UMass: Despite results still not being there, Brown continues embracing the slow build

Alright UMass fans, we know you’re sick of hearing it when the team is 1-5, but you can see the progress being made.

The game against Liberty wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t mean this is the same old Minuteman program. With home games against Buffalo and New Mexico State coming up before the showdown with UConn on November 4, head coach Don Brown is hoping that the two more weeks of home cooking will help lend some better results.

“You’re just grateful to play on Saturdays to be honest. But, when you’re able to do that at home, it certainly is a positive,” Brown said during his Tuesday night availability. “A lot of friendly faces, our crowd’s around us and more importantly is, we’ve had a couple of night games, so we’ve gotten home at four, five in the morning and then the guys have to get going and turn it around on Sunday, so it’s nice to be able to get a good night’s sleep, get up and go to work the next day.”

One of the more fascinating pieces to this puzzle is how Brown is handling losing. After nothing but success during his first stint with UMass, Brown returned and emphatically talked about knowing nothing but winning and that the expectation would remain the same. Well, now at 1-5, how is the legendary coach handling such a slow build?

Just fine. In fact, Brown feels like now is where he can do some of his best work.

“Now’s the time you’ve got to make a difference with your players,” he said. “You’ve got to make a difference with your staff and obviously we’ve got to do a great job with not only the organization of practice, but make sure guys are practicing with good energy and juice. You know, I know I’ve said this before, but we had our best Tuesday. This was our best practice by far and I’m just happy with the way the guys responded (Monday) and carried into Tuesday. If you don’t have a good practice week, it’s hard to throw fairy dust out there and on Saturday and think you’re going to have any kind of success.”

The offense is admittedly a work in progress, but the defense continues to show massive improvement – as you’d expect under Brown. Brown also reminded everyone on Tuesday just how young this team really is. The wins will come, but the patience needed with such a new roster is something a fan base doesn’t really think of. There’s also an element of teaching a young team that just because they’re down, doesn’t mean they’re out. That always hasn’t been the case in recent years.

“We’re trying to get our young guys to understand when you’re at the half and it’s 21-10, it’s less than two scores,” he said. “We’ve just got to do better in terms of understanding and in terms of execution.”

With that young roster, Brown and his staff are also tasked with making sure everyone is prepared adequately. Not just starters and back ups, but inexperienced guys who may be thrust into action at a moments notice.

This continues to be a slow build and it will produce results eventually, just maybe not this season.

“You never know who’s going to end up playing at the end of the day, so you better get them all ready to play,, or at least as best you can do” Brown added. “You take a select few and get them ready and then your select few gets banged up, who do you go to? We’re trying to make sure that we prepare as many guys as we can that can help us play on Saturday afternoon.”