Akron Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

Posted Aug 7, 2006

Akron Zips Preview 2006 - Akron Further Analysis

1st and Ten – The Man – After following his former Pitt offensive coordinator and current Zip head coach JD Brookhart to Akron, QB Luke Getsy finally got a shot to be a starting QB, following in the footsteps of legendary Zip QB Charlie Frye.  In so doing, he proved that he just might be the next great QB in this conference.  Everything about this kid screams QB.  6’2” and 220 pounds, standing tall in the pocket, he’s perfect size to be a college QB.  He has a strong arm.  He has a swagger and confidence that his team believes in.  He saves his best for key situations – he threw for over 800 yards in the two “post-season” games - against Northern Illinois in the MAC championship (not to mention the fact that he dropped a gem of a ball on Domenik Hixon for the game-winner against the Huskies) and Memphis in the bowl game, almost leading the Zips to a monster comeback win in the Motor City Bowl game.  When a kid finally gets his shot to prove himself and takes advantage of it, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due.  As a result, Getsy now wears the bullseye for opposing defenses in 2006.  With no Brett Biggs in the backfield, Getsy’s two major receiving threats out of eligibility and his QB coach Jim Pry off to coach at the University of Illinois, Getsy will be tested and forced to prove that he can adapt to, what appears on paper, significant adversity.  After having to watch from the sideline, as Getsy did at Pitt, he learned how to deal with adversity and will adapt to the myriad of changes thrown his way.  The offensive line should keep him upright in the pocket, and off his wallet, and if a running threat emerges, Getsy might throw fewer times, for fewer yards, and be even better than he was last year.  He’ll have to fight the tendency to try to do too much and not force balls into coverage, but if last year was any indication, he should be ultra-productive in his final year of eligibility. 

2nd and Seven – Reid rush – At 275 pounds, the Zips’ DE Jermaine Reid is the optimum size for a 3-4 or 3-3-5 scheme defensive end.  He’s been a solid run stopper and last year became a much better pass rusher off the edge, leading the team with 7 sacks.  What makes things even better for Reid and Zip DC Jim Fleming is that it can be hard to double Reid in passing situations with a tackle and a back.  Teams will have to use their TE and a tackle, if they want to stop Reid’s pass rush, which obviously keeps the TE out of the passing game.  If Reid gets one-on-one with MAC tackles, he could add to that sack total or harass the QB into poor throws, using his strength and power.  Reid should continue to be strong against the run, but his presence on the edge will keep offensive schemes on the edge as well throughout 2006.

3rd and Three – Follow us – Overall, the Zips running game was one of the worst in the conference in 2005, even with Brett Biggs rushing for over 1,000 yards.  Sure, supporters of the Akron offensive line would argue that the Zips did throw the ball over 40 times a game; however, with five returning starters on the offensive line, including Andy Wills and Tim Crouch, the run game must improve behind this quintet.  Getsy and the passing game will probably still dominate the offense, but if he knows that he can rely upon the run game and the experienced offensive line, he can consistently ‘check’ to runs against a six man box.  The Zips need more balance in their offensive play calling, but it won’t happen unless this offensive line doesn’t lead the way and open holes for the running game.

4th and One – Geez, get the AD on the phone! – Okay, JD.  In only your second year as a head coach, you led the Zips to a MAC title and a Motor City Bowl berth.  So, congratulations, here’s your reward – one of the toughest openings to the season in the entire nation.  Three BCS teams in the first six games, with five of those six being on the road.  Gee, thanks, folks – nothing like building momentum after last season and it coming to an abrupt halt.  Brookhart won’t shy away from a challenge, especially one that his athletic department left for him in a nice, neat little package, but this one is tough.  However, if the Zips come out of that stretch, including road games at Penn State, NC State and Cincinnati, relatively unscathed and injury free, with wins over Central Michigan, North Texas and Kent State (UNT the only game at home), the Zips are set up for a home-friendly second half of the season.  A MAC title?  With Getsy and an experienced defense in tow, it’s not that crazy of an idea, even with the monster first-half schedule.

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