The Zips will begin their 2009 season in style.
J.D. Brookhart will gather his team for its first practice on Thursday morning -- on Summa Field. The field is still a hard-hat area, but that's OK, because football players wear helmets.
Here are five questions I will attempt to answer as I watch the team in the coming weeks...
1) Is there a question at quarterback?
Matt Rodgers has nipped at
Chris Jacquemain's heels, but never really proven that he deserves the job -- or maybe it's just that Jacquemain has never been bad enough to lose it. This season means so much to the program that you have to believe Brookhart will give Rodgers a shot if it's appropriate.
2) Is this the year that Akron builds a dominant defensive line? It sure appears so. The Zips are so deep and talented at defensive line that it looks like a can't-miss strength. The fall practices will show how soon we will see dividends.
3) Will someone step up at running back?
Alex Allen is back for what seems like his eighth year on campus. If he is healthy, he is the No. 1.
Dale Martin is another force (if he's healthy). Then you have the high-ceiling freshman
DeVoe Torrence. You want to say that the position is taken care of, but if the dice turn up snake eyes, it would really hamper an exciting offense.
4) How thin is the secondary? The very nature of college football is that player turnover leaves a team with a few problem areas each year. This is the story of Akron's secondary. The Zips' starters have experience and talent. Defensive coordinator
Jim Fleming must rely on some young players to play second string and fill in after injuries.
5) What will the offense look like under Shane Montgomery and Walt Harris? The Zips have a Dream Team coaching staff. But how will they work together? Will they install their own style, or will they feed off of the current personnel's strength?