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2007 Akron Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 21, 2007


Preview 2007 Akron Zip Offense Preview

Akron Zips

Preview 200
7 - Offense
 

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


What you need to know: The offense was a major disappointment last season with almost no production from a veteran offensive line and too much of a reliance on the passing game. Now the running game, with a good 1-2 punch of Dennis Kennedy and Andre Walker, should provide more pop, but the line, with four new starters, has to be far better. The quarterback situation will be unsettled going into the fall with Carlton Jackson, Chris Jaquemain, and Sean Hakes all in the race. The receiving corps is fast and experienced, and now everyone has to play beyond their talent level to help out whoever the new passer will be.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Dennis Kennedy
2-2, 56 yds
Rushing: Dennis Kennedy
226 carries, 914 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Jabari Arthur
45 catches, 730 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Junior OT Chris Kemme
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore QB Carlton Jackson
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Keith Huebner
Best pro prospect: Kemme
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Kemme, 2) RB Dennis Kennedy, 3) WR Jabari Arthur
Strength of the offense: Running back, receiver speed
Weakness of the offense: Offensive line

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: If the season started right now. 6-2, 195-pound sophomore Carlton Jackson would be the starter. A dual-threat quarterback who saw a wee bit of mop-up time last year, he's a good passer with decent mobility. The left-hander didn't firmly establish himself as the starter in spring ball, but he has the experience and potential to be the main man for the next few years. He might offer something different with his running skills, but overall, he'll have to grow into the starting role.

Projected Top Reserves: The starting quarterback situation is still up for debate. Sophomore Chris Jaquemain was the third man in the mix last year, and like Jackson, has a good blend of skills with good running ability and a decent arm. He's not going to air it out all that much, so if he's not effective on the move, he likely won't be in the mix for the starting job.

6-3, 200-pound redshirt freshman Sean Hakes is the third option going into the fall. The starter on two straight Texas state high school championship teams, he knows how to lead a team.

Watch Out For ... a quarterback battle up until the last moment. It's Jackson's job to lose, but Jaquemain and Hakes can make things very interesting if they rock in fall camp.
Strength
:
More running. Jackson, Jaquemain and Hakes are three totally different quarterbacks than what the program has been used to over the last few years. The Zips will be able to run a variety of different plays they weren't able to with Luke Getsy at the helm, and they should help out the MAC's 12th best running game.
Weakness
:
Consistent passing. Getsy was a playmaker who threw for close to 2,700 yards. No matter who's at quarterback, the Zips will be happy to get 2,000 this year.
Outlook: The overall quarterback play didn't do enough to inspire confidence this spring, and it's going to be an interesting summer with the starting job effectively up for grabs. All the coaching staff will be looking for is efficiency. Be solid on third downs, make plays with the arms and legs, and put points on the board ... that's the idea, even if the production doesn't come with big passing numbers.
Rating: 5


Running Backs

Projected Starters: It seemed like junior Dennis Kennedy was on his way to a huge season after rushing for 59 yards and a score against Penn State and 117 yards and three touchdowns against NC State to start the season, but he wasn't consistent (and it wasn't necessarily his fault). While he was the main man over a stretch with four straight 100-yard games, but he wasn't consistent getting stuffed by of the better run defenses. At 5-11 and 215 pounds, he has good power to go along with excellent speed and tremendous hands. Along with running for 914 yards and nine scores, he caught 39 passes for 193 yards.

Paving the way will be 5-11, 220-pound Joe McDaniel, who only got one carry and caught three passes, but was a decent all-around blocker. He might see the ball more as a powerful, short-yardage back.

Projected Top Reserves: Behind Kennedy will be 5-10, 185-pound senior Andre Walker, a good number two option who ran for 245 yards and four touchdowns in a limited role, highlighted by a 80-yard, two touchdown performance in the win over North Texas. He's a quick runner who could grow into more of a role as the season goes on.

Also in the hunt for time will be junior Alex Allen, who suffered a knee injury but was back in time for spring ball. He's a speedy, slashing runner who didn't see any work last year, but would be a perfect third-down back.

At fullback behind McDaniel will be 230-pound Joe Tuzze, a big blocker who was a top runner in high school. He's a prototypical goal line back, but he needs the work.

Watch Out For ... more from Allen. Kennedy was a one-man running attack at times last year, and while he's a workhorse, the more production from Allen, the better.
Strength
:
Quickness. Kennedy is a fast back, Walker has good speed, and Allen, once he gets to 100%, is a speed runner. Getting them in space and around the corner will be a must.
Weakness
:
A pure power runner. Yeah, Kennedy is nice between the tackles, but there isn't a sure-thing, short-yardage runner to rely on. McDaniel and Tuzze can be those players, but they haven't been so far.
Outlook: The overall rushing numbers will be far better than last year when the the Zips were 111th in the nation averaging just 84 yards per game, but that'll have as much to do with the running quarterbacks as anything else. Even so, the trio of Kennedy, Walker and Allen should combine for around 1,500 yards and should be a far bigger part of the offense.
Rating: 5.5


Receivers


Projected Starters: Even though he was out this spring with a foot injury, 6-4, 225-pound senior Jabari Arthur will be the main man come fall. With his size and experience, he's a tough player to match up against, and now he has to be more dangerous as a number one after making 45 grabs for 730 yards and four scores. The former starting quarterback has all the measurables to put together a huge senior year.

On the other side will be sophomore Jermaine Lindsay, a potential big-play target who averaged 14 yards per catch with 34 grabs for 477 yards and two scores. While he's not the ideal inside target at 6-1 and a mere 165 points, he was consistent, just not dominant. He should do more with all the attention paid to Arthur.

Senior tight end Kris Kasparek was a disappointment last season catching just 12 passes for 152 yards. While he got a catch in just about every game, he disappeared too often from the passing game and didn't build on a promising sophomore season. At 6-6 and 265 pounds, he's a big blocker who needs to do more on short to midrange third down plays.

Projected Top Reserves: With Arthur out in spring ball, senior Johnny Long and juniors Stephon Fuqua each got chances to show what they could do. Fuqua was particularly impressive, but that was in practice. The 6-1, 200-pounder has to use his elite speed to start to produce in games. Long is a fantastic athlete who only caught five passes for 47 yards. He's too quick to not be a consistent player in the rotation.

Junior Brandon Williams didn't step up as expected having missed the entire year year. Expected to become a strong number two option when the season began, now he'll be the backup behind Lindsay.

Backing up Kasparek will be 6-4, 245-pound junior Marce Poindexter, who isn't nearly the same blocker, but is a better, more athletic receiver. He caught 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, and he has the speed and hands to do far more.

Watch Out For ... more from the backups. Getsy mainly worked with three receivers and running back Dennis Kennedy last year, but now, Long, Fuqua and Williams appear ready to be part of the mix.
Strength
:
Speed. This is one of the MAC's faster receiving corps with Fuqua bringing warp speed, Arthur and Lindsay deep-ball fast, and Long and Williams able to move. Even the tight ends can get down the field.
Weakness
:
Scoring. David Harvey made ten of the team's 18 scoring grabs. The rest of the wide receivers caught six. The new starting quarterback, whoever that might be, has to be able to rely on a few different targets in the red zone.
Outlook: While the overall production might not be there compared to last year, thanks to the loss of Getsy, that doesn't mean the receivers will be less effective. The veteran receivers have to make the quarterbacks better, it's not going to happen the other way around. Arthur is a nice receiver who has to turn into a 100-yard type of playmaker. There are several promising options around him, and that includes the tight ends, which went mostly ignored throughout long stretches.
Rating:
6

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: Four starters have to be replaced off a line that was a major disappointment last season. The lone returning starter is a good one. 6-6, 300-pound junior Chris Kemme earned all-star honors last season as one of the few solid all-around blockers. While he's a good pass protector, he's great for the running game. Outside of him at left tackle, all bets are off.

Coming out of spring ball, two seniors appeared ready to take over on the inside with the emergence of 295-pound center Jim Holley and 315-pound Mike Schepp at right guard. Schepp has seen starting time throughout his career at both tackle and guard, but he's far better suited for the inside considering his physical nature and lack of all-around athleticism. Holley has seen enough time to not be too green in the full-time role, but he'll be pushed hard to keep the job.

Sophomore Keith Huebner might be a little green at right tackle, but he's 6-7, 300 pounds, and extremely talented. He has all the tools to become a rock for the next three years after learning how to play at a leaner, meaner weight; he dropped almost 50 pounds before last season.

300-pound redshirt freshman Mike Ward will likely take over the left guard spot, and while he's inexperienced, he'll benefit from having Kemme next to him. He's a good athlete who's expected to grow into a strong run blocker.

Projected Top Reserves: With almost all the jobs open, that means several untested players will have chances to make names for themselves. Junior Casey Estrada was a top recruit coming in from the JUCO ranks to challenge for the right tackle job. At 6-5 and 290 pounds, he has good size and two years of experience at the lower level, but he doesn't have the upside of Huebner.

6-4, 295-pound sophomore Elliott Bates and 6-4, 295-pound sophomore Zach Anderson will be options at center and right guard respectively. If Bates isn't the team's fastest and most athletic lineman, he's number two, while Anderson was a hot recruit two years ago who could've got several big-time offers. He could end up moving to tackle.

Watch Out For ... the depth chart to change several times and several ways. Kemme will be at left tackle, and then take a guess for the other spots.
Strength
:
Potential. There might not be a whole bunch of experience, but the talent level is there to form a good rotation and a strong front five ... eventually.
Weakness
:
Certainty. There are enough issues at quarterback to have to worry about who's going to protect the starter. Don't expect the starting five to jell for a while considering how many jobs are up in the air.
Outlook: As much as the line might be in a state of flux, at least the production can't be worse than last year when the line didn't do nearly enough in pass protection and did next to nothing for the running game. Eventually, there will be a youth movement that might mean a step backward to take a big leap ahead. The 2008 line should be tremendous.
Rating: 5

 

Related Stories
2007 Akron Preview
 -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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