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A day off Wednesday and the beginning of actual game preparation brought a little added energy in University of Massachusetts practice Thursday as the Minutemen put training camp in the rearview mirror and began preparation for their Sept. 1 opener at Holy Cross.
"We just got out of camp. Our legs are fresh off the break. Everybody is excited for game week No. 1," senior captain Tyler Holmes said. "I'm very excited to get into game week."
Junior center Quinton Sales agreed.
"It'll be good to face some different colored jerseys," he said. "When you get closer to a game, you can see the light. It's exciting, there's a little more energy."
Quinton Sales had seen action in the University of Massachusetts football team's first two games this season, but as a reserve behind senior center John Ihne. But when Ihne hurt his shoulder in the second half against Michigan, Sales was forced to step in quickly in front of more than 110,000 people.
The sophomore held his own, enough for the Minuteman offense to put a scare into the Wolverines.
"It was tough. But it was time to go and I've been ready to go since camp," Sales said. "There's been a few bumps in the road but for the most part it's been a good effort and I've fit in pretty well."
Read the full story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
The shoulder injury that Ihne suffered in the second half of Saturday's 42-37 loss to Michigan will keep the senior out of Saturday's 6 p.m. game at Stony Brook. Ihne, a Wayne, N.J. native, has started all three games this season and has 12 career starts. He was replaced by sophomore Quinton Sales on Saturday.
"Quinton stepped in against Michigan. That's a tough place to start with all of that crowd noise. It wasn't like fourth-quarter mop-up. Those were real snaps," UMass coach Kevin Morris said. "Now he's gotten his feet wet. He's got to prove he can do it on a daily basis on the top of the CAA."