N.E. FOOTBALL;These Jumbos forget old mantras

If some deity were to assemble ghostly coaching legends of

bygone days for an in-stadium sitdown chat, your best bet would be

to find current Tufts coach Bill Samko listening on the side of the

field where the late Woody Hayes had residence. Let the Don Coryell

aficionados and Bill Walsh disciples have the other side.

Until this year, that is.

”We’ve kind of changed our mode a little bit,” Samko said at

the weekly New England

College

Football Writers luncheon.

Long avowed as a ”three yards and a cloud of dust” proponent,

Samko has switched his

football philosophy. This season,

Samko’s Jumbos (1-2) have been slinging

footballs worthy of, dare we say, a

West Coast offense. In a 21-20 loss to Bates on Oct. 2, senior

quarterback Anthony Fucillo of Winthrop completed 35-of-71 passes,

smashing program single-game marks. The old attempts mark was 53 by

Matt Russo against Middlebury in 2007. The former completions

standard of 30 was jointly held by Russo (Williams, 2007) and Jason

Casey (Bowdoin, 2009).

Fucillo, whose favorite targets have been seniors Billy Mahler

(23 catches) and Greg Stewart (20 catches), kept up the aerial

bombardment last week in a 22-15 loss at Bowdoin when he connected

for 356 passing yards, erasing Dave Piermarini’s 1982 record of 354

against Amherst. Fucillo, who is 85-of-174 for 952 yards and five

TDs, is on pace to eclipse single-season school marks for

completions (145, Russo), attempts (261, Russo), yards (1,639,

Piermarini) and touchdowns (14, Russo and Chris Connors).

”We throw the ball. It creates options,” said Samko, whose

club visits Trinity (2-1) tomorrow. ”We just have to be (more)

consistent.”

Elsewhere, UMass junior co-captain Tyler Holmes, who was named

FCS Linebacker of the Week after making 18 stops with a sack in a

27-14 Minutemen win at Towson, has been added to the Buck Buchanan

Award watch list.

No. 8 UMass (4-1) hosts Richmond (2-3) tomorrow (3:30 p.m.) and

a Homecoming crowd of about 17,000 is expected in Amherst. The

Minutemen have not played at home since beating Holy Cross, 31-7,

back on Sept. 11.

”Richmond certainly is a challenge coming off the bye week. We

had the tempo going and then the bye week off and now we’re trying

to find the tempo again,” said UMass coach Kevin Morris. ”The

kids are really ready to go. We’ve had an excellent week of

practice and hopefully we can parlay that into a win (tomorrow).”

. . .

Harvard (3-1) plays host to Lehigh (3-2) in a nonleague

encounter at The Stadium at noon tomorrow. Harvard leads the series

by a scant margin, 8-7. The Crimson, who have won two straight,

have been without senior quarterback Andrew Hatch (concussion).

Hatch is practicing and has been cleared to play. In Hatch’s

absence, sophomore Colton Chapple filled the void as Harvard went

to a ground-oriented attack, churning out consecutive 300-yard

rushing games. It’s the first time under coach Tim Murphy that

Harvard has posted back-to-back 300-yard rushing efforts. . . .

Due to an error in Thursday’s edition, Fitchburg State was

incorrectly listed as Maine Maritime’s opponent in the 38th annual

Admiral’s Cup on Oct. 30. The Admiral’s Cup is being contested

between Mass. Maritime and host Maine Maritime.

– jconnolly@bostonherald.com