The situation: Akron's quarterback situation has always been fairly stable. Ever since Charlie Frye won the job his freshman year, Zips fans could count on a proven entity. Even two years ago, when Luke Getsy and Jabari Arthur battled for the position, the prevailing thought was that converting the latter to wide receiver would serve more team needs. Getsy, also, was a BCS recruit who nearly won the starting job at Pitt.
Three signal callers are in play this fall. They are sophomores Carlton Jackson and Chris Jacquemain and freshman Sean Hakes. Although Jackson finished last season as No. 2 behind Getsy, Zips coaches publicly say it's a wide-open job, and it almost certainly will come down to performance during preseason camp, which begins Monday.
The question: Which quarterback fits best into the Zips offensive philosophy?
Discussion: From what I can tell, the talent is not that much different. There are different skills, however. Each player possesses running ability, but in different ways. Jackson is a speedster. Jacquemain has the field vision. Hakes is more physical and doesn't mind trucking over a tackler.
Each can throw the ball, too, but in different ways. Jackson has a strong arm and showed off his deep ball in his only pass last season. Jacquemain appears to be a great fit for a team with a lot of possession receivers. Hakes likes to throw on the run. But like I said, the real question is which quarterback fits in best with the team's strategy, which is to run the ball and rely on the pass defense to keep the game close.
Now you have to factor in an inexperience offensive line. Due to a lack of healthy quarterbacks and a more pressing concern to better the run blocking, J.D. Brookhart focused on moving the ball on the ground during the spring. It appears the line will be able to block at least adequately for Dennis Kennedy and Alex Allen.
The line's progression at pass blocking, however, may very well sway the coaching staff from one quarterback to another. Here's what I'm talking about ... Jackson needs a good line. At only 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, he could be one solid sack from an injury. That isn't so important for Hakes, who is more in the mold of Frye. He will scramble and looks less brittle than Jackson. Jacquemain is strong, too, but prefers pocket passing.
There's also another objective for the Zips' quarterback: Don't screw up. The offense's job isn't to put up 40 points and 400 yards passing. It's to let the running game dominate, but also keep the defense from stacking the box. Hakes has shown a propensity for screw ups. His competition has done a little better, but the preseason practices should wipe the slate clean.
Lastly, look at the other personnel on offense. Without David Harvey, there are few, if any, deep threats. That takes away from Jackson's game.
Prediction: The coaches will use all of these factors to make the decision. The main factor, though, is how the quarterbacks play the next few weeks. Jackson has done nothing to take away his status as the leader at the end of last season. Given the personnel, it might make more sense to have a durable, mistake-free quarterback. If the pass protection falters, that probably works into Hakes' favor.
I'm embarassed to say I have flip-flopped on this for awhile. I went from Jackson to Hakes to Jacquemain to Jackson again. What do you think?