Player Perspective: Stephen Gacioch (UMass Dartmouth)
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
Stephen Gacioch has enjoyed a successful start to his junior season with the UMass Dartmouth football team.
Through four contests, the Tiverton, Rhode Island native has completed 91 of 143 passes for 1,344 yards and 15 touchdowns, while adding 185 yards on 63 rushing attempts and one score.
Earlier this week, Gacioch was tabbed our Offensive Player of the Week – he was also awarded his second Division II/III Gold Helmet Award of the season from the New England Football Writers Association after leading the Corsairs to a 21-14 win last weekend against Plymouth State.
Gacicoch is currently second in Division III in passing yards and is tied for third in touchdown passes with Blaine Hawkins of Central College.
Noontime Sports recently spoke with Gacioch about his team’s impressive start, as well as what he and the team must do this week when they visit Framingham State on Saturday, October 5th.
Your team is off to a 4-0 start. Did you imagine your team would enjoy this much success when you all convened prior to your first game against Alfred State?
Prior to (facing) Alfred State (in week one), we had a feeling that things were different this year. There was a focus and intensity that was buzzing throughout camp, and every day we were making each other better. We knew if we played each game with high intensity, make no mental mistakes, and stayed disciplined that we had the talent to start the way we have (thus far).
From your perspective, what has made this offense click?
We’re a close-knit group. We have a lot of returners at the receiver position and we have four unselfish running backs that rotate and maintain fresh legs throughout the game.
Our offensive line has done a great job of being versatile and overcoming many different situations we’ve been in this year. We like to spread the ball around and give everyone their opportunities to make a play and we thrive off that as a group.
How has the defense, which has allowed just 18.0 points per game, helped the offense during practice?
Our defense does a great job. Playing against them in camp every day was the hardest challenge we’ve faced – the offense became much better because of (facing this unit every day).
Our scout guys right now are doing an amazing job giving us different looks at practice to prepare us every week for a new opponent.
How has your relationship with DJ Machado and Leroy Brown improved from last season to this season?
This year they both came to camp ready to play. They have instilled so much trust in me that there are times when I know pre-snap who the ball should go to based on matchups or defensive alignments.
DJ and Leroy have done an awesome job at winning their routes and I trust them to make the plays.
This week, your team faces Framingham State in an important conference contest. What must the offense do to be successful against the Rams defense?
As an offense, we must win the 12% rule, which is to now allow sacks, drops, turnovers or foolish penalties. And if we can execute the game plan then we’ll be successful.
Lastly, what do you enjoy most about playing on the road? Do you get a different adrenaline boost being away from your home stadium?
I personally like the feeling of having something to prove. Whenever we’re on the road there are people who doubt us and it gives a little extra adrenaline every-time we’re on the field.