BOSTON (CBS) — The inaugural season of UMass football in the FBS has gotten off to a rough start, with the Minutemen losing to national powerhouse Michigan last weekend in Ann Arbor.

Despite the big loss to the Wolverines, UMass head coach Charley Molnar saw some positive development out of his team.

“We made strides on a number of fronts, that I think were some real important keys,” Molnar told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand. “Not only did we run the ball more effectively than we had in the prior two games, but also as we’ve gone on, we’ve played three games now and offensively, we’ve never put the ball on the ground. Our guys are being very ball secure, and we’re protecting the football in the passing game.

“Those are some really good things that we’re doing, plus only allowing one sack to a pretty darn good defense that applied quite a bit of pressure throughout the afternoon.”

With the Minutemen sitting at 0-3 after losses to UConn, Indiana and Michigan, the team is now set to begin its conference schedule in the MAC.

“I don’t know if I’m happy that we’re done with it, because I wanted to come away at least with one or two wins in the early part of the schedule. Obviously, we didn’t accomplish that, so I’d rather do those three games over again than move on,” Molnar said. “But I’m glad to get into the MAC for a lot of reasons. Number one is just for a chance to really start to contend and show the league what UMass football’s all about.”

Bertrand Talks With Charley Molnar:

Molnar explained that the identity of teams in the MAC is very different than the opponents UMass has faced thus far.

“I think the identity of the teams in the MAC are this: they are very, very explosive on offense. I think just about every team in the MAC, every winning team, has a quarterback that can make things happen,” Molnar said. “How do we match up with these teams? I can’t really tell you until we go out onto the field. I have a good sense that we’re going to match up better with the MAC teams than we match up with the Big 10 teams. That’s just how we’re built.”

Bertrand also asked Molnar to explain the process of adding walk-on players to the roster. Molnar explained the long process, which actually eliminates a high percentage of potential players before they even get a chance to show their football ability.

“I think once the guys are weeded out, you’re going to find some guys that are pretty darn good football players — guys that love the game and have a passion and can really add something to the scout team, if not eventually add something to our depth,” Molnar said.


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