Ex-Clemson recruit Taisun Phommachanh, who spent the 2022 season with Georgia Tech, must make a “great leap forward” for UMass for the Minutemen to have a chance at pulling off what’d be a historic upset against Hugh Freeze’s Auburn football program in the head coach’s debut on the Plains — this, at least, according to The Boston Herald’s Rich Thompson.
“(UMass head coach Don Brown) will need his young signal caller from Bridgeport, Conn., to take a great leap forward when the Minutemen (1-0) engage SEC power Auburn (0-0) on Saturday (3:30 p.m.) at historic Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.,” Thompson wrote.
While Phommachanh had 288 all-purpose yards in UMass’ shocking Week 0 victory over New Mexico State, the Bridgeport, Connecticut native completed a single pass beyond 20 yards; against a questionable Aggies defense that ceded 41 points to a roster that was considered among the country’s worst before the season.
Auburn football Week 1 opponent’s head coach confident in his quarterback
UMass head coach Don Brown, a 46-year coaching veteran, has the utmost confidence in his quarterback, telling reporters that he expects good things to happen because of Phommachanh’s attitude about the sport.
“I thought he did a great job of that and I think that is his strength,” said Brown. “Obviously he is very athletic, but he is a very smart football player and we certainly are not going to run plays that he is uncomfortable with or that he is ill-prepared for.
“But at the same time, we are just very comfortable with the way he goes about his business and he is all business. When you have a guy that is dedicated and focused on the task at hand, good things happen.”
The last time Phommachanh played an SEC school, he put up a touchdown on the vaunted eventual-national champion Georgia defense. He’ll need to put up quite a few to compete with an Auburn Tigers team that’ll have a fired-up fanbase making Jordan-Hare Stadium a tough place to hear yourself think.