hit somebody. The best part about it is I get to rush, so there's an opportunity to get sacks."

Photo: Defense front and center for UM
Jeff Thomas of the Springfield Republican has a piece on the change to a 3-4 defense by the UMass football team.

New defensive coordinator Frank Forcucci says "We can put speed on the field, which has always been a premium at UMass, and it allows us to be flexible with how we line up and what types of blitzes and what types of coverages we do,"


In an attempt to show a little school spirit on his first day at his new job, University of Massachusetts defensive coordinator Frank Forcucci dug out some of his old UMass gear from a previous stint on the Minuteman coaching staff.

He didn't wear it long. Since he last coached in Amherst, UMass has changed head coaches, playing surfaces, athletic directors and equipment providers, so Forcucci's old Nike apparel was quickly replaced with new Adidas duds.

Other than the clothing, Forcucci has felt at home back in Amherst. Read Matt Vautour's full feature story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette: New defensive coordinator Frank Forcucci familiar with UMass football

Daily Collegian Update On UMass Football

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The Daily Collegian has an update notebook on UMass football. The 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.