The UMass Minutemen had a rough go of it last week in front of a homecoming crowd at Gillette Stadium, losing 24-0 to Bowling Green.
Head coach Charley Molnar talked with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand this week, and said a number of factors combined to make things difficult for the offense.
“When you add all those things together, it really ends up being a pretty miserable day at the office for the offense,” Molnar said.
The day was marked by some bad quarterback play, but Molnar said simplifying things on offense can help fix that.
“You always go back and see if you’re putting too much on his plate,” Molnar said of quarterback Mike Wegzyn. “If you are, you have to take some of it off it. Offensively, we just have to go back to basics. I don’t think we got too cute by any stretch of the imagination, but understanding this group of guys, what they know, how much we can reasonably expect them to learn week to week, maybe we bit off a little more than we can chew.”
UMass has garnered some national attention in the past week. Last week, it was a video of players receiving scholarships that went viral, but on Saturday, it was D’Metrius Williams who brought some less positive attention to the team. The cornerback tweeted during halftime, when UMass trailed 7-0, and the story was picked up by Deadspin.
“I spoke to him right after the game right after it was made known to me what occurred,” Molnar said of the tweeting. “He knew in the back of his mind that it was a violation of team policy, so we’ll deal with that when the time comes and we’ll deal with it in house. But quite frankly, number one is that had nothing to do with us losing the football game. Number two, for a moment I wouldn’t say that D’Metrius lost his focus. It was just a bad move on his part. He’s the nicest kid in the world, he’s extremely embarrassed and apologetic, and we’ll just move on. I think he got caught up in the moment of his excitement, how well he was playing, how well the defense was playing, the homecoming crowd and all that. He just got carried away.
“He had an excellent game, but that still doesn’t give you a free pass then to do what you want to do. But for a freshman who’s just getting his feet wet, I thought he performed very well. Obviously made some great plays in [pass break-ups] but also was up near the line of scrimmage making tackles. This guy was all over the place on Saturday afternoon.”
This weekend, the Minutemen will travel to Tennessee to take on Vanderbilt. The Commodores are coming off a 17-13 win over Auburn.
“The challenge is always to not only maintain a high level but to improve upon it,” Molnar said. “It’s not so much what Vanderbilt does; it matters what we do, how hard we practice, making sure that we’re focused in on our assignments, that we use our good fundamentals, which we did Saturday. We had the least missed tackles of the year, and we had the least amount of mental errors for the year in this game on Saturday, so obviously it’s all correlated into a good performance.”