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Ford, Comis will share UMass QB duties in opener

  • UMass junior QBs Andrew Ford (7) and Ross Comis (2) are both expected to see action against Hawaii next week. AP/GAZETTE FILE photos

  • UMass junior QBs Andrew Ford (7) and Ross Comis (2) are both expected to see action against Hawaii next week. AP/GAZETTE FILE photos



For The Recorder
Thursday, August 17, 2017

AMHERST — UMass’ quarterback competition became a quarterback combination.

Minuteman coach Mark Whipple said both Andrew Ford and Ross Comis will play when UMass opens the season on Aug. 26 against Hawaii at McGuirk Stadium.

“Both will play. Both have been really good,” Whipple said. “I’m happy about it.”

Whipple declined to elaborate on how he’d rotate the two juniors.

“I don’t know what I’ll do. We’ll see what happens next week,” Whipple said. “They’ll split reps throughout the week.

“They’re both good in the offense,” Whipple added. “I have two starters. We’ll figure it out as we go.”

That leaves some questions unanswered:

Will it be a 50-50 split?

Will the rotation be based on time elements (halves, quarters, series) or situations?

Ford, who is left-handed, isn’t immobile, but he’s more of a traditional drop-back, stay-in-the-pocket passer. Comis, a right-hander, is more mobile and has been effective rolling out in the past.

Comis was the No. 1 QB out of camp last season, but he and Ford each started three of the first six games, with neither seizing control. Comis suffered a season-ending knee injury in game six against Old Dominion, and Ford started the remaining six games.

Comis completed 28-of-63 passes for 370 yards in four games. He had one touchdown and one interception.

Ford, a junior college transfer who began his career at Virginia Tech, completed 222-of-365 throws for 2,556 yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

CAMP STARS — With camp winding down, Whipple highlighted some of the players whose stock has gone up.

Offensive linemen Larnell Coleman, Jaylen Larry and James Reilly all figure to be part of an offensive line rotation that’s less experienced, but deeper than it has been in recent years.

“Larnell Coleman has gotten stronger and will have a role on the offense,” Whipple said. “Jaylen Larry has done pretty good. James Reilly has gotten better. We’re a little deeper there.”

Redshirt freshman defensive linemen Charly Timite missed time with an injury in the spring, but made up for lost time.

“Charley Timite is probably the most improved of anybody since he came in,” Whipple said. “He gained some weight. He’ll get some time.”

True freshman defensive end/linebacker Chinedu Ogbonna has adapted quickly to college

“Chinedu has been good,” Whipple said. “We thought he would be.”

Junior safety Zeke Edmonds, who redshirted last year with an injury, has bounced back strong as well.

“Zeke is a guy who wasn’t here in the spring and has been really solid,” Whipple said.

Junior Jarell Addo struggled to get on the field as a safety under former defensive coordinator Tom Masella, but in Ed Pinkham’s system, he’s thriving as an outside linebacker.

“Jarell Addo couldn’t play last year, and it looks like he’ll split time at outside linebacker with Teddy (Lowery),” Whipple said.