When the Massachusetts football team takes to the Gillette Stadium field in two weeks to face Boston College in one of the program’s most pivotal games in its history, it will be doing so with a brand new starting quarterback.
Minutemen coach Mark Whipple announced that Blake Frohnapfel will start for UMass, ending a two-week quarterback competition between Frohnapfel and the incumbent starter A.J. Doyle. Various members of the team and coaching staff noted throughout the start of camp that the competition was very tight and both quarterbacks looked strong. It’s believed a scrimmage held by UMass last Thursday coupled with a weekend of practice played a role in determining which player would gain the advantage. The Minutemen coaching staff charted and filmed every throw made by each quarterback during practices and then would break down the film with them later that day as well.
Frohnapfel is a 6-foot-6, 225 pound transfer from Marshall. He spent his first two seasons as a backup to Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and earned his undergraduate degree in that time before deciding to transfer to UMass in pursuit of more playing time. He has two years of eligibility remaining. Part of his transition so far in camp has been learning the pro-style offense under Whipple and quarterbacks coach Liam Coen, something we briefly highlighted here.
Doyle is no stranger to quarterback competition. Since arriving in Amherst two years ago, he’s competed with former UMass quarterback Mike Wegzyn for playing time. After initially losing to Wegzyn a season ago, Doyle took over as the starter and started nine games for the Minutemen. He threw to 1,274 yards, six touchdowns and 11 interceptions in a total of 11 appearances.
We’ll have more to update to the story as the day progresses.
UPDATE: We’ve posted a full story on Dailycollegian.com
Mark Chiarelli can be reached at mchiarel@UMass.edu and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli