Akron began its search for a quarterback with -- surprise -- another nagging injury.
Sean Hakes sat out this time with a tweaked back. He should return tomorrow, but J.D. Brookhart said he still plans to whittle his quarterback stable to two by the end of the week.
Tons of notes:
Al-Teric Balaam, the talented sophomore linebacker, will not be eligible to play this season. "I think we're in pretty good shape for everyone else," Brookhart said.
Most Zips fans have shown concern about freshmen not qualifying academically directly out of high school. Only two unnamed players fall into that category this season. One should be eligible come January. (Here's hoping Akron plays this January)
All three kickers will get reps this fall to determine the starter.
Igor Iveljic did not quite run away with the job during the spring, so
Matt Domonkos still has a chance.
John Stec remains the starting punter.
As for the true freshmen,
Jalil Carter and
Gary Pride impressed Brookhart today. Carter is 6-foot-1 with a vertical leap of 11 feet. He is playing cornerback. (Can't we at least
try him at wide receiver?)
From my observations, no quarterback stood out.
Carlton Jackson was nearly picked off on one play. The next play,
Yamari Dixon hauled one in for the defense. The team played without pads today. Still, it was obvious Jackson has some blazing speed and good moves that will cause defenders to miss tackles in the open field.
Chris Jacquemain was equally unimpressive.
Davanzo Tate picked him off on a terrible throw.
Matt Rodgers was somewhere between horrible and overmatched. The true freshman quarterback, wearing
Charlie Frye's No. 5 jersey, threw several ill-advised passes and couldn't get rid of the ball before taking a sack on a few occasions. (I ask that Frye's detractors hold their tongue.)
Surprisingly, the defense was able to lay solid pressure on the quarterback. That's good news, but the passers certainly didn't get any help from a depleted wide receiving corps.
Jabari Arthur is back and looks good. He is a real physical specimen. The senior is confident that his fellow receivers can fill in for
David Harvey and
Jermaine Lindsey. "The guys who are going to step up you haven't really heard of in the past," Arthur said. Brookhart mentioned
Stephon Fuqua and
Marcus Patterson as players with an opportunity to make plays.
Junior tight end
Brian Flaherty seems to have a real niche on the team. He is able to find the seams in the defense and pick up chunks of yards. Look for him to make some important catches this year.
Alex Allen is 100 percent. Those are my words, not the team doctor's. After seeing him bust a 60-yard run off left tackle today, you'd probably agree. If there has been an Akron running back with his combination of size and speed, I haven't seen him.