UMass coach Don Brown stokes up the rivalry with UConn

Minutemen head coach Don Brown has been on both sides of the UMass vs. UConn divide.

Brown enjoyed a successful run in Amherst as head coach from 2004-08 when UMass was a 1AA program that included the CAA championship in 2007.

Brown returned to the rudderless UMass program last season and took on a rebuilding project for the ages. One of his many jobs in between was defensive coordinator at UConn for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

The rivalry between the flagship state universities separated by 50 miles was intense during their days in the old Yankee Conference but has lingered on in a diminished capacity as struggling FBS independents.

The Minutemen (3-8) and the Huskies (2-9) will meet for the 76th time on Rivalry Saturday (noon) at McGuirk Stadium, with the Minutemen up 38-36-2 in the series. Brown is intent on putting some pizzazz back into the regional rivalry.

“I been on both sides of this rivalry and that is kind of an interesting piece,” said Brown. “To play them at home in our rivalry game is special and if you can’t get exited about that you have real problem.

“They love to run the long zone, that is probably their No. 1 play in terms of moving the quarterback and his play action stuff. They don’t do a whole lot defensively but they are sound in what they do.”

Progress is measured in small increments with the UMass football program but the stakes are high for the Minutemen in the season finale.

UMass can win four games for the first time since 2015 and register a sweep of the Northeast independents. UMass, UConn, Army, and Notre Dame are the four FBS independents and the Minutemen beat the Cadets 21-14 at West Point on Oct. 28. UMass did not play Notre Dame this season.

After winning two straight games against Army and Merrimack, UMass was beaten 49-25 last Saturday by No. 25 ranked Liberty

“We have played each and every game and each and every practice as its own separate entity but make sure you go to work with a smile on your face and realize you are working in the great game of football,” said Brown.

“Obviously we are making strides as a team. It is not going as fast as I want it to be but life is good. I get up every morning and I get to coach football and I get to be around great people. What a way to go out if they can get that fourth win this weekend.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Stabbing outside downtown Boston nightclub leaves two men injured
Next post Qatar says Gaza cease-fire will begin Friday morning, with aid to follow ‘as soon as possible’