Defensive tackle Jared Ceccetti could return from his broken foot to start at Ohio State, depending on how he looks tomorrow.
Coaches expected him to miss five to six weeks after his injury, which occurred Aug. 20. Coming back by Sept. 8 would mean he recovered in three weeks.
His return will push Eric Lively back to nose guard. Wallace Pendleton will lose his starting job.
On the subject of the defensive line, J.D. Brookhart was pleased with his backups. Mitchell Magloire, Shawn Lemon and Viktor Rajek each provided "quality snaps."
Rajek is particularly an interesting person. As you may have known, he was on the Slovakian bobsled team at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Listening to Brookhart, it's clear Rajek absolutely loves American football. He got his first taste in Oklahoma as part of an exchange program. Upon seeing a locker with his name on it, Rajek wept.
He began his career at Akron as a wide receiver, but the coaches moved him to defensive end. The athleticism of the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Slovak is what makes coaches drool most. Rajek has spent countless time studying the nuances of his new position, but Brookhart suggested he won't be prepared to start until he adds some weight.
Notes from the press conference...
Reggie Corner won MAC East Defensive Player of the Week.
Lawrence Wilson, Ohio State's defensive end from St. Vincent/St. Mary's who broke his leg against Youngstown State. The Zips coach said Wilson is a great person. "I felt horrible for him," he said.
The blocked punt on Saturday was the result of two errors. First,
John Stec was late in getting the punt off. Second, and probably more important, a lineman executed an "ole" block, that allowed an Army defender to sneak through the protection.
I originally reported that
Shane Shead got some playing time along the defensive line. Brookhart said that was incorrect, despite that the final stats indicate Shead registered a tackle.
Almondo Sewell, Lemon and
Jalil Carter (special teams) were the only true freshmen to play.
Brookhart was pleased with his offensive line, which allowed only one sack and missed few blocking assignments. He was upset about the offense's inability to cash in on field position. "We can't leave those points on the board next week," he said.
If you paid close attention, Akron usually assembled its formation with 15 seconds remaining on the play clock. It is a no-huddle offense, but not necessarily a hurry-up scheme. Rather, it gives the team a chance to check the defensive formation and have 15 seconds to adjust. "It looked like they (Army) hadn't prepared for it," Brookhart said.
Speaking of preparation, Akron will bring in a sound system one day this week to acclimate the players to the noise at Ohio Stadium. The team did it last year before games at Penn State and NC State. (I wonder if they had a soundtrack of
Chuck Amato's whining.)
In the press conference,
David Lee Morgan compared
Chris Jacquemain to
Craig Krenzel. I think that's the ideal quarterback scenario for this team. Watching Jacquemain Saturday, it's possible he could be the un-flashy, don't-screw-up sort of passer that won the Buckeyes a national championship in 2002.
Regarding Appalachian State's victory over Michigan, Brookhart said upsets "are great for everybody, but we feel like we can play with everybody. We have to play very well to be in this ballgame."
Brookhart really likes Ohio State's defense. Why? "6-5, 280 and 4.6," the coach said, referring to the incredible size and speed throughout
Jim Tressel's depth chart.
Akron's tight ends were not a factor Saturday.
Merce Poindexter was the only one to catch a pass (one reception for one yard). Brookhart attributed this to Army's defense, which clogged the middle of the field and forced passes to the sidelines. It doesn't help that
Kris Kasparek dropped two passes. As one of you posted in my comments section, Kasparek has NFL size and is a great blocker. But when will he start hauling in these passes?
Along the offensive line, Brookhart praised the play of
Corey Woods and
Zack Anderson in particular.
The last (and only) time Akron beat Ohio State,
John Heisman served as the Zips' quarterback and head coach.
Brookhart discussed how his players are excited for this Saturday, as many of them aspired to wear scarlet and grey as youths. But he put the game in perspective by saying a win doesn't even guarantee the team anything. "In the end, we care about the MAC games."
The coach is not a fan of how Northeast Ohio is Buckeyes territory. The headlines and front porches of greater Akron prove that. I attended a kegger last night (it was lovely) and some fans started the "OH-IO" chant. A bunch of Zips fans stood up to them and started the "AK-Rowdy" chant. I got in one UA student's face, telling him he can go back to being a Buckeyes fan next week. Some people are such jackasses.
In the aftermath of
assault on Army's
Kyle Bates, the Zips' sophomore defensive back has earned the nickname "Amin Ka-boom." Creative.
Although I forgot to confirm this with Brookhart, two sources have told me
David Harvey is back in classes. He would need to be academically eligible next spring in order to play in 2008. I will reserve my excitement until I see him in camp.
A lot of fans think the Zips laid an egg on Saturday, but they got off the hook because Army is so awful. I disagree. This game never was competitive. Akron lacked the killer instinct to run up the score. Consider it this way, the Zips covered the spread, which means they played better than experts thought. (Patting myself on the back for three cliches in one paragraph.)
With a tie against Binghamton and win over St. Francis (Pa.), Akron
the Westfield Cup.
The team will travel to St. Bonaventure for a game Friday.