Nov. 14, 2012
In Monday morning's MAC Football Coaches Media Teleconference, UMass head coach Charley Molnar discussed the team's performance at Akron giving praise in particular to freshman kicker Blake Lucas and previews this Saturday's game against Buffalo.
Listen To Coach Molnar's Monday Conference Call
On Saturday's win at Akron:
After watching the video, I think two things stood out to me. No. 1 you could see our defense's tenacity and the way they went after the football with the interceptions and trying to knock the ball out of Akron's hands to produce fumbles was awesome. No. 2, our special teams played well - really in all phases. I think those two things really made a difference on Saturday afternoon.
On the historic nature of getting the first win at the FBS level:
Not only was it a great day for the players on the team, but really for everybody associated with the program and the University. I think it was a big step that the University took to make this into a I-A program and to increase the visibility of our athletics program. It was good first step for our football team. We have a long way to go - I was hoping we would be further along than we are right now. Nevertheless, I think everyone feels pretty good and it was a big sigh of relief.
On having the final two games of the season at home and facing Buffalo:
On the Buffalo run game:
First on defense, they have two ends who are as good as any we have played all year. Being able to control those two and neutralize them is going to take a lot of work on our part. It will take some outstanding work from our offensive tackles to not only protect our quarterback but also to establish the run game. On offense, their running back is again about as good as we've seen. He's not blazing fast, but he has good vision and great cuts. He does a great job of reading his blocks. It's going to be a real challenge for our front seven playing against them.
They made a change at quarterback and all the new guy has done has been to win two games in a row. He's efficient and they do a great job of getting the right plays. He's done a great job of managing the game up to this point. It makes sense to me that they would rely on the run game at this point in the season. I think they have the run game cranked up - probably not exactly where they want it to be, but certainly one of the more effective ones in the Mid-American Conference.
On the progression of quarterback:
Mike Wegzyn And Place Kicker Blake Lucas
I think Mike did a good job of managing the game for us. He also extended some plays, threw the ball away when he got into trouble, and didn't force anything. I know he threw one interception early in the game, but I think the ball just slipped off his hand more than anything making for an errant pass. For the most part, his decision making was good and improves weekly. With Blake, we haven't used him the last couple of weeks as we didn't kick any field goals or PAT's. I was a little concerned that he might have been rusty or nervous as a true freshman, but he went out there and handled his kicking chores very well. Once he kicked the first field goal, I was confident that he had his rhythm back and that he would be an effective weapon for us. I wasn't afraid to use him during the game - that was for sure.
On the number of quality running backs in the conference this season:
I think this league has tremendous diversity not only in the tailback position but also in the quarterback position. I think everybody has a guy who can throw the ball and make plays down the field with his arms or his feet. With the running backs, it seems every single week we have to focus on stopping everyone's No. 1 running back. They all have an effective run game. I don't know if it's a cyclical thing or if it's just the way that players are developing right now in the league, but it seems everybody has a star running back.