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UMass Needs To Beware Warning Signs Surrounding Walt Bell

It will take a while to turn UMass around on the field, but there are signs that Walt Bell hasn’t even begun to fix the program’s problems

Massachusetts v Northwestern Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The 2019 UMass Minutemen football season has been taken behind the barn and put down, like a horse with a bum leg. It’s merciful. Thank God it’s over.

After the final whistle in UMass’ loss to BYU, the team’s new record was making the rounds. UMass allowed more points in 2019 than any team has ever allowed in one season. They let up 632 points on the season, which is good for 52.7 points per game. New Mexico State is the second worst defense in 2019, allowing 40.3 points per game.

Concerned that the defense wasn’t that bad and it was a bunch of special teams and defensive scores that beat them? Maybe they faced a lot of short fields, and those 7 touchdowns and a field goal allowed per game isn’t indicative of their performance.

Well, the Minutemen also allowed 561.2 yards per game. That’s good for 6,734 yards all season long. Those numbers have the previous worst defense ever, 2018 UConn, laughing at them (Those Huskies only allowed a mere 50.4 points per game).

After not just being bad, but being the worst team in FBS football (Don’t tell me they beat currently winless Akron. I know they did. It’s called the eye test. Same reason a team like Penn State managed to get ahead of a Minnesota team that they lost against), questions need to be asked about head coach Walt Bell.

We all knew this year would stink. All of UMass’ best players graduated. The Minutemen were down to around 50 scholarship players by the middle of the season, when most teams carry 80.

What we did not realize was just how bad it would stink. We didn’t realize that Bell would never be able to figure out the quarterback situation, playing Randall West and Andrew Brito alike all season long. We didn’t realize that he would get no one to buy into his new culture. We didn’t realize that the team would quit on each game, the season, the staff, and each other.

Massachusetts v Northwestern Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

There were two different kinds of failures at UMass this season. One everyone expected: That’s the 1-11 record, which really can’t be faulted on first year coach Walt Bell.

It’s the intangibles that Bell needed to work on this season, to build a base for future success, where he truly failed. The culture is worse now than it was last season, and that’s saying something.

It’s those intangible failures that UMass needs to be wary of going forward. If Bell doesn’t fix the culture, and actually get effort and buy-in from his roster soon, then UMass is only continuing to sink their program by keeping him around.