UMASS Football Season Preview

Are you ready for some football? UMass is. The Herald’s Nathan Yee takes a look at the Minutemen’s upcoming season.



Nathan Yee, Staff Reporter '16

This year the UMASS football team opened up their season with high hopes and even higher expectations for new head coach Mark Whipple. Whipple was the former head coach from 1998 to 2003. During his tenure Whipple won the NCAA 1-AA Championship in 1998. Whipple left UMASS in 2003, but has returned this year and is ready to continue the winning tradition.

The Minutemen rejoined Division 1-A football and the MAC conference 2 seasons ago. The last two seasons have been rough as the Minutemen have tried to transition to a new league, their record for the last two seasons was 2-22. The Minutemen are playing a powerful schedule with traditional powerhouses like Boston College, Penn State, and Vanderbilt.

Whipple’s biggest goal this year is to make steady improvements. Whipple said in a recent interview: “Initially I think, just to improve is the biggest thing. We have young and old that really fit in nicely…….So the main thing is just improvement.” Players have been responding to Whipple’s poise and leadership. “He’s a great guy” said junior wide receiver Tajae Sharpe. “He treats us great. He brings a great vibe to the program in general. He’s an amazing guy, we’re all glad to have him and we feel like he will put us in a position to win on the field.”

Another bright spot of the UMASS football season is they will be returning to their home at McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst. For the last few seasons UMASS has been playing their home games at Gillette Stadium. This year they will be playing half their home games at Gillette and the other half at McGuirk. UMASS students are amped up to have some of their home football games on campus. UMASS football returned home on the 27th of September and brought at a huge crowd versus Bowling Green.

With a new season in swing many people are questioning who will start at quarterback for the Minutemen. After a long preseason people finally have an answer. Transfer from Marshall Blake Frohnapfel with lead the Minutemen offensive charge. Frohnapfel has a talented receiving core with big time play maker Tajae Sharpe returning. Sharpe finished with 61 catches, 680 yards, and 4 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign. The UMASS offense looks to spread the field and put up a lot points this year.

With a rejuvenated program UMASS football looks to take great strides in being recognized as a successful football program. With new head coach Mark Whipple taking charge, UMASS football can feel confident with the new man at the helm.