BOSTON (CBS) – The UMass Minutemen fell to 0-2 last weekend with a 45-6 loss to Indiana in their Gillette Stadium opener, but head coach Charley Molnar saw some good signs from his young team.
The Minutemen found the end zone for the first time since joining the FBC, marching their way down the field thanks to a flee flicker in the first quarter. After running back Jordan Broadnax took the handoff, he sent it back to quarterback Mike Wegzyn who hit Marken Michel for 56-yards completion down to the Indiana 19-yard line. A few plays later, Wegzyn took it in for UMass’ only score on the afternoon.
Molnar was impressed with the execution of the trick play.
“We knew we wanted to use it early. We had planned to use it the week before (against UConn) and the opportunity never presented itself,” Molnar told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand during their weekly chat. “It was a matter of getting the right defense in, and Broadnax made a nice throw back to Mike, which was really our biggest concern. Once I saw the ball leave Jordan’s hand I knew it was going to be a good strike.”
“Obviously we made some strides in our passing game,” said the UMass coach. “We still have a long way to go. We still have some missed reads, and (Wegzyn) left the pocket a little early. The protection was much better than the week before, and he just has to hang in there… He kept his eyes down the field and he did a better job getting off his first receiver and moving to his second.”
One thing Molnar would like to see change is UMass’ ability to make the most of their trips into an opponent’s territory.
“When we get into scoring position, which we were several times on Saturday and didn’t get it into the red zone and ultimately into the end zone, we can’t let those opportunities slip through out fingers,” he said. “I don’t know if it would have changed the outcome of the game, but it would have changed the score if we could have capitalized.”
One thing Molnar was extremely impressed with was the reception from their new home crowd at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
“When we came off the field at halftime I didn’t know what to expect, and I heard nothing but cheers and encouragement. When we left the field at the end of the game, we still had a large number of students there, it was the same thing. They all cheered out team and encouraged them on the way off. I thought that was awesome,” he said.
“I think we’re really going to develop a home-field advantage. I know we didn’t score a lot of points, I know we didn’t shut them down, but I think even the casual fan can see our team played hard with heart and enthusiasm,” continued Molnar. “We were very close on a lot of plays and very soon those close plays will become big plays for us.”
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Home field won’t help this weekend as the Minutemen travel to Ann Arbor for a meeting with the Michigan Wolverines. The 17th ranked Wolverines are 45-point favorites, thanks in large part to quarterback Denard Robinson.
“As far as containing Denard Robinson, I’m trying to find a film, a video, where somebody actually did so we can learn from it. There was not many teams over the year that have been able to do it,” said Molnar. “He’s a mighty good runner and our hands are full. All I know is we have to keep our eyes up and when we get a chance to tackle him we have to use great fundamentals or he’ll run right by us.”