Zips offense in a hurry

“When the Zips football team takes the field for the first time in the 2007 season against Army, the Zips’ offense will have a new look. This year’s squad is without a few key players: two-year starting quarterback Luke Getsy, left tackle Tim Crouch, left guard Mike Donaldson, center Andy Wills, right guard Andy Alleman and Freshman All-American wide receiver David Harvey, the team-leader in touchdowns scored.”

When the Zips football team takes the field for the first time in the 2007 season against Army, the Zips’ offense will have a new look.

This year’s squad is without a few key players: two-year starting quarterback Luke Getsy, left tackle Tim Crouch, left guard Mike Donaldson, center Andy Wills, right guard Andy Alleman and Freshman All-American wide receiver David Harvey, the team-leader in touchdowns scored.

The two quarterbacks vying for the starting nod in preseason camp – redshirt sophomore Carlton Jackson, and redshirt sophomore Chris Jacquemain – and the young corps of receivers looking to fill the void left by Harvey, have a different set of skills than their predecessors.

The Zips coaching staff evaluated the team’s personnel during the offseason and designed an offensive scheme to match the team’s strengths, UA’s offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead said.

We have a talented offensive line that needs game experience, said Moorhead, who also serves as the quarterback coach. We have great depth at running back and tight end, and we will find ways to get them the ball. Jabari Arthur gives us a big target with experience and the ability to break open a game.

The running game is expected to be the focus of the offense, with returning starter Dennis Kennedy carrying the majority of the load, junior tailback Andre Walker and redshirt sophomore Alex Allen splitting time behind Kennedy.

The Zips also hope to use their starting quarterback’s mobility to add another dimension to their offensive attack.

We spread everyone out and take advantage of our speed, Jacquemain said. We look to get the ball in the hands of (our) playmakers. I ran the ball in high school a lot in a similar offense, and we will run the ball a lot this year because of our depth at running back.

Jackson also acknowledged that the new scheme will utilize the strengths of the team’s quarterbacks.

All of the quarterbacks have the capability to run and pass, and I think it suits all the quarterbacks, Jackson said. We are all capable of getting the job done.

Jackson described the new offensive style as up-tempo.

I think that’s going to keep defenses on their heels, the Florida native said. As long as the guys move fast and get to the ball after every snap, I think everything’s going to move (fluidly). I think this will be more effective by keeping the same defense on the field and moving at a faster pace.

Moorhead said that the offense’s youthfulness has been apparent throughout summer practices, but that he has seen the players giving maximum effort and learning during each outing.

The effort is there. We just need to get consistent in our execution, Moorhead said.

Moorhead also said that he has been pleased with the progress made by the three quarterbacks, and that although their inexperience has been evident, they have all shown the ability to make plays.

Perhaps the biggest position battle other than who will be the Zips’ signal caller when the season opens at Cleveland Browns Stadium Sept. 1, is which young receivers will step up and contribute immediately alongside senior wideout Jabari Arthur. Along with Harvey, receivers Jermaine Lindsey and Johnny Long, who were reserves in 2006, are no longer with the team.

While acknowledging that there is some uncertainty at the position, Moorhead said that the young receivers have worked hard and will likely surprise those not close to the program.

I think the receivers, other than Jabari, have looked at the situation as a challenge, Moorhead said. They have stepped up and I feel they will be much better than any preconceived perceptions outsiders have put upon them.

I am very confident in that group.

Amid all the pressure that comes with learning a new offensive scheme and being locked in a tight position battle with two of his teammates, Jacquemain is able to enjoy the experience and recognize the opportunities that this season will bring.

This is the most exciting football season of my life, Jacquemain said. We get to open at Browns Stadium, play at Ohio State and I have the opportunity to be the starting quarterback.


” #1.1361933:1032411848.jpg:offense.jpg:Redshirt sophomore Chris Jacquemain is one of three quarterbacks looking for a chance to run the Zips new no-huddle offense.:Mike Piero / The Buchtelite”
“#1.1361932:4250748536.jpg:Arthur.jpg:Redshirt sophomore Chris Jacquemain is one of three quarterbacks looking for a chance to run the Zips new no-huddle offense.:Mike Piero / The Buchtelite”