Preseason Camp Day 1 Recap

Head Coach Kevin Morris stated that his goal is to create a highly-competitive environment in training camp.

Head Coach Kevin Morris stated that his goal is to create a highly-competitive environment in training camp.

Aug. 5, 2011

AMHERST, Mass. -
The first day of UMass Football 2011 is in the books! The Minutemen started their day with the annual conditioning test at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

After some individual work, lunch, and meetings, it was back to McGuirk for the first official practice of the season. Helmets were the only equipment for the first practice and the offense wore its traditional white jerseys (except one player, see below) and defense was in its usual black. As is usually the case with early season practices, technique and base concepts were the major points of emphasis from the coaches.

After practice, the team headed to the Berkshire Dining Common for dinner before reporting to Boyden Gym for the annual bench press testing in the weight room.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Tom Gilson took top honors at the morning conditioning test, logging the best time on the team. The Mansfield, Mass. native was rewarded with the first blue jersey of the season, given each day by Kevin Morris to his top performer. Gilson wore the jersey for the afternoon practice.

Senior captain Tyler Holmes said afterwards that it was a pair of his linebacker mates, twins Tim Brandt and Tom Brandt that caught his eye as impressive in the conditioning. When pressed which of the redshirt sophomores was faster, Holmes replied, "I think Tom is faster than Tim, but I could be wrong on that."

In the evening, the team held its annual bench press competition at the Boyden Gym weight room. This year, it was a team competition, with six groups competing for the top total weight. The fear of a failed lift brought some strategy into the event, but that didn't stop some guys from putting up impressive lifts.



Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Vincent Westcarr put up a team-high 425 lbs., while Galen Clemons, Anthony Dima, Brandon Potvin, and Josh Samuda all put up 405 lbs.

Redshirt senior defensive end Courtney Jackson came out for the first practice of the season wearing jersey No. 11, rather than No. 91, his number in his first three seasons in Maroon & White.

Jackson explained that he is switching to No. 11 this season because it was his number in high school when he played linebacker and tight end for Gwynn Park High in Brandywine, Md.

Prior to the afternoon practice, Kevin Morris announced some bad news to the media on hand. Junior kicker/punter Caleb Violette will be out for the season with a broken foot. The foot, which was injured back in the winter, was x-rayed on Friday morning, revealing complications with the healing process.

Violette was 9-of-15 in field goal attempts last season and 25-of-27 on PATs. He also averaged 37.7 yards on 36 punts.

Morris named redshirt sophomore Brandon Levengood as a candidate to step into the kicking role as well as redshirt sophomore Jeff Strait the punting role. He also said sophomore Igor Garcia a contender.

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