Aug. 27, 2010
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The steady improvement shown by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team was interrupted by last season's struggles. Even though the Corsairs failed to win a game, they brought a number of new student-athletes into the fold, and laid the foundation for success in the future.
"We're certainly going to be better than we were a year ago," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud. "Last year, we brought in 55 new people, and this year, we're bringing in 38 more. We're going to be a young team, but improved."
Sophomore starting quarterback Brendan McNeish (Springfield, MA/Bridgton Academy) returns, but he'll face a challenge to keep his job. "I anticipate tremendous competition at the quarterback position," said Robichaud. "We'll be better, because Brandon McNeish has experience, but he will be challenged. Wide receiver should be a strength for us, and we have some good returning offensive linemen who have been working hard and will be ready to go. Defensively, in general, we're going to be exceptionally young in the defensive line, but our linebackers and secondary should be strong. I am happy with where we are right now."
McNeish, who started the last five games last spring, is ready to go. "Brendan had an excellent spring, and he'll be improved," said Robichaud. (Sophomore) "Tom Pereira (Dartmouth, MA/Dartmouth HS/Mass Maritime) came out last spring, and did a nice job at quarterback. We brought in (sophomore) Patrick Orlando (Manchester, MA/Manchester HS/Saint Anselm), who was the 2008 Boston Globe Player of the Year, as well as (freshman) Tanner Bachand (Newington, CT/St.Paul Catholic HS), who was an outstanding high school quarterback. They are all very good athletes, and we may look at some of them at other positions."
Whoever earns the starting position will have an impressive array of targets. "(Sophomore) Joe Luiz (New Bedford, MA/Bishop Stang HS), who played last year, is a very talented receiver," said Robichaud. "(Junior) Lonnie Page (Canton, MA/Canton HS/Fisher) came over from defense in the middle of the year last year and had an outstanding end of the year and a great spring. We moved (sophomore) Bret Reid (Saugus, MA/Saugus HS) from quarterback to wide receiver, and he has some of the best hands on the team. We also moved (senior) Chris Pinheiro (Norton, MA/Norton HS) from QB, and I have high hopes for Chris. (Senior) Adam Houghton (East Taunton, MA/Bristol-Plymouth Tech), who is one of our captains, will play both tight end and wide receiver. Others who will be fighting for playing time are (sophomore) David Breen (Tuckerton, NJ/Dean College), (sophomore) Tyler Lindberg (Holden, MA/Wachusett Regional HS), (sophomore) Mike Ortler (Katonah, NY/Somers HS) and (senior) Eric Pacy (Rowley, MA/Triton HS/Salve Regina/Dean), who may play a little running back and also be a slot receiver. We also brought in some outstanding high school receivers in (freshmen) Anthony Williams (Springfield, MA/Springfield Central HS), Wayne Bolz (Billerica, MA/Billerica HS) and Kiki Louis (Lowell, MA/Lowell HS). Shyam Subramanian (Stoneham, MA/Stoneham HS) is a returning senior, and we also have (freshman) Chris Berganti (Haverhill, MA/Central Catholic HS), who moved from quarterback and is also a very good punter."
The tight end position will also be a source of talent. "We're excited about our tight ends," said Robichaud. "We return (junior) Marty Armitage (Ware, MA/Quabbin Regional HS) and (sophomore) Mike Castro (Swansea, MA/Case HS), who is moving from linebacker. We also have an incoming freshman, A.J. Hoose (Attleboro, MA/Attleboro HS)."
UMD has had success running the ball in the past, and they aim to continue to be successful. "At running back, (junior) Hymlaire Lamisere (Newton, MA/Newton North HS/Iona), who worked very hard this winter and did a great job on our track team, has a chance to be one of the premier running backs in the conference," said Robichaud. "We also have (junior) Matt Brune (Franklin, MA/Franklin HS/Bridgewater State) and (sophomore) Tucker Devine (Andover, MA/Andover HS). We expect a contribution from freshman Jaron Hargrove (West Roxbury, MA/Concord-Carlisle HS), who ran for 1800 yards and scored 24 touchdowns as a high school senior last season."
The offensive line must be a key component. "I think we'll be improved over last year, with three returning starters," said Robichaud. "(Junior) Robert Yarbough (Fall River, MA/Durfee HS) will do a great job, (junior) Paul Daddario (Spring, TX/Flower Mound HS) has worked extremely hard in the off-season and looks to be solid at one of the guard spots, and (senior) Jason Allen (Canton, MA/Canton HS/Nichols) started all 10 games for us last year, and will be back at center. Some of the people who will be challenging will be (freshman) Justin Chartier (Agawam, MA/Agawam HS), a transfer from AIC, (junior) Anthony Holloway (Mattapan, MA/Boston Latin Academy), and (sophomore) Anthony Joyce (Dorchester, MA/Trinity Catholic HS), a transfer from Dean. We also have freshmen Taylor Radcliffe (Quincy, MA/Quincy HS), Josh Encarnacion (Springfield, MA/Springfield Central HS), Fabian Gonzalez (Springfield, MA/Springfield Central HS), Brian Baiardi (Hanson, MA/Whitman-Hanson HS), Sean Gunderman (Denville, NJ/Morris Knolls HS), and Mike Thomas (Everett, MA/Everett HS)."
The defense acquitted themselves well last season, and also looks to be improved. "Defensively, our strength will be in our linebacking corps and in our secondary," said Robichaud. "(Junior) John Cordasco (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Knolls HS) comes back as one of our captains after having an outstanding freshman year, and then missing a good part of last year because he was ill. He is an outstanding player, and an outstanding leader. (Sophomore) Jack Brown (Milton, MA/Milton HS) had a tremendous freshman year at middle linebacker. He has worked extremely hard, and can be one of the premier linebackers in the conference. We have very high hopes for (junior) Edwin Sustache (Westfield, MA/Holyoke HS/Bridgton Academy) at outside linebacker. He is a gifted athlete who can be a great asset. We also have (sophomore) David Palmieri (Bellmore, NY/JFK HS), a transfer from SUNY Morrisville, who we think can really help us. Two seniors who will see playing time are Steve Kent (Stoneham, MA/Stoneham HS) and Mike Fraser (Peabody, MA/Bishop Fenwick HS/Saint Anselm), while (sophomores) Kevin Addo (Westminster, MA/Oakmont Regional HS) and Kevin Bettencourt (Stoneham, MA/Stoneham HS) were outstanding last spring. We brought in a few people we are very high on, including (freshmen) Ralph Hancock (Bradford, MA/Whittier VoTech), Ryan Bishop (Dracut, MA/Dracut HS and Cliff Anderson (Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS). "
The secondary should be solid. "We are pleased that (junior) Ross O'Toole (Weymouth, MA/Weymouth HS) is back at free safety," said Robichaud. "We also have (junior) James Green (Lynn, MA/Lynn Classical HS), a two-year starter, (sophomore) Darrien Furr (East Taunton, MA/Taunton HS), one our captains, (sophomore) Nick Hiou (Peabody, MA/Peabody HS), who made several starts last year, and (junior) John McNeil (Dorchester, MA/Randolph HS/Husson), who played quite a bit. (Sophomore) Michael Dean (Saugus, MA/Saugus HS) will see substantial playing time, and we have some good incoming players, including (freshmen) Joe Texeira (Seekonk, MA/Seekonk HS), who will either play defensive back or running back, and Jordan McDonald (Brockton, MA/Brockton HS), an outstanding high school player."
The defensive line looks to be improved. "We'll be young, although we do have some talented young men," said Robichaud. "We return (sophomore) Ben Mitsmenn (West Greenwich, RI/West Greenwich HS/Exeter HS), at defensive end, and we moved (senior) Jamie Brooks (Gloucester, MA/Gloucester HS), who was a starter on the offensive line for us last year," said Robichaud. "(Sophomore) Nick Manganello (Attleboro, MA/Attleboro HS), who is the strongest player on our team, looks to be the one to beat out at our nose position. We're excited about (sophomores) B.J. Cardello (Everett, MA/Pope John XXIII HS) and Jake Walsh (Foxboro, MA/Foxboro HS), and (freshman) Max Texeira (Newington, CT/Newington HS) is very strong and athletic. (Freshmen) Trevor Richardson (Quincy, MA/Quincy HS) and Dante Davis (Brookline, MA/Brookline HS) can be good, along with Mike Rodriguez (Framingham, MA/Framingham HS) and Ashmad Conde (Everett, MA/Everett HS). (Junior) John Taranto (Woburn, MA/Woburn HS) is a transfer from Saint Anselm, and returning sophomore Kevin Baroni (Andover, MA/Andover HS) will challenge for playing time."
Special teams can make the difference in a close game, and the Corsairs could have an edge there. "We're very excited that (sophomore) Edgar Osols (Summit, NJ/Summit HS) is returning," said Robichaud. "Edgar worked hard this spring and summer and is an excellent kicker. (Wide receiver) Chris Berganti was an outstanding high school punter, and Chris and Edgar will handle the kicking game. We have some good kick returners in (defensive back) Darrien Furr and (wide receiver) Joe Luiz."
Once again, most of the coaching staff returns. "Our staff comes back virtually intact, although we do have a few positional changes," said Robichaud. "I think we'll have the best defense we've had since I've been here. Steve Faniel is entering his fourth year as defensive coordinator and has the respect of all the players and coaches. Offensively, we may look a little different than we have been in the past."
Increased productivity should lead to an increase in the win column. "We struggled to score points last year, and we need to be more productive offensively," said Robichaud. "We are going to be young again, but we'll be looking to mature quickly. With only nine seniors, some of our leadership has to come from some of the younger players. We need to come together as a team."
As always, the schedule will be challenging. "Fitchburg, our first opponent, is dangerous, and Bridgewater is always tough," said Robichaud. "Maine Maritime is tough, that will be our first overnight trip in eight years, and they were the conference representative in the NCAAs. Then we have Plymouth State for homecoming, which has been outstanding for the past few years. Salve has a new head coach, MIT is working hard, Endicott, Nichols and Western New England are all improving, and Curry is always outstanding." It should be quite a year.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL