Oct. 30, 2012
In Monday morning's MAC Football Coaches Media Teleconference, UMass head coach Charley Molnar discussed the team's performance against Vanderbilt, previews this weekend's game at Northern Illinois, and discusses the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the team's practice schedule during the beginning of the week.
On schedule change due to Hurricane Sandy and preparation for Northern Illinois
Classes were cancelled for today and there is a possibility of the same for Tuesday. There is supposed to be heavy rain this afternoon, so we just had our Monday practice starting at 8 AM sharp. We finished that and are focusing on the video breakdown for the week and reviewing the Vanderbilt game to clean up mistakes from that.
On the team's performance at Vanderbilt
Close to the end of the first half, with about two minutes left, it was a 7-0 ball game and our defense was playing extremely well. Offensively we hadn't made too many big plays, but we were securing the football. Everything seemed like we were going to make it into halftime just down a touchdown. All of a sudden, they get a quick touchdown and get a good hit on our kick-off returner to force and recover a fumble, score quickly again, and now we are going into the locker room down 21-0. That certainly took the wind out of our sails. I think the team was still confident coming back out in the second half but they knew we would have to score quickly in order to stay in the game. We weren't able to do that and the game slipped away from us.
On the challenges presented by Northern Illinois this week
On the performance of Mike Wegzyn against Vanderbilt
Offensively, their quarterback is such a great dual threat. He's a really good passer, but I think he's an even better runner. Based on the film I've been able to watch, it seems like they have that kind of quarterback stockpiled. That will certainly be a real challenge for us on defense. On offense, their defense is fast and in the right place at the right time. They are physical and just an overall solid football team - probably the best football team in the Mid-American Conference.
There is always room for improvement and Mike didn't have his best performance of the year, but he's still our quarterback and I still have a lot of confidence in him that he can get the job done. He did make progress in some areas, but in some he may have taken a step back. I just have to make sure we are doing the right things on offense that allow him to continually grow and try to help him eliminate the mistakes.
On the potential weather impact on Tuesday's practice
We are working on contingency plans for tomorrow - we may go indoors here or we could go to Gillette and practice indoor there. It's just a matter of what the weather projects to be for tomorrow afternoon.