Reindeer: parting thoughts on the 2023 campaign

So, another season has come and gone for the Minutemen. I’ve taken a shot at putting together my comprehensive UMass football to-do list for the off-season. I would love to hear what people would like to add. Going to start with actual football-related stuff and then get into some more game-day atmosphere-related stuff….

1. Special teams were abysmal and we need to find specifically a special teams coach no more just giving that job to a positions coach. 

2. Revamp both the offensive and defensive lines. We are losing a lot of key pieces here, and it should be our primary target in recruiting

3. Keep Lynch-Adams, Ahmed Haston, and Anthony Simpson; those are guys on offense I suspect teams will try to poach from us 

4. Another good portal target will be safeties, as it was a pretty weak position this year, especially with Rudolph not being at 100%

5. Leverage NIL at the Punter and Kicker positions. Tired of not being able to flip the goddam field we need a guy that can reliably boot it 60 yards 6. Get Puma healthy because he is a next-level quarterback when he can use his legs at 100%

7. Need to have more plays for 3rd/4th, and short was a weak point in the offense this year, with 3rd down conversations being ranked 84th and 4th down conversations being ranked 126th

8. Have a better game plan for mobile QBs. We got burned a lot this year by QB scrambles and we rarely had a spy on the QB which is something I would like to see Don implement more of. Alright, now to some game day atmosphere changes

1. Bring back the designated lot 11 tailgate. It puts students closer to the stadium and removing it basically moved all the students closer to Southwest. We can create a fun, safe atmosphere for students to tailgate. 

2. Hire a goddam exterminator and get the bees out of McGuirk

3. Put speakers at the top of bleacher sections so we don’t have to play one speaker at max volume and blow out the eardrums of everyone in the end zone 

4. A new playlist focusing on New England songs (Dropkick Murphys, Noah Khan, songs the Patriots use)

5. Upgrade end zone bunkers to have things like Wi-Fi, chargers, beer on tap, and TVs that work. Let’s make that end zone a party, and let’s make it loud so students say, “Hey that seems pretty cool.”

6. Get big Massachusetts names at some games. Would be awesome to see Maura Healy or former Patriot players at a game. Don’t be afraid to reach out to big names to because, hey you never know what Tom Brady is doing on a Saturday.

7. While I love some number one dining we have to partner with more local brands to get some unique creative food in McGuirk as it is one of the biggest strengths of our region in western mass.

8. Keep up great content pieces like Unleashed and continue to push NIL content. I would love to make the pre-game live show with WMUA a bigger thing as well.  

9. Have the football team do more charitable stuff in the community. One of the most significant opportunities for having players here in the summer is volunteering at kid’s camps, local shelters, and food kitchens. Players who make connections with the community make the community more likely to show up. 

 10. Advertise everything Don Brown says because I could listen to him talk for hours. Students need to see how much the guy in charge cares about both the school and his players. I bet a ton of students haven’t heard his speech after Army.

11. More creative advertising around our schedule. It’s hard for students to see why they should care about us playing Eastern Michigan or Toledo, so we must think outside the box. Sam riding a rocket into McGuirk would be a great way to advertise a Toledo game (spitballing here)

12. Use hockey more. Set up a hockey NIL and meet and greet with players at McGuirk for students. Use your successful program to help build other programs 

13. Have an official watch-along at the hangar or spoke for away games. Partnering with popular student locations will help drive student engagement I want students to be annoyed with how much they see and hear about the football team.

14. THE UMASS COMMUNITY NEEDS TO GO ALL-IN ON NIL. You’re already reading this on the Midnight Ride Collective’s website…..takes 10 seconds to invest.

I recognize this is a lot, but I wanted to brainstorm ways we can think about this football program that move it in the right direction. By all means, if you disagree or have other suggestions sound off in the comments but I’m tired of the constant whining on Twitter from people who want this program to be better but would rather sit and complain about it than actually do something. Let’s band together and unite on issues that we think can create some meaningful change and turn this program around with Don Brown. Lastly, I love you all and it has been an absolute pleasure getting to meet so many of you guys this year in the Midnight Ride Collective’s bunker. We made a lot of entertaining and significant changes this year, and I can’t wait to build on them and continue to push for this football program.

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