BOSTON (CBS) – Prior to the season, UMass head football coach Charley Molnar wanted to reward a pair of his hard-working players with a full scholarship.
But he wanted to do so in a way that would lift his team prior to their first season as members of D1 Football.
Before going out and rewarding high schoolers that had never played a down in a Minuteman uniform, Molnar wanted to show his team hard work pays off by rewarding freshman linebacker Rob O’Connor and red shirt sophomore defensive lineman Daniel Maynes full scholarships. They earned it on the field, but then he wanted to make them earn it in the meeting room.
During one of their final preseason meetings, Molnar had a pair of university security officers barge in, and “serve” the two with papers. Only a select few were in on the joke, until a message saying O’Connor and Maynes were receiving their scholarships flashed on the screen. The two players read the papers given to them by the officers, and received a round of applause and congratulations from their teammates.
The video of the meeting just hit the internet this week, and Molnar was pleased with both the effect all of it had on his team, and his acting job.
“I thought at that point of summer camp we needed something to juice the guys up. I thought about it for a few days, got the university police to work with us, and my gosh, when I watched it – the first time I had seen it (was Wednesday), and I really did do a great job staying serious and surprised when those guys came in,” Molnar told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand during their weekly chat. “It really worked out well and the team was really jacked up afterwards and really felt good for those two young men.”
“If you could have seen the looks at the faces of the team, they’re thinking ‘Molnar is going to kill these two guys.’ When the policemen walked in everyone was stone silent,” he recalled. “Then of course when they started reading the power point, they were in (on the joke). It all worked our really well, the timing was great.”
The Minutemen are coming off their bye week, and will host Bowling Green at Gillette Stadium as UMass kicks off their homecoming week. After an 0-6 start to the season, Molnar said the mid-season bye gave his team a good chance to get healthy, and learn a lot about themselves from the tough start.
“It gave us pause to get healthy, get our legs back, heal up some bumps and bruises, and gave us a chance to go back and do some self-analysis of what we’re doing on offense, defense and special teams and make some corrections,” he said of the bye.
“Obviously it’s been far from successful in terms of wins and losses, and yes, I never would have expected to not have won a game yet,” said Molnar. “But what I found out is we have some really good football players, we have to make sure we utilize those guys and play to our strengths, minimize our weaknesses and continue to play hard. We’ve made great strides as individuals, now our units need to units to make those great strides… Now we all have to become as one on each side of the ball.”
“We’ve tagged (the second half of the season as) the ‘second season,’ and our goal is to go undefeated in the second season. I can’t tell you if that’s going to happen, but I know this, right now we’re 0-0 in the second season and looking back at the first six games as a preseason,” he added. “We’ve learned an awful lot about ourselves and how to play football the right way, and we’ll see how those lessons are applied on the field.”
Hear Marc Bertrand’s full interview with Charley Molnar, and what the UMass head coach has to say about Bowling Green’s dominant defense: