Nov. 26, 2013
University of Massachusetts football head coach Charley Molnar spoke with members of the media during the weekly MAC Teleconference on Monday morning. Molnar discussed the Central Michigan game, the upcoming game at Ohio on Friday and dealing with a short week of practice.
On Last Saturday's Game At Central Michigan:
The Central Michigan game for us was obviously a speed bump, I think our program is making progress and we would love to be able to demonstrate that to our fans but we know inside that things are getting better. We know that everyone at this time of year has injuries, bumps, and bruises. I just think we're more so at this point, we're thoroughly depleted in a number of positions and went into this game from an offensive perspective. We have two legitimate pro prospects on our offense side of the bar and that's tackle Anthony Dima and our tight end Rob Blanchflower and both of those guys were out for the game and probably out for the next game. So we are trying to come up with a solution for both of these. The first one we took a freshmen defensive lineman who had played just a little bit this year, but had already burned his redshirt, Elijah Wilkinson, and we moved him over to offense on Monday and by the second half of Saturday he was in most of the game. So it kind of gives you an idea of where we are at for the offensive line depth. Then obviously with Blanchflower we have just been trying to, with him being in and out of our line up, trying to find a way each and every week to utilize the available personnel to try to overcome not having, arguably, our best offensive right out there on the field. Our running back situation really hit DefCon 3. We had to take a young man who is a walk-on freshman and he played the second half of the game. So we're struggling with that this time of the year and it's no excuse. Everybody's got it, but I think we're just in a little worse position. A bright spot of the game for us is, arguably, in our two seasons here that was the best run-defense that we have played all in all. Defensively against the run we were lights out, which was terribly important for us to be able to do that against Central Michigan. Last year in the second half of the game they ran the ball at will against us, so it was a real priority for us to improve our run defense this offseason and I think that game gave a glimpse of what we can be.
On The Challenges Posed By Ohio:
Offensively, there are Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship. Tyler was coming off an injury, but was still super effective and took a lot of attention from our defense. I think Beau Blankenship had a career day against us. He was outstanding that game. Their style of offense and those two superior players are a match up problem for just about any defense that they're going to face. We know we're going to have our hands full defensively against them. Looking at their defense, the guy that jumps out at us is their true freshman defensive end Tarell Basham. Not only does he lead them in sacks, but in tackles for losses, so he's a very good football player. With a potential very young offensive tackle going out there against him, who knows? We're going to have to do diligence on our game planning.
On The Team's Response To Challenges And A Short Week:
Our team has been fantastic. Because of the short week, we had our meeting yesterday and started not only cleaning up the Central Michigan game, but we're going to head to Ohio University. The team looks up-beat, they're on time, they're bright-eyed, they sit up, they're chipper, they want to play football, and they want to win. It's been a pleasure coaching this group of guys. I couldn't ask for better than what we're getting, especially with the lack of wins on the field, but it's quite similar to what's going on on campus. A year ago I spoke about putting down a foundation and everybody just saw a big hole filled with mud., but they didn't realize what's going on. We're building a foundation that's going to last for the next fifty years. Now if you come out to our stadium to watch practice and you see this building, the structure and frame of it is up, but right now if you look at it from the outside there's a lot of work that needs to be done and it barely has (grooves?) on the outside probably in weeks, but on the inside they're putting in nuts, bolts, wiring, and plumbing, and electricity. The heart of the building is going on right now. You just can't see it from the outside. That's really what is going on with our football team. We're putting in the heart of the football team right now, the electric, the power, the generator, it's all going in. You just can't see it from the outside because there's a shell that's unfinished and you can't tell what it's going to look like. It's going to be another year and then you'll start to see it take form.