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Buchtelite's spring football coverage

By mrasor Published: April 17, 2006


We Buchtelite editors decided it would be pretty worthless to write about what happened in the Blue-Gold Scrimmage.

I mean, come on, who cares how many tackles so-and-so had? Or who cares that the Gold team won?

Instead, we have features on Dennis Kennedy and Jabari Arthur. I wrote my column on the outlook for next season.

  • Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead says Arthur has taken a better understanding of defenses with his perspective as a quarterback and receiver. The story also talks about how the Motor City Bowl may have altered Arthur's career by motivating him during the winter. As a junior, Arthur has even emerged as a leader for the younger receivers.

  • The Kennedy feature talks about the competition for the starting running back job and how the backs actually rooted for each other throughout the spring. It also talks about his path from Ohio State to Akron. Coach J.D. Brookhart even gives some insight as to why Kennedy might be the MAC's best runner next season.

  • My column probably will be the worst read in the sports section for hard-core Zips fans. I just wanted to tell UA students that they better get ready for a dominant team next season. I will post it below, but here is the link if you prefer to check out the Buchtelite's lovely Web site.

How good was last season's football team?

It is a question people ask me often.

And it is hard to answer. The high-scoring offense kept the team in most games, but the defense often gave up huge amounts of rushing yards.

Face it: The Zips were incredibly lucky to be in the Mid-American Conference Championship. They won obscure tiebreakers against superior teams, Miami and Bowling Green.

Bowling Green quarterback Omar Jacobs' shoulder injury was the only reason Akron was in that position. Jacobs was the conference's most talented player last year.

When the Zips played at Bowling Green, Jacobs sat out. Two weeks later, when Miami played Bowling Green, the conference's best player led the Falcons to a huge win.

Long story short, Akron won the MAC, but had plenty of luck.

This year will be much different.

Akron shouldn't need any luck to make it to Detroit this time.

Not since the 1999 Cleveland Indians has a Northeast Ohio team been in position to dominate their division like the Zips will in 2006.

Akron lost only six of its starters from last year. Sure, three of last year's seniors may be NFL prospects in Domenik Hixon, Brett Biggs and Jay Rohr. However, the added experience of the returning starters and the talent of the incoming freshmen will greatly overcome those losses.

Perhaps the biggest addition, literally, is Rutgers transfer defensive tackle Nate Robinson. He is 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds.

Coming out of high school, scouting agencies ranked Robinson as a top-10 prospect, nationally, regardless of position.

Robinson will join seniors Kiki Gonzalez and Jermaine Reid, who led the team in sacks in 2005. Those three will make up one of the nation's elite defensive lines. You won't see a running back scamper for over 150 yards next season, like they did five times in 2005.

The entire offensive line also returns. Before last season, this was the biggest question. This spring, it is one of the greatest certainties.

Despite losing Biggs, one of the nation's best running backs in 2005, the offensive backfield also will be terrific.

In Saturday's Blue-Gold Scrimmage, Dennis Kennedy showed he will be one of the MAC's elite backs as a sophomore. Behind Kennedy are three players who could start for many MAC teams - Alex Allen, Bryant McMillon and Frank Berchie.

The Zips are also set with returning starters at tight end, safety and cornerback.

At quarterback, senior Luke Getsy showed incredible poise and confidence in the spring game. Last season, he broke Charlie Frye's single-season school record for passing yards. He could easily break his own record this year.

But like any college football team in the spring, Akron still has some positions that need filled. Coach J.D. Brookhart needs to find a second receiver and middle linebacker.

That's where Brookhart's recruiting ability comes in. After bringing in three outstanding classes the past few winters, Brookhart will have several choices to fill those holes.

Most experts will choose the Zips to repeat as MAC champions next season. With a couple non-conference wins, the football team might even break the nation's top-25 for the first time in school history.

Despite that, Brookhart has trained his players to forget past success and disregard preseason praise. Each player will compete as if they are fighting for a roster spot.

That is why Zips fans shouldn't make plans for early December.

They will return to Detroit.

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