AMHERST — After declaring himself close to 100 percent, University of Massachusetts sophomore quarterback A.J. Doyle admitted there was a difference between 100 percent for normal people and 100 percent for a football player after nine games of getting hit.
Doyle said he’s the latter and that he expects to be under center when the Minutemen host Akron, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
“You just have to learn to play with it. I’ve been playing football since I was 7-years-old,” Doyle said. “I know what I can and can’t do when I have certain injuries.”
Doyle has completed 105-of-186 passes for 1,045 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. He took over for former starter Mike Wegzyn midway through a loss to Maine and started the next six games. He missed the Minutemen’s 63-19 loss to Northern Illinois with an undisclosed injury.
He said he’s stayed involved even when he couldn’t practice.
“I’ve been here and I’ve been involved in meetings,” Doyle said. “We had the bye week so I was a little bit relieved that I wasn’t going to miss a second game.”
Doyle’s official status won’t be determined until closer to kickoff, but UMass coach Charley Molnar was optimistic.
“He was back today. He looks promising,” Molnar said. “He’s been banged up since Vanderbilt. I thought he tried to make it through the whole season, but it caught up with him. He’s made some recovery and is moving around a little bit.”
Molnar said whether Doyle or Wegzyn starts affects the game plan.
“Him and Wegz have similar skill sets,” Molnar said. “There’s some things A.J. does a little bit better than Mike does. If we knew for sure A.J. would be the quarterback, we would feature those, or if Mike would be the quarterback, we would lean toward those things (Wegzyn does better). It makes it a little more difficult from a game plan standpoint.”
WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN — Prior to Wednesday’s practice, UMass senior defensive lineman Galen Clemons led the team in the White Ribbon Pledge. Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy participated and spoke at the event.
The White Ribbon pledge, according to its website www.whiteribbon.ca, asks men “to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.” It is “the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.”