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Podcast: Zips rebound

By mrasor Published: October 24, 2006


In this episode of the Buchtelite podcast, we talk about what we liked from the Akron-Miami game. One topic was Dennis Kennedy's steamrolling of the RedHawks.

Download podcast_12.5.mp3

My column talks about the Zips coaching staff, which has healed the team's major sicknesses...

The Zips of old returned Saturday.

Linebackers tied a mobile quarterback's feet to cinderblocks.

Running back Dennis Kennedy returned to his normal self, bashing into tacklers rather than avoiding contact.

The offensive line built a shield around Luke Getsy - and not one made of toilet paper this time.

The Zips are back.

Thank the coaches. They made the obvious changes necessary to win. In losses to Kent State and Cincinnati, the opposing quarterback led his team in rushing. This time, Miami's Mike Kokal ran for only 1 yard on 16 carries.

During those previous games, Getsy was starting to feel like his predecessor Charlie Frye, who is scheduled for a weekly brain scrambling with the Cleveland Browns.

Getsy remained vertical the entire game, not being sacked once. Heck, the Zips' offensive line only allowed a total of five tackles for loss.

Part of that can be attributed to a healthy Kennedy, who reminded the RedHawks he's still one of the Mid-American Conference's best backs. He ran for 129 yards and scored two touchdowns.

If that wasn't enough, the Zips coaching staff also threw in some bonus goodies, such as tallying six sacks. That gave Akron's defensive backs a chance to defend their receivers for a shorter time.

"It always starts up front," senior cornerback Reggie Corner said. "They took a lot of pressure off the corners and safeties."

Two weeks ago, I gave coach J.D. Brookhart's staff a grade of C- because the team failed to make adjustments and consistently offer an effective game plan. After reviewing the most recent assignment, a B seems more appropriate.

"We made the adjustments we needed to make," Brookhart said at his Monday news conference. "Was it clean? No."

I agree.

Place-kicker Jon McClain missed two extra points, one of which was extended by a celebration penalty after a touchdown.

That makes five missed extra points on the year, making the team 63 percent successful on a play where any error is unforeseeable and unforgivable.

I asked Brookhart if it might be time to consider a two-point conversion on a more regular basis. His answer was an unequivocal no.

"I'm frustrated with it, obviously," Brookhart said. "We've got to give it some leeway."

McClain, who plays on Akron's soccer team, "just defended Bowing Green's soccer team 24 hours ago."

I understand that. McClain certainly has had the craziest life of any Akron athlete in a while. So I don't blame him, nor do I really fault secondary kicker Matt Domonkos, who can't seem to find his groove outside of the practice field.

Still, the coaches must adjust for this. Although a two-point conversion strategy certainly is not advantageous, Akron should consider it. I believe the Zips could match its 63 percent success rate in going for two, rather than one.

With reliable targets at tight end, wide receiver and an effective running back, the Zips have more options to earn two yards than any other team in the MAC.

Regardless of whether the coaching staff sees this as feasible, I'm pleased to announce, the Zips are back.

Cross country

The Zips, coming off a win at the Falcon Invitational, are preparing for the MAC Championships this weekend.

The Buchtelite's Josh Volchko wrote about men's coach Joe Klim, the husband of swimming coach Nittaya Klim.

Men's soccer

The Zips will finish their non-conference schedule today at UNC-Greensboro.

The bigger game, however, is Friday at home against Buffalo. A win would give the Zips a share of the MAC regular season title.

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