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Amato cries about non-qualifiers

By mrasor Published: September 12, 2006


The real reason why the Zips beat the Wolfpack, according to the latter's coach, is that the former accepts non-qualifiers.

Said bluntly, Chuck Amato accused Akron of using dumb players to win.

Forget that Akron's graduation rate is 10 percent better than NC State's. Amato needs to better than this if he wants to keep his job. That excuse is awful.

Props to Mack Rhoades for declining to respond to such a petty insult.

Not surprisingly, Amato also questions the validity of Akron's game-winning score.

Here are some football stories from today's Buchtelite...

  • Our reporters went to NC State and Penn State. They brought back 10 ways Zips fans can use to improve at the stadium.

  • The offensive line has allowed Dennis Kennedy and Luke Getsy to put up good numbers. On the flip side, the penalties and sacks have been too high.

  • Getsy's performance could lead to UA earning scholarship money from Pontiac.

  • Here's a reminder about the Buchtelite's Podcast. You can download it from by clicking the orange box on the left rail. There is also a link on the post below this.

  • This diary by Zips reporter Amanda Pecota from the NC State-Akron game is also exclusive to Pecota will report back from each away game this season for the Buchtelite.

  • My column gives the real reason why Akron is good: J.D. Brookhart. I will post it below...

With a difficult decision looming, Zips fans wondered whether Akron coach J.D. Brookhart would go for the win Saturday against NC State.

If they knew his history, it would be an obvious answer.

This is a guy who left a six-figure salary in sales in 1995 for a non-paying job with the Denver Broncos. Picture this: A top national salesman for Xerox begs Mike Shanahan to have a chance as an errand boy. After repeated pleading, Shanahan agreed to give him a chance at training camp.

Once he entered the football industry, Brookhart's job wasn't to analyze John Elway's efficiency or discuss new ways to use Rod Smith. Brookhart was pleased to be the team lackey. Filling cars with gas and fetching soft drinks meant he could sit in on coaches meetings and soak in all the details of the West Coast offense, which he would later implement at Akron.

In the next decade, Brookhart's work ethic and cunning ingenuity took him to the University of Pittsburgh, and that job led to a head coaching assignment at the University of Akron. (His career path makes me wonder what industry he can't achieve an annual salary above $100,000.)

Brookhart's decision-making led his Zips to victory Saturday. Akron's coach relied on his running back to win the game with a 1-yard touchdown run.

After Dennis Kennedy received the handoff, it looked as if NC State's ferocious defensive line would tackle him in the backfield. Then fullback Joe McDaniel laid a crucial block on a defender that allowed Kennedy to slice into the endzone.

With that play, Akron made national headlines, winning 20-17.

Why did Brookhart go for it? Well, the kicking game had been shaky. A field goal was no guarantee. Also, NC State's offense had looked unstoppable, which would have given the Wolfpack an edge in overtime. Those are just peripheral reasons, though.

Brookhart went for it because he understands Akron's football history. He realizes the Zips have fallen just short many years. Brookhart grasps the fact that Akron is sometimes an afterthought in Northeast Ohio because of the success of that university in Columbus. All things considered, Brookhart knew "playing for overtime" is unacceptable when the Zips were one yard away from the biggest nonconference win in school history.

All this shows why J.D. Brookhart is one of the nation's smartest college football coaches. When he arrived at Akron, he hoped to compete for a conference championship by year four. He coached the Mid-American Conference champions by year two.

His recruiting classes are better than those of many Big Ten teams. His revolutionary offensive and defensive schemes have allowed Akron to adapt to the sometimes-ignored truths of MAC football: Passing is prevalent and solid defensive linemen are hard to recruit.

But Brookhart's greatness may have a downside. In the offseason, the 41-year-old will be one of the hottest prospects for a bigger school's head coaching vacancy.

And he might accept it. Not because he dislikes Akron. It would be a new challenge for a guy who has never backed down from one. Bigger schools also can multiply his $145,600 UA salary several times.

But forget all that for now. Let's treasure what Akron has this season: A poised, athletic team and a great coach who promises always to go for it.

  • If you liked my column, Terry Pluto (ironically) wrote a similar one for today's ABJ.

  • Here is an ABJ editorial that says the best story from the weekend was the Zips upset (and that includes Ohio State beating Texas). So you know, that means the editorial board cares about Akron football.

Women's soccer

Here is a pretty good Buchtelite story about the Zips, who have outscored opponents 9-0 this season en route to a 5-0 record.

p.s. Akron only won eight games last year.

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