“The University of Akron football team will open the 2009 season in hostile territory when they take on the 8th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday. The Zips will make their fourth trip ever to Happy Valley and are prepared for the boisterous 107,000-seated Beaver Stadium.””
The University of Akron football team will open the 2009 season in hostile territory when they take on the 8th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday.
The Zips will make their fourth trip ever to Happy Valley and are prepared for the boisterous 107,000-seated Beaver Stadium.
We’ve pumped the speakers, and practice has been somewhat annoying, but I think you’re better prepared by doing that, Zips Head Coach J.D. Brookhart said. Composure-wise, everybody’s hyped up the first couple of plays and then their habits are revealed.
Our goal is to produce the habits we want under similar conditions.
Last season, Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions came up one win short of being Rose Bowl Champions.
PSU is returning five starters on the offensive side of the ball – none more important than quarterback Daryll Clark and running back Evan Royster.
Last season, Clark, a senior, threw for 2,592 yards with a ratio of 19 touchdowns to only six interceptions. On the ground, Clark rushed for 282 yards with 10 touchdowns.
Royster, a junior, rushed for 1,236 yards with 12 touchdowns and had 155 yards of receiving.
Brookhart said, The quarterback-running back combination is pretty impressive, and really the battery of center, quarterback and running back are all big time players.
One thing that’s different with them is that they may have lost three speed receivers, but you look at the size of these guys. I’m sure they’ll adjust some things and adapt some schemes to expose the height advantage that they will have.
Zips’ junior defensive lineman Almondo Sewell and junior linebacker Mike Thomas will lead a young Zips defense against the explosive combination of Clark and Royster.
We have added a lot of depth at a number of positions on the defense that I feel good about, and we have very good speed on defense, Brookhart said. We have some young kids out there, but athletically and competitively I like them.
On the Penn State defensive side of the ball, the Nittany Lions will be returning five starters from the 2008 squad.
When you look at the whole front seven defensively, that’s a solid group, Brookhart said.
The solid Nittany Lion front seven will have to cope with the loss of defensive end Aaron Maybin, who was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the NFL Draft last April, but Brookhart said he believes it will be a strength for PSU this season.
I know their front seven is strong and physical, but all five of us (the offensive line) are strong and physical, Zips senior offensive lineman Zack Anderson said. We all put our pants on the same way, one leg at a time; we all bleed the same way.
Anderson is one of four returning starters to an offensive line that will play a factor in the performance of Zips senior quarterback Chris Jacquemain.
The defensive line is their strength on defense, and, really, their entire front seven, Jacquemain said. Hopefully, we can handle them up front, and I have confidence that we can.
Jacquemain should also be confident in the assortment of wide receiver weapons he has at his disposal. The receiving corps is led by seniors Deryn Bowser and Andre Jones.
Last season, Bowser had 64 receptions for 785 yards and four touchdowns, while Jones had 47 receptions for 678 yards and seven touchdowns.
I have all my receivers back, and they’re all upper classmen, so I’ve been with them a few years, Jacquemain said. I’m on the same page with them.
Jacquemain will also have options at the running back position with senior Alex Allen commanding most of the workload.
Last season, Allen was plagued with a hip injury but still managed to rush for 152 yards with three touchdowns.
Senior Joe Tuzze should also see snaps in backfield for the Zips.
Tuzze is one of 17 UA players from Pennsylvania, and he said he is excited to play in Happy Valley.
You had to be a Penn State fan, Tuzze said. That’s all people talk about. They bleed blue and white out there. It would be fun to knock them off.
Tuzze and the Zips will look to knock off Penn State this Saturday at Beaver Stadium at noon.