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Sneak Peek: The UMass Minutemen

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Auburn’s last chance to tune things up before a daunting 2020 season finale.

Massachusetts v Northwestern Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking a quick look at every Auburn opponent on the 2020 schedule.

2019 Record: 1-11

2020 Signing Class: 102nd

Head Coach: Walt Bell (2nd Season)

Key Departures:

  • QB Randall West - 93/155 (60%) 864 yds 6 TD 6 INT
  • RB Bilal Ally (Transfer) - 165 carries 851 yds 5.2 avg 7 TD 7 rec 32 yds 4.6 avg
  • LB Jarvis Miller - 60 tackles 4.5 TFL sack 2 PBU FF
  • CB Isaiah Rodgers - 42 tackles 3.0 TFL 4 INT 9 PBU TD FR FF
  • CB Brandon Mangram - 64 tackles TFL 2 FR

Key Returners:

  • QB Andrew Brito (RJr) - 93/170 (54.7%) 830 yds 7 TD 6 INT
  • RB/WR Cam Roberson (Sr) - 116 carries 360 yds 3.1 avg 2 TD 16 rec 63 yds 3.9 avg
  • WR Jermaine Johnson Jr (So) - 37 rec 272 yds 7.4 avg 2 TD
  • WR Zak Simon (RJr) - 32 rec 355 yds 11.1 avg 2 TD
  • LB Cole McCubrey (Sr) - 84 tackles 4.5 TFL sack 2 PBU FF
  • LB Mike Ruane (Sr) - 66 tackles 1.5 TFL 2 FR
  • LB Chinedu Ogbonna (Sr) - 30 tackles 9.0 TFL 2.0 sacks INT PBU FR

Preview

It was an unpleasant first season for Walt Bell. Per SP+, UMass was literally the worst team in football last season. Unlike Akron, they at least got a single win but otherwise it was a miserable 2019 campaign for the Minutemen. It looks unlikely that 2020 will be any better (unless they cancel the season I guess).

The one positive piece for this UMass offense last season was running back Bilal Ally who rushed for just over 850 yards and 7 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he decided to transfer leaving behind a pretty weaponless offense.

Bell’s offense attempted to dink and dunk its way down the field with little success. They rotated through three different QBs with little success none averaging over 6 yards an attempt. Andrew Brito is back and with no spring it is likely he will be the starter but it wouldn’t be shocking to see someone else there by the end of the season. Bell did have a decent signing class including JUCO QB Kyle Lindquist. But to be honest, not really sure where any of the offense is going to come from this fall.

On the other side of the ball, Tommy Restivo is taking over as the defensive coordinator following Aazaar Abdul-Rahim’s departure. He thankfully has some nice pieces to work with in 2020. Considering this defense was ranked dead last per SP+ it can only go up from here!

The strength of this defense, if there is any, is in the front 7 specifically at linebacker. Pass rusher Chinedu Ogbonna flashed some nice potential in 2019 and MIKE backer Cole McCubrey returns as well. Unfortunately for the Minutemen, star corner Isaiah Rodgers is now an Indianapolis Colt so there’s some rebuilding to be done in the secondary as well.

Gonna be honest, I don’t have a ton to say about UMass. The gist is they are a really bad football program right now and Auburn is likely to rest a lot of starters before the final two weeks of the season. Maybe we will get to see some guys like Chayil Garnett or Sawyer Pate sling the rock around. I don’t know, I just know this will be a bloodbath.

War Eagle!