2009 CFN Akron Preview |
2009 Akron Offense
2009 Akron Defense |
2009 Akron Depth
2008 Akron Preview |
2007 Akron Preview |
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about Akron football?
Akron has been stuck in a MAC lost zone over
the last few seasons, and now it needs to either come up with a big
season, or there will likely be big changes to make the program more
With the 2005 MAC title, head coach J.D.
Brookhart showed just how strong Akron football could be when all
the pieces when everything could go right. The championship also
bought him time, but now he has the team, the coaching staff, and
the potential to be in the conference title again after three
straight losing seasons.
Head coach: J.D. Brookhart
6th year: 27-33
Off. 21, Def. 21, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 22
Best Zip Players
1. LB/S Mike Thomas,
2. DT Almondo Sewell, Jr.
3. QB Chris Jacquemain, Sr.
4. CB Miguel Graham, Sr.
5. LB Aaron Williams, So.
Corey Woods, Jr.
7. RB Alex Allen, Sr.
8. WR Deryn Bowser,
9. WR Andre Jones, Sr.
10. DT Ryan Bain, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2009 Record: 0-0
9/5 at Penn State
9/12 Morgan State
10/3 OPEN DATE
10/17 at Buffalo
10/24 at Syracuse
10/31 at No. Illinois
11/20 at Bowling Green
11/27 Eastern Mich
at Wisconsin L 38-17
9/6 at Syracuse W 42-28
9/13 Ball St L 41-24
9/20 at Army W 22-3
9/27 Cincinnati L 17-15
10/4 at Kent St W 30-27
10/11 Bo Green L
10/18 at East Mich W 42-35
10/25 OPEN DATE
11/1 OPEN DATE
11/5 Toledo W 47-30
11/13 Buffalo L 43-40
11/22 at Ohio L 49-42
11/28 at Temple
Brookhart has one of the quirkiest teams in the
conference, with its dink and dunk spread offense and its 3-3-5
defensive alignment, but if you're going to go rogue, you need to have
consistent success. It's not that Akron has been awful, it's that it
hasn't been able to come up with all the close wins needed to go from
being an also-ran to a true contender on a yearly basis. While the
problems closing have led to too many losses, there is a silver lining.
Akron was 90th in the nation in defense, 95th in scoring defense, 115th
in sacks, 100th in tackles for loss, 100th against the run, and in the
bottom half of the conference stats in several other places like punting
(101st in the nation and 11th in the MAC), but it was still in the hunt
for the East title in mid-October and had a shot at a winning season and
a bowl game before collapsing late. Even with all the problems and all
the issues, the Zips still went 5-7 and could've and should've finished
with a better record after losing to Buffalo in four overtimes, Ohio in
a 49-42 shootout, at home to Bowling Green by four, and to Cincinnati by
two. Had two of those losses been wins, and it would be a very different
tone going into the season.
This year's team has no excuse to not be a major player, and it should
be able to realistically set its sights on the MAC title. The offensive
line might be the best in the MAC, the four top wide receivers return,
the defense is loaded with speed, athleticism, and experience, both
kickers are back, and Chris Jacquemain is going into his third year as
the starting quarterback.
While the team is better, the coaching has gotten a lot better in a big
hurry with Walt Harris, the former head man at Pitt and Stanford,
serving as the quarterbacks coach and in an assistant head coaching
role, and former Miami University head coach Shane Montgomery taking
over the offense. For a team that needed just a little bit of tweaking,
the top-shelf coaching might be enough to put it over the top.
If things weren't point
upwards enough, the program gets to kickoff a new era in some shiny new
digs, ditching the Rubber Bowl and playing in InfoCision Stadium, a
30,000-seat jewel that should be the best in the MAC. It's all there for
Akron to get to the fourth bowl game in its history, and it's all there
to represent the East for the title.
What to watch for on offense:
The line. This was one of the MAC's best lines last year, if not the
best, and even though it lost veteran all-star Chris Kemme at left
tackle, it should be even better with four of the starters who played in
every game last year returning, talented junior Corey Woods moving from
the right side into Kemme's spot, and rising sophomore Jake Anderson
about to become great at right tackle. The skill players will get all
the time they need.
What to watch for on defense: The playing around with the
alignment. Technically in thee 3-3-5, the Bandit serves as a third
linebacker, but the Rover, the fifth defensive back, also handles many
of the same roles. These are the two playmaking positions in the
defense, with Mike Thomas, the team's second-leading tackler, handling
the Bandit and either Troy Gilmer or Shawn Lemon at the Rover. More
often than not, Akron has a sort of 3-5-3 alignment that's supposed to
take advantage of the D's speed and athleticism, but it didn't happen
last year. The coaching staff won't allow for another disaster.
The team will be far better if … it can find one thing
defensively it can do well. Last year, the defense didn't stop the run,
and when it did, teams bombed away. When the D slowed down the pass, it
didn't do anything against the run. Wisconsin plowed away for 404 yards,
Ball State threw for 300, Buffalo ran for 224 yards, and Toledo threw
for 277. The defense was doing something new wrong on a weekly basis,
and now it has to start coming up with more big plays and it has to give
the offense more of a chance.
The Schedule: The
team might be good and the coaching staff might be great, but the Zips
don't get many favors from the schedule in MAC play, not only do they
have to play Central Michigan and Northern Illinois, arguably the West's
two best teams, but both games are on the road. In division play, they
have to go to Buffalo to face the defending MAC champion. The
non-conference slate, outside of the paycheck loss at Penn State on
opening day, isn't that bad with Morgan State opening up the new
stadium, Indiana at home to follow, and a midseason road trip to
Syracuse. The key will be the October three-game road stretch of at
Buffalo, at Syracuse, and at Northern Illinois. If they can get through
that, they get three home games in the final four including the final
three on Friday nights.
Best Offensive Player:
Senior QB Chris Jacquemain. He throws too many interceptions, he hasn't
pulled out enough tight wins, and he's not much of a runner, but he has
a good command of the offense, is a steady producer, and he should put
together a monster of a senior campaign. He has a great line in front of
him, a loaded receiving corps, and Walt Harris tutoring him. Don't be
stunned if he makes a sleeper push for All-MAC honors even with Central
Michigan's Dan LeFevour and Western Michigan's Tim Hiller still in the
Best Defensive Player:
Junior LB Mike Thomas. In
the Bandit, Thomas is able to roam around and to a little bit of
everything. He might only be 5-10 and 215 pounds, but he's a huge hitter
making 81 tackles, and he's solid at getting into the backfield with 8.5
tackles for loss.
Key player to a successful season:
Senior DT Ryan Bain. The transfer from Iowa crushed and killed
everything in his path in offseason practices last year, but he was
knocked out for the year. Now he's trying to recover from a back injury
to be the run stuffing anchor the defense so desperately needs. If he's
not right, there might be some major scrambling for the second year in a
row to generate consistent production against the run.
The season will be a
success if ... the Zips win the MAC East. They aren't better
than the top teams in the West, but they're strong enough to get to the
title game out of the weaker division. The key might be simply staying
healthy after 16 key players missed time this spring. If they're not
crushed by the injury bug, this could be a special season.
Key game: Sept. 26 at Central Michigan. It's the MAC
opener and it's against the league's best team. This is a huge statement
game that would set the tone for the year, and it send the team's
confidence sky high with an off week to follow and a homecoming date
with Ohio after. If they're good enough to beat the Chippewas in Mount
Pleasant, they'll be good enough to beat anyone left on the slate.
2008 Fun Stats:
- Fumbles: Opponents 26 (lost 17) - Akron 12 (lost 6)
Opponents 17 for 106 yards - Akron 11 for 57 yards
- Akron 3rd
quarter scoring: 42 - Akron 4th quarter scoring: 120.