How has Mark Whipple been received? Is he improving the program?
Mark Whipple came in on a golden chariot as angels played horns, at least it seemed that way. Mark Whipple represented a better time for UMass, where wins were easy and the product on the field was enjoyable. This is in contrast to our coach who was just fired, Charlie Molnar, who was hated by both the fans and the former players. As for improving the program, that's yet to be seen. His first recruiting class is still in progress, and most the team is just now learning his new defense (3-4) and his new "Whiplash" offense.
UMass gave up 338 yards rushing last week, do you expect CU to have a similarly successful day on the ground?
BC is known for having a powerful line and a strong running game, and it showed last weekend. There was a reason that the Eagles were ranked 24th last year, and they returned most the same players on the line and in the backfield. No offense to the Buffaloes, but I don't see the same result from a team that was ranked 112th last year. If you are asking if the Buffaloes have a chance to call their running game a success against the Minutemen, well, that's a different question. The 3-4 defense we saw last weekend had its biggest issues up front, and it was only when Whipple made the adjustments to bring the defensive backs up to cause pressure did the Minutemen start to slow the running game, but started to give up passing yards. So I would say yes to successful, no to BC-style successful.
Blake Frohnapfel's stat line from last week wasn't ideal. Did he show playmaking abilites? Is he the answer at QB?
Blake Frohnapfel had a strong start to the game, but was often derailed by poor deep accuracy. The play calling was a bit suspect here as well, as Whipple called deep passes repeatedly despite the fact that Frohnapfel had issues with them all game. The one long TD in the game was mostly of the yards after catch variety. For Frohnapfel to have success, I'd need to see more short to immediate throws to get him into a rhythm. Meanwhile, if the Buffaloes could bring the pressure, Frohnapfel seems to get shaken.
What is the strength of this team on offense? What about on defense?
Its tough to find a strength on this offense after the past 2 years and 1 game, where offense has been nowhere to be found. If Frohnapfel can get those short to intermediate passes going, though, and J.T. Blyden, our freshman running back, can replicate what he did in the 4th quarter against BC, we might finally see a watchable product on offense. Our biggest strength on defense is our back four. Randall Jette caused all sorts of problems for the Eagles last week, and it was only when they started creeping up to the line to help the front 7 that BC found its passing game. If the front 7 can hold their own, this defense can actually cause some issues.
What is the weakness of this team on offense? What about on defense?
As I said above, the biggest weakness of the offense has been itself. Our quarterback (in the small sample size of one game so lets not take too much from it) struggles when pressured and can't throw a deep ball, which lets defenses creep up and stop the running game. The line hasn't been able to get a good push. Our kicker is very shaky. Not much to be scared of our offense, yet. On defense, the front 7 had big issues stopping the run, especially against BC. Its a young squad, so I expect a different team in game 12 than in game 1, but this is game 2, and they still need experience.