“Handicapping the Zips football team this season is more difficult than any other in recent history. So many questions surround the team because they are unproven at virtually every position. The Zips look especially thin in the secondary. Two cornerbacks went on to the NFL in Reggie Corner (Buffalo Bills) and Davanzo Tate, who was invited to the New York Giants camp but ultimately didn’t make the roster.””
Handicapping the Zips football team this season is more difficult than any other in recent history.
So many questions surround the team because they are unproven at virtually every position.
The Zips look especially thin in the secondary.
Two cornerbacks went on to the NFL in Reggie Corner (Buffalo Bills) and Davanzo Tate, who was invited to the New York Giants camp but ultimately didn’t make the roster. Both smothered receivers the last two years and left an enormous hole in the defensive backfield.
Also gone from the secondary is strong safety Chevin Pace and more irreplaceably, John Mackey, the rover and linchpin of the defense the last two years.
Corner, Tate and Pace started every game last season and Mackey played in nine games, starting seven, despite tearing his ACL, MCL and meniscus in the same knee.
Head coach J.D. Brookhart moved All-MAC Second Team running back Bryan Williams to cornerback this season to help.
He said Williams’ natural position is at cornerback but he hasn’t played the position since the 2006 season, when he played at Valley Forge Military Academy.
The Zips also lost two defensive linemen and one line backer, but those losses are more replaceable. Ryan Bain, a transfer from Iowa, will start and be an upgrade at nose guard, if he’s healthy. Almondo Sewell, though somewhat under the radar, had a fantastic season as a true freshman when he recorded 65 tackles, 14 for losses and three of which were sacks. The questions on offense are different.
There seems to be talent at the wide receiver position, but, again they’re unproven at the Division I level.
Jeremy Bruce, a transfer from West Virginia, only had limited time at receiver during his two years as a Mountaineer and junior college transfers Deryn Bowser (Los Angeles Harbor College) and Dashan Miller (Bakersfield College in California) are big and talented, but haven’t been tested.
Alphonso Owen, the Zips leading returning pass catcher has looked good in training camp, but only caught 14 passes last season.
And Chris Jacquemain, the starting quarterback, didn’t have a productive season last year, but was hindered because of the position battle with Carlton Jackson and because he was a first-year starter last season. He only got around 65 percent of the snaps last season, which makes it his first season: part two.
And these are the starters.
Which leaves the Zips depth in question. If the top three wide receivers are unproven, then what happens if they get injured?
Both lines especially seem thin. The Zips best defensive back hasn’t played the position in over a year.
There is some talent there and the running back corps looks dangerous, with three backs- Dennis Kennedy, Andre Johnson, a transfer from the University of Miami (Florida), and Alex Allen- who could, and will, do damage against any team in the conference.
The offensive line lost only one starter from last season also.
The unproven players may in fact pan out. There is talent, but it will take time for Brookhart to sort it out and get everyone in the right position.
The lack of depth on defense will ultimately cost the Zips this season.
The Zips are improved over last season, but not much. Look for one more win and a 5-7 season.