2007 Akron Preview

Posted May 21, 2007

Preview 2007 Akron Zips

Akron Zips

Preview 200

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 Akron Offense Preview | 2007 Akron Defense Preview
2007 Akron Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Akron Preview

At 5-5 with two games to go, Akron had games against Ohio and Western Michigan to finish with a flurry coming off a 2005 MAC title and get the program’s fourth winning season in a row. After losing the two by a combined score of 34-7, the Zips finished with the first losing campaign under head coach J.D. Brookhart. 

It was a simple formula for the 2006 Zips: run well and win, don’t run well and lose. They were held to -4 yards against Ohio and -13 against Western Michigan thanks to porous pass protection, and ended up going 5-0 when they ran for 110 yards or more, and 0-7 when held to under the mark. With QB Luke Getsy gone, the focus will be on the running game more than ever.

Head coach: J.D. Brookhart
4th year: 18-18
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 16, Def. 22, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 12
Ten Best Zip Players
1. LB Brion Stokes, Sr.
2. CB Reggie Corner, Sr.
3. OT Chris Kemme, Jr.
4. RB Dennis Kennedy, Jr.
5. LB Doug Williams, Jr.
6. S John Mackey, Sr.
7. LB Kevin Grant, Jr.
8. CB Davanzo Tate, Sr.
9. WR Jabari Arthur, Sr.
10. DT Wallace Pendleton, Soph.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

Sept. 1


Sept. 8

at Ohio State

Sept. 15

at Indiana

Sept. 22

Kent State

Sept. 29

at Connecticut

Oct. 6

at Western Mich

Oct. 13


Oct. 27

at Buffalo

Nov. 2

at Bowling Green

Nov. 7


Nov. 14

at Miami Univ.

Nov. 23

Central Michigan

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2006 Record: 5-7
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 at Penn State L 34-16
9/9 at NC State W 20-17
9/16 at Central Mich L 24-21
9/23 North Texas W 33-13
9/30 at Kent State L 37-15
10/7 at Cincinnati L 20-14
10/21 Miami Univ. W 24-13
10/28 at Toledo L 35-20
11/4 Bowling Green W 35-28
11/9 Buffalo  W 31-16
11/16 at Ohio L 17-7
11/24 Western Mich L 17-0

The team’s top rushers return, including main man Dennis Kennedy, but four starters are gone off the offensive line to make the MAC’s worst ground attack a potential issue going into the season, not to mention the pass protection.

Getsy was an occasionally special, almost-always productive passer who will be missed for his leadership as well as his skills. Even though he was mobile, he struggled to get time to throw behind the porous line. Now the Zips have to fight through quarterback inexperience, with Carlton Jackson the likely starter with Chris Jacquemain close behind, while the running game needs to far better to carry the offense for a while.

Fortunately, Akron has one of the MAC’s best coaching staffs, a history of producing winning teams, and a few good recruiting classes under Brookhart to restock the shelves. Now the program has to reverse the slide started at the end of last year and get back in bowl contention.

What to watch for on offense: The West Coast offense to be more balanced. The Zips rely on getting their top players the ball in places where they can do things with it. That wasn’t always easy to do last season, and it came at the expense of the running game, but that should change this season with Dennis Kennedy and the backs the team’s strength early on.

What to watch for on defense: Strong pass defense. The unconventional 3-3-5 scheme doesn’t do much when it comes to getting to the quarterback, but it’s solid against the pass with the extra defensive back on the field. Holding up against the run will be the concern early on with unnoticed playmaking noseguard Kiki Gonzalez gone along with big end Jermaine Reid, but the veteran linebacking corps will clean everything up. 

The team will be far better if … something can be done about the all-around punting game. The return game was miserable finishing as the second-worst in the nation averaging just 3.47 yards per try. Andre Jones has to be more productive, but he also needs more room to move. The punting was also awful netting just 32.1 yards per kick. Now that sophomore John Stec has a year of experience, he should be better.

The Schedule: Six of the first nine games are on the road, but the Zips get the biggest MAC games at home with Ohio and Central Michigan coming to Akron in November. The non-conference slate could be tough with road trips to Ohio State, Indiana and Connecticut after starting with Army. The big problem will be continuity without two home games in a row.

Best Offensive Player: Junior OT Chris Kemme. Normally it might seem boring to highlight an offensive lineman as the team's best offensive player, but considering the Zips have to replace four starters up front, the All-MAC junior will be one of the key players in the MAC season.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Brion Stokes. However, you could take your pick of several different Zip defenders and you wouldn't be wrong. Corner Reggie Corner, linebackers Doug Williams and Kevin Grant, and safety John Mackey could all be considered the team's best defender, but Stokes is special as a top pass rusher and tackler. He's a terror in the backfield.

Key player to a successful season: All the offensive linemen other than Kemme. The quarterback situation will work itself out, the receivers will be fine, and the running backs are in place to come up with a big year, but it'll all go for naught unless the offensive line is better than last year. The starting five might not be determined until just before the season opener.

The season will be a success if ... the Zips win seven games. There are just enough holes to keep Akron on the outside of the MAC title chase, but the overall talent is there to shoot for a winning season. The key will be how well the team holds up late. Once if finally gets a few home games, they happen to come against the two teams from last year’s MAC title game, Ohio and Central Michigan.

Key game: Nov. 7 vs. Ohio. Fortunately, the schedule, even with three MAC road games in four before the showdown with the Bobcats, is light enough for the Zips to be in position to win the East. If they have any hope of playing for the MAC championship, they need to beat the defending East champion before dealing with a road trip to Miami. 

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Sacks: Opponents 31 for 242 yards – Akron 16 for 84 yards
- Third down conversions: Opponents 66 of 184 (36%) – Akron 15 of 27 (28%)
- Average yards per carry: Opponents 3.4 – Akron 2.8


Related Stories
2007 Akron Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 21, 2007
2007 Akron Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 21, 2007
2007 Akron Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 21, 2007

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