Aug 23, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT
CAA Football will chronicle all 10 of its programs each weekday leading up to the 2010 season kickoff Thursday, Sept. 2. Using the league’s preseason poll as a guide we will work our way up to the league favorite. Check back each day for information on your favorite team.
Today’s squad: The Massachusetts Minutemen
Year Two of the Kevin Morris era is underway at UMass. The Minutemen are seeking to continue the winning tradition in Amherst where they have captured 22 conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times including three of the last seven years. The Minutemen won the conference crown in 2006 and 2007, advancing to the NCAA Championship game in 2006.
The Minutemen will have a young look in 2010, returning just eight starters, four on each side of the football. The team has a pair of juniors as team captains in All-American linebacker Tyler Holmes and preseason All-CAA pick tight end Emil Igwenagu. Holmes has been named a preseason All-American by nearly every outlet.
Also expected to play key roles in 2010 are a group of senior transfers, who join the Minutemen from discontinued programs. Former Northeastern Huskies tailback John Griffin and tackle Greg Niland will come in and start right away for UMass. Griffin was also named a preseason All-CAA selection alongside teammates Holmes and Igwenagu. Senior receiver Anthony Nelson makes the move to McGuirk Stadium from Hofstra, where he was a top-level wideout and student.
On offense, the Minutemen will have great depth in the backfield with Griffin as well as returning junior Jonathan Hernandez, who was the Bill Knight MVP of the upset win over then-No. 4 New Hampshire last October. Redshirt freshman Jamar Smith will also be a key component.
Senior quarterback Kyle Havens is the returning incumbent, starting the first 10 games last season. He will be challenged by sophomore junior college transfer Ian Shultis and freshman Brandon Hill.
The offensive line will look to Niland along with returnees Stephane Milhim and Brian Ostaszewski.
The defense will be anchored by Holmes, who will joined in the linebacking corps by true sophomore Tyler McIntyre and another Northeastern transfer Chad Hunte. The defensive line will feature four new starters as all four starters from last season graduated.
In the secondary, UMass will look to a pair of returnees in senior Ke’Mon Bailey and sophomore Darren Thellen.
Here is your chance at winning a mini-helmet of the CAA Football Team corresponding to the day in the 10T/10D series. Follow CAA Football on Twitter and @reply us with your answer or go to CAAFootballblog.com and hit the comment link to file your answer and keep checking back to learn if you’re the winner. Prize packs will be awarded to the first correct response!
10T/10D TRIVIA FOR TODAY: What year did current Massachusetts head coach Kevin Morris begin working for former UMass head coach Don Brown as an offensive coordinator? Hint: We are referring to the stint prior to Brown/Morris coming to UMass?
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