“Unless you are a college football nut, you probably know nothing about spring football. Spring football? You mean the arena league? No, actually the NCAA allows each team to practice 15 days in March and April. If you pay attention to spring football, you’ll get an idea of how the team will look in the fall.””
Unless you are a college football nut, you probably know nothing about spring football.
Spring football? You mean the arena league?
No, actually the NCAA allows each team to practice 15 days in March and April. If you pay attention to spring football, you’ll get an idea of how the team will look in the fall. I spent a few days last week watching the Zips.
Allow me to break down the important battles that will begin to sort themselves out between now and the Blue-Gold Scrimmage on April 15.
Quarterback – Luke Getsy is gone with hopes of landing on an NFL roster. Three underclassmen will battle to replace him: freshman Sean Hakes and sophomores Carlton Jackson and Chris Jacquemain.
It’s possible I’m too optimistic, but Jackson and Hakes are two of the most talented quarterbacks on Mid-American Conference rosters. Jackson could be a Michael Vick clone. He loves running with the ball, and coach J.D. Brookhart raves about his ability to make tacklers miss in the open field.
Jackson played sparingly last season as Getsy’s backup. He threw two passes. One was a 40-yard perfect strike that forced the defender to interfere. His talent screams of pro potential. However, Brookhart kept him out of a game last season because of off-the-field issues.
As I wrote when the Zips recruited Hakes, the Texas native possesses skills similar to Charlie Frye. He is an elusive scrambler who excels in throwing on the run. My jaw nearly dropped watching highlight videos of him in high school. His problem so far has been weeding out the occasional interception.
Running back – Dennis Kennedy is the incumbent starter, and he played well through injuries last season. So why is there a battle? Brookhart has recruited a smorgasbord of talent behind him. The coaching staff will need a solid No. 2 back to take some of the burden off Kennedy.
Junior Alex Allen truly impressed the Zips fanbase before suffering a torn knee ligament last season. He is still working his way back from that injury.
Andre Walker, a senior, filled in nicely during Kennedy’s shoulder injury last season. He has shown incredible quickness and cutting ability during the first few practices this spring.
Aaris Reed, a redshirt freshman, has great potential. And although he won’t participate in spring drills, newcomers Bryan Williams and Ryan Brinson certainly have the ability to climb the depth chart in the fall.
Kicker – So far, I’ve talked about two positions where Akron has a good problem: divvying playing time among several talented players. The kicking game is a little different.
If you remember, the Zips struggled to convert extra points last season. Brookhart had to sift through the men’s soccer team for a kicker to take over for starter Matt Domonkos.
Domonkos, a senior, is back, but he will have to play very well to retain the starting job. Brookhart, who has taken special teams responsibility upon himself, now may insert freshman Igor Ivejic, a top-10 recruit nationally at kicker.
Once Iveljic recovers full from a back injury, it should be interesting to see if he can win the job and bring stability to that position.
The Zips suffered through a disappointing season in 2006. So far, this team looks much better.