Not much seems to bother UMass Minutemen head coach Charley Molnar. The second-year coach opened training camp on Monday in the middle of a construction zone as crews continue the process of rehabbing the old McGuirk Stadium into a venue befitting the school's FBS football team. Despite the obvious constraints that working in that environment should have, Molnar is taking it all in stride in hopes it will make the team stronger.
The first thing one might notice when looking at the Minutemen's former and future home is that there are no goal posts at the north end of the stadium. That is where the new Performance Center will be located, housing the football offices, meeting rooms, locker rooms and training rooms. Until that project is complete, the Minutemen will have to get used to having only one set of uprights.
(UPDATE: Since the original article was published, the north end goal posts have been put up)
In addition to a now-asymmetrical field, the noise coming from the construction site on the north end of the stadium and from the crews removing the current press box will make coaching a bit more difficult. Its hard enough to contend with the short attention span of 80 college kids but factor in the lack of goal posts and noise from the construction crews and Molnar may have to keep his teachable moments confined to the film room.
But, again, this won't affect Molnar's mind set. Before road games last year Molnar would blast music through the stadium speakers in order to simulate the loud crowds of the Big House and other loud road sites. The constructions crews will lighten the electric bill a little bit as they provide a natural commotion on all sides of the stadium and prepare the Minutemen for their opening-weekend voyage to Madison, Wisconsin.
"I can’t tell guys to stop banging on steel. How that all shakes down will be interesting," Molnar told Matt Vatour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. "If it makes it a little bit harder to hear the quarterback, so much the better."
If Mike Wegzyn can look at all of this as positively as his coach, training camp should go just fine for the Minutemen on offense.