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University of Akron Zips blog

Rasor's Edge cuts too close

By mrasor Published: October 18, 2005

Football


I've heard that the football team is a bit upset with my recent Buchtelite column. That doesn't make me happy. But it's part of journalism. Players should take note that all columnists criticize from time to time. If you don't criticize where necessary, readers won't take your compliments seriously. And if they read my past columns, they will see that it's been 95 percent positive.


That's not to say that there's a quota on negativity. It's just that every team has its faults. If you lose the game for your team, you are fair game for criticism.


However, in college, players aren't being paid millions. Considering that, as long as the players are showing effort and playing with their heads, I haven't and won't hammer on them.


That said, here is the ever-controversial Rasor's Edge...

I have never been more ashamed to be a Zips football fan.


Forget the box score. I don't care so much that Akron lost by 28. Miami is a good team. A 28-point loss to the RedHawks is not outrageous.


We also gave up 580 yards of offense. To me, that is relatively unimportant as well. It's pitiful, but not heartbreaking.


So what am I so upset about?


Akron played like an undisciplined squad of thugs. Half of its 12 penalties were football related. The other six consisted of four personal fouls, an unsportsmanlike conduct and a flagarant clipping penalty.


Parris McNeal, Brandon Anderson, Andy Wills, Jason Montgomery and Tim Crouch each let their emotions get the best of them. And it cost Akron 80 yards of penalization.


I never thought I would say the Zips should have less disdain for Miami, who knocked Akron out of the postseason and is the school of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. However, their passion cost Akron the game.


Now you, the critically thinking sports fan, asks, How can 80 yards of penalties be the difference in a 28-point game.


The first personal foul by McNeal, a junior defensive back, put Miami in field-goal position to end the first half. That is three free points.


The second by Anderson, a freshman defensive back, sent the RedHawks into Akron's redzone. Miami scored a touchdown three plays later.


The other penalties affected field position in a game where Akron was within a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.


Officials flagged Akron seven times in the second half. Five of those penalties were completely avoidable if the players had a better grasp on their emotions.


Sure, it was troubling to see Akron allow Miami to move the ball a quarter-mile. It was much more troubling to see the game slip away because of a lack of discipline.


Or that's how it appeared.


But I know that's not true. I've seen almost every game during the J.D. Brookhart era, home and away. I have watched them practice next to Schrank Hall. I see the players on campus. They are great representatives for the football program.


But Saturday's performance should be unacceptable. I can imagine Army Coach Bobby Ross' scouting report for his game against Akron this week. His boys from West Point may be 0-6, but future military officers should be able to coax several penalties out of these hot-headed Zips.


Army may be winless, but the team isn't talent-less. Last week, the Black Knights played close in a 38-17 loss to No. 25 Texas Christian University.


A 15-yard penalty or two could easily be the difference between an Akron win or Army upset.


But look for Brookhart, who is reigning Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, to get the team's emotions back in check.


It's his turn to step it up.

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