Akron Preview 2006 - Offense

Posted Aug 7, 2006

Akron Zips Preview 2006  - Akron Zip Offense

What you need to know ... There could stand to be a bit more balance after being mainly a passing attack, and there needs to be more overall production after averaging 23.6 points and 384 yards per game. The offense wasn't wasn't consistent last year and will have problems getting the same performance two weeks in a row losing RB Brett Biggs and top receivers Dominek Hixon and Jason Montgomery. The cupboard is hardly bare with eight returning starters including the entire offensive line and likely All-MAC QB Luke Getsy.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Luke Getsy
278-525, 3,455 yds, 23 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Dennis Kennedy
45 carries, 131 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Jabari Arthur
30 catches, 482 yds, 3 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Luke Getsy
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore RB Dennis Kennedy
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore TE Merce Poindexter
Best pro prospect: Senior OG Andy Alleman
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Getsy, 2) Alleman, 3) OT Tim Crouch
Strength of the offense: Offensive line
Weakness of the offense: Wide receiver

Luke Getsy should be among the nation's most productive passing quarterbacks even though he's losing top targets Domenik Hixon and Jason Montgomery. He got better as last year went on helping to carry the team to the MAC title. While he won't run for big yards, he's not a statue. It'll be important to quickly develop a number two man with Carlton Jackson and Chris Jacquemain each offering far more athleticism.
The key to the unit: Luke Getsy has to be even sharper, up his completion percentage, and be a better decision maker. The backups need playing time to get their feet wet for next year.
Quarterback Rating: 7

Projected Starter
- Luke Getsy, Sr. - 278-525, 53%, 3,455 yds, 23 TD, 12 INT, 1 rushing TD
The former Pittsburgh transfer took over the starting job and turned into a solid leader on the way to the MAC title. He's a good-sized passer with good mobility, but he's not a runner, who makes things happen when under pressure. He saved his best games for last bombing Northern Illinois for 413 yards and Memphis for 455 yards and four touchdowns generating plenty of excitement coming into this year. Without his top two wide receiver to work with, he'll have to be even better and make everyone around him shine.

Top Backups
- Carlton Jackson, RFr.
A dual-threat quarterback who's a better pass than a runner, Jackson will battle all year for the number two job offering a better running threat to the mix. The left-hander should be even better once he bulks up a little more.

- Chris Jacquemain, RFr.
He has good speed and a live arm seeing time as a receiver as well as quarterback in high school. He turned into a strong all-around quarterback rushing for 714 yards and throwing for 1,715 yards in his senior season and now will push for time at the number two job.

Running Backs
Expect a major dip in production after losing all-star Brett Biggs and his 1,230 yards and ten touchdowns. Dennis Kennedy and Alex Allen are fast backs who should crank out a few more long runs than Biggs was able to. Both of them can catch. Frank Berchie isn't as fast as the other two, but he should be a grinding back who can be an effective number two man. The fullback situation is bright with Joe McDaniel and Joe Tuzze two excellent young prospects.
The key to the unit: The three tailback options have to combine for around 1,200 yards and each has to be an effective receiver.
Running Back Rating: 5

Projected Starters
- Dennis Kennedy, Soph. - 45 carries, 131 yds, 2.9 ypc, 1 TD, 14 catches, 158 yds, 1 TD
Kennedy was one of the stars of the 2005 spring season and turned into the team's number two rusher behind Brett Biggs. He has decent power and great hands as a receiver, but his has to be a more effective runner after averaging only 2.9 yards per carry. He's a speedy back with the potential to break off several more big runs than Biggs did.

- Fullback Joe McDaniel, Soph. - 15 carries, 25 yds, 1.6 ypc, 4 catches, 24 yds
McDaniel isn't huge at 220 pounds, but he's a tough, physical blocker and will be used as a power runner behind Dennis Kennedy. He saw enough work last season to be expected to shine from day one.

Top Backups
- Alex Allen, Soph. - 2 carries, -2 yards
Allen is a speed runner who goes between the tackles. He'll mostly be a slashing option behind Dennis Kennedy and will be a key special teamer.
- Frank Berchie, Jr. - 4 carries, 18 yds
A special teamer so far, the 5-9, 204-pound junior will combine with Alex Allen for the number two job. He's a power runner who should be effective enough to warrant 7-10 carries a game.
- Fullback Joe Tuzze, RFr.
Tuzze might be too good to keep out of the starting mix. He's a little bit bigger than Joe McDaniel and should be a top power back once he gets his feet wet. The 25-pounder ran for 3,537 yards and 67 touchdowns in high school and is a physical blocker.

It'll be next to impossible to replace the 123 catches, 1,912 yards and 15 touchdowns that Domenik Hixon and Jason Montgomery provided, but former quarterback Jabari Arthur is a good player to start with. The big problem will be filling the number two slot with almost no experience between Brandon Williams, Jermaine Lindsey and Johnny Long. Stephon Fuqua has the best wheels in the group and has to become a factor early on. The tight end situation is far better with Kris Kasparek and Merce Pointdexter providing a dangerous 1-2 receiving punch.
The key to the unit: Jabari Arthur has to grow into the number one receiver role and at least two other receivers have to become dependable targets.
Receiver Rating: 5.5

Projected Starters
- Jabari Arthur, Jr. - 30 catches, 482 yds, 16.1 ypc, 3 TD
The projected starting quarterback early last spring became a key wideout tying for the team lead in yards per catch. He's a huge target at 6-4 and 224 pounds with excellent speed and athleticism. He was decent throughout last season and then blew up in the Motor City Bowl catching eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He has to do what Domenik Hixon did and become the team's top target.  

- Brandon Williams, Soph.
Williams might be the key to the passing game needing to grow into a number two receiver to take the pressure off Jabari Arthur. Mostly a special teamer so far, the thin sophomore has to be tough across the middle and needs to show he can be a consistent route runner.

- Tight end Kris Kasparek, Jr. - 27 catches, 312 yds, 11.6 ypc
Potentially a top target in the system, the 6-6, 260-pound junior has 18 career starts and started to grow into a big-time receiver by the end of last season. He's a big blocker who has grown into an excellent route runner.

Top Backups
- Jermaine Lindsey, RFr.
If Brandon Williams is a starter, than Jermaine Lindsey is starter 1A. He's a too-thin 6-1 and 165 pounds needing to put on about 15 pounds of muscle to be more physical, but he has the look of a potential big-play threat.
- Johnny Long, Jr. - 15 catches, 156 yds, 10.4 ypc
Long should be the other receiver in three-wide sets while pushing for one of the starting spots on the other side of Jabari Arthur. He's a great athlete with enough experience to grow into a reliable weapon.
- Stephon Fuqua, Soph.
Fast, fast, fast. The 6-1, 200-pound sophomore will likely start out being used on special teams, but he has way too much speed to not become a deep threat. He's more of a track star playing football at this point, but he has plenty of potential.
- Tight end Merce Poindexter, Soph. - 4 catches, 19 yds, 1 TD

While not as big as starter Kris Kasparek, he's a better, faster athlete and should be a deadly receiver as the season goes on. He's fast enough to potentially be used as a 243-pound wide receiver.

Offensive Linemen
The line might be the team's strength with all five starters returning after allowing just 21 sacks in 13 games. Akron might have finished 11th in the MAC in rushing, but that wasn't the line's fault, Brett Biggs ran for over 1,000 yards and this was mostly a passing team. There's good depth and a few near-certain all-stars in guard Andy Allerman and tackle Tim Crouch. It's a big group that should be even more productive.

The key to the unit: Keep on improving. The experience is there, the depth is in place, so now the line has to go to another level and be the MAC's best.
Offensive Line Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- OT Tim Crouch, Sr.
Crouch has been a rock of a starter over 33 games and should be in the mix for All-MAC honors. He's a big, consistent blocker who has become tremendous in pass protection while also staying as the key run blocker on the left side.
- OG Mike Donaldson, Sr.
The 295-pound senior overcome a broken foot to become a steady starter at left guard. He's a reliable veteran who should be an even better run blocker.
- C Andy Wills, Sr.
The former defensive lineman has been one of the anchors up front as the only lineman to start every game last season. He's a physical blocker who could move to guard if needed.
- OG Andy Allerman, Sr.
Watch for Allerman to grow into a first day NFL prospect as the season goes on. He's 6-4 and 295 pounds with surprising quickness and freakish strength. The former Pitt Panther brings a defensive lineman mentality to the offense.
- OT Chris Kemme, Soph.
Kemme grew into the starting role on the right side in his true freshman season and finished as one of the line's most reliable starters. He's a big blocker at 6-6 and 290 pounds with good technique.

Top Backups
- T Mike Schepp, Jr.
One of the team's most versatile linemen, the 303-pound junior can play either guard or tackle spot starting off this year playing behind Tim Crouch at left tackle. He saw starting time all over the place last year and will be the first fill-in wherever needed.
- G Garrett Brewster, Soph.
The 315-pound sophomore  is one of the biggest players on the line and is just now playing up to his size. He saw time in two games last season and will play a bigger role on the left side behind Mike Donaldson.
- C Jim Holley, Jr.
A scout teamer so far, the 301-pound junior will play more in the rotation starting out behind Andy Willis in the middle.

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