This week, we got in touch with Michael Traini from Fight Massachusetts: home for UMass news on 247 Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @FightMA247.

ASOR: UMass is still continuing to rebuild. Based on what you’ve noticed within the program, has the rebuild gone well or poorly so far?

Michael Traini: Perhaps the most positive spin I can put on UMass’ current rebuild is that it’s gone slowly. They are still trying to recover from rock bottom levels in 2019 with very low scholarship numbers and no recruiting commitments at the time of the coaching change. It has not gone well for UMass in the past two and half seasons that much is obvious and no one would say that it has been a success to this point. The hope is that they continue to develop and recruit and next season will be one where they can take a bigger step forward.

ASOR: What are UMass’s strengths?

MT: The list of UMass’ strengths this season is a very short list but I’d say either the depth and talent in the secondary or the rushing ability of starting RB Ellis Merriweather. The secondary has the deepest pool of talent on the team and can flash well but they don’t often get the chance in coverage as opposing teams tend to most run the ball all over the Minutemen defense. Merriweather can be a bear to tackle and if he gets going he’s a force, but he doesn’t always have the chance either with UMass’ offensive struggles.

ASOR: What are UMass’s weaknesses?

MT: The list of UMass’ weaknesses this year on the other hand is lengthy, and primarily among them is their run defense coupled with their inability to tackle. They just gave up 365 rushing to Florida State and pretty much every opponent they’ve played, even UConn, has had success running the ball against them. Liberty should be no different this coming Saturday.

ASOR: What does UMass need to do to pull off the upset?

MT: Frankly in order for UMass to pull off an upset they’d need Liberty to beat themselves. The Flames are a much better and deeper team who should have no trouble dispatching the Minutemen for the third straight season on Saturday. UMass just is not at the level Liberty is and will be fortunate to cover the spread.

ASOR: What matchup are you most excited to watch?

MT: I’m personally looking forward to watching Malik Willis play once again. He’s a very talented player who should have a chance at the next level and his athletic ability is top notch. I’ll be interested to see his numbers by the time he sits in this game as I’m sure they’ll be pretty impressive both through the air and on the ground.