Quick thoughts on UMass' loss to Liberty

Yikes. It was never really pretty for UMass in a 45-0 loss to Liberty Friday. Although it was not unexpected, you had to wonder if UMass was going to be able to carry over some of its competitive performance from the week before against Florida Atlantic. That never came to fruition, and UMass completed its four-game season on the downside of a blowout to a Liberty team that was, at times, nationally ranked this year. It was a tough game to end a tough abbreviated season, and you had to look hard to find positives. Overall, you're glad UMass was able to have a season at all, and maybe that's the biggest plus when all is said and done. More on that and what you saw from the Minutemen Friday:

— This team is still no closer to finding answers at the quarterback position. Say what you want about why this may be the case. UMass did not have normal prep time this season to go through a race to see who should be the starting quarterback. But no matter how they went about it, the Minutemen never came up with an answer for who this team should have at that position. There were different strengths and weaknesses for the various players, but no one stepped forward and took over there the way you like to see. UMass started Garrett Dzuro against Liberty, and Josiah Johnson came in as a running option. Dzuro had his moments, but nothing this season has consistently worked, and coach Walt Bell has to figure out what direction to go in going forward.

— The defense slid back after a strong game against Florida Atlantic. In last week's game against Florida Atlantic, the UMass defense had its best performance of the year. The Minutemen made FAU work for everything it got, and it was just a solid outing all the way around. This was not how it went against Liberty, however. After the first drive, Liberty found a groove and made it look easy on several marches to the UMass end zone. You wanted to see the UMass defense build on what happened last week against FAU, but that didn't happen.

— All in all, you're glad UMass was able to get these games in. At one point, it looked like UMass would not have any games this season. After four blowout losses to Georgia Southern, Marshall, Florida Atlantic, and Liberty, some might think that UMass did not gain anything by playing here. As much as you want to see a win, these were not pointless exhibitions. UMass had an extremely young team this season, and the Minutemen were able to gain extremely valuable experience by getting these games in. You do wonder just how much the youngsters learned along the way, but the opinion here is that it is much better than just sitting home and not playing. UMass will be better for this, regardless of how much it looked at times that the Minutemen were simply run over. Knowing what he knows now, you can bet UMass coach Walt Bell will take that experience every time.

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