BOSTON (CBS) – The UMass Football team’s FBS debut was not as memorable as they would have hoped, but they have moved on from their 37-0 loss to UConn and are focusing on Saturday’s Gillette Stadium opener against Indiana.
UMass head coach Charley Molnar joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand for their weekly chat, and said it didn’t take long for his team to move on from the blowout loss.
“I think they’re a resilient group of guys,” he said. “We came back and practiced Friday afternoon; that was the plan regardless of the outcome of the game. Friday was just a little bit of long faces, but then by Saturday morning it was full steam ahead for Indiana. They were bright-eyed, enthusiastic, and they practiced with a lot of energy.”
“We had a saying – don’t let UConn beat us twice. We certainly don’t want to be ill-prepared because we’re looking back and not forward,” added Molnar.
Bertrand Chats With Charley Molnar:
Despite the score, Molnar was pleased with his defense’s performance.
“I saw a group that really played hard to the end. They could have tanked it, easily, after the scores by two other units – the special teams and the offense gave the other team scores – yet they kept fighting until the end. I was really proud of that.”
Now it’s on to Indiana, who will provide another tough matchup for the Minutemen.
“They’re a Big 10 football team. Whenever you think of the Big 10, Indiana certainly fits the stereotype,” Molnar said. “They’re big up front, powerful on the offensive and defensive line, and (have) very good linebackers. I think it’s going to be a hard-fought battle.”
“I think our guys are prepared for the challenge. Just as I said last week, we’ve practiced tough and physically throughout spring ball and summer camp to get us ready for these early season games, in particular UConn, Indiana and Michigan,” continued Molnar. “We know it’s going to be very physical brand of football. Our guys are ready, and I think we’re going to take another step up as a team. I’m not concerned about where we were last week; I’m more concerned about where we’re going and where we’re going to be.”
Saturday will be UMass’ first home game at Gillette Stadium, and Molnar is grateful that Robert Kraft has opened his doors to the UMass football program.
“It’s a vitally important relationship for this program. We couldn’t have taken the step into 1-A football without the Kraft family and their support,” said Molnar, who added playing games at Gillette will go a long way in recruiting. “The Kraft family not only believes in Umass, but they believe in football in New England. They want it to succeed and they would love for us to be the lead dog of that so to speak, for us to be the top dog in New England as a football school.”
“I hope it goes on forever. It’s the right place at the right time for us. It’s such a great facility it will be good for another 50 years long after I’m gone. It’s the right place for us to play our football.”
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