UMass coach Don Brown has handled a bunch of drawback areas within the first half of the season however the inside defensive position isn’t considered one of them.
Defensive deal with Billy Wooden has been a bulwark within the Minutemen’s entrance seven with the capability to cease the run and get after the passer.
Brown shall be relying on Wooden once more when the Minutemen (1-4) host Arkansas State (2-2, 1-0) of the Sun Belt Conference on Saturday (3:30) at McGuirk Stadium. ASU beat UMass 35-33 final season.
Wooden held down one of many few positions that Brown wasn’t urgently seeking to improve within the switch portal throughout the off season. He appeared in 9 video games final season and recorded 16 solo tackles, 20 assisted tackles with 5.5 TFL’s and a pressured fumble.
“The good thing with Billy is that we are kind of finally getting the really healthy Billy Wooden,” stated Brown. “Last year was a year removed off his ACL injury so obviously there was a period of time where you have to get comfortable, get your strength back and be at full speed. We are seeing that guy this year for sure.”
Wooden has almost exceeded these totals in 5 begins this season whereas establishing himself as a turnover machine. The 6-1, 310-pound, senior from Towson, Md., has 5 begins with 14 solo tackles, seven assisted with seven TFL’s, 4 sacks, two pressured fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Wooden recorded 4 solo tackles, three assists, three TFL’s, a sack and compelled fumble within the Minutemen’s 34-31 time beyond regulation loss to New Mexico final Saturday at McGuirk.
“It has been a good ride for me this season,” stated Wooden. “This is my last ride and I just want to leave it all out on the field. I give props to my coaches who have put me in this position and my body is feeling so much better than last year.”
Brown thought he had his quarterback scenario solved when he introduced in Clemson switch Taisun Phommachanh and Carlos Davis from Western Kentucky.
Phommachanh seemed terrific within the group’s win at New Mexico State within the season opener however bought damage the next sport at Auburn. Davis has confirmed to be a succesful back-up, however he was injured in opposition to New Mexico and his standing is day-to-day.