Here are some thoughts that have come to me since Saturday's beatdown...
My opinion is that Akron played hard, they didn't quit, and the game never really got embarrassing. In the past two seasons, I have been embarrassed to be a Zips fan on numerous occasions. But the team never did that against the No. 18 team in the country, with 105,000 fans cheering against them. If we get blasted like that against Temple, it will be different. But Ohio Stadium is an intimidating place, and there's no shame in losing big. Let's not forget that Ohio State is a favorite to win one of college football's strongest conferences, and Akron, well, might not have gone .500 in Division I-AA last year.
I was impressed with Clayton Moore. I only became more of a fan during his press conference. He talks like a leader, he acts like a leader, and I really think he's going to make a fine quarterback that will eventually get Rob Ianello through the roughest part of his tenure.
And yes, I do believe Ianello will be here a long time. This is a guy who is willing to reassess himself. He is principled. The players, not once, lost hope in what he was doing last year. Unfortunately for Ianello, he has rubbed a lot of vested fans the wrong way. It will take a MAC Championship appearance to heal those wounds. In the mean time, I'm willing to be very patient for his plan to play out. There can be no serious discussion of firing a coach until after the third year, save for a scandal. As a fan, you can choose to be bitter and secretly root for the team to be so bad that Ianello is fired prematurely, or you can root for success. Your choice.
Temple is next. I hope Zips fans are realistic. The Owls have BCS talent across their roster. Running back Bernard Pierce is back to his prior form. It's another uneven matchup in which Akron will be competitive only if everything goes right. In this week of practice, the Zips absolutely must improve on run blocking so that the team can move the ball.
On a personal note, I would have loved to be tailgating and enjoying this game as a fan. I'm happy for the Zips fans that got that opportunity in such a great college football atmosphere. Here's hoping that campus will be an enjoyable place for barbeque and beer next Saturday afternoon.
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