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University of Akron Zips blog

The morning after

By mrasor Published: November 29, 2008

A lot of people are calling for J.D. Brookhart to be fired. Not me.
On Sunday, I will give 10 reasons why it's best to keep him on. On Monday, I will provide season-long grades for every player on the roster. On Tuesday, I will forward to 2009.

    But for now, here are the grades...
    Quarterback -- Chris Jacquemain saved his worst for last. He was 20-for-39 with no touchdowns and three picks. Apparently, he had the flu. Still, it was a performance that exemplified the junior's troubles. Hopefully it motivates him to re-double his effort over the offseason and study the film of games where he struggled (and figure out how to prevent it from occurring again). Grade: D-
    Running back -- Dennis Kennedy rushed for 157 yards on 25 carries (6.1 ypc). He struggled in the first half, but compensated nicely. But for Jacquemain's errors, it would have been enough to make Akron bowl-eligible. Grade: A-
    Wide receiver -- When the quarterback plays so badly, it's hard to rate the receivers. No one's statistics were overwhelming. Conversely, I don't recall any dropped passes. Grade: C+
    Offensive line -- It was another day of protecting Jacquemain and plowing the path for Kennedy. Chris Kemme's penalty at the beginning of the third quarter led to Akron attempting a field goal (which was blocked), rather than moving the chains. But as a whole, it's hard to complain. Grade: B+
    Defensive line -- Joe Rash made five tackles (one for loss) and recovered a fumble. Eric Lively got a sack in his last game. Almondo Sewell played another solid game. It was one of Akron's best performances against the run. Then again, Temple is a poor running team. Grade: B
    Linebacker -- Kevin Grant had a sack and nine tackles. Mike Thomas forced a fumble and made seven tackles. Doug Williams and Aaron Williams were also productive. This unit perhaps deserves even more credit than the line for stopping Temple's running game. However, there were some instances of poor gap integrity that allowed Adam DiMichele to spring free for first downs by running. Grade: B
    Secondary -- Miguel Graham and Jalil Carter each picked off a pass. Graham also made eight tackles. Brandon Anderson broke up three passes, although he was called for a pass interference penalties that set up the Owls' first touchdown. Grade: B+
    Special teams -- For the second-straight week, this unit cost Akron a good amount of points. Igor Iveljic missed a field goal and (presumably) a bad hold led to another getting blocked. Bryan Williams touched a live blocked field goal, and Temple recovered it. The Owls scored a touchdown that drive. There is 13 points. Last week, it was even more. While special teams gave Akron a huge advantage early in the year because of Iveljic's accuracy and Williams' returning ability, it developed into a liability. I'd like to know why. Grade: D-
    Coaching -- The coaches knew Jacquemain was sick. They saw by halftime -- at the very latest -- that he was not able to perform adequately. So why in the wide world of sports didn't they insert Matt Rodgers? Not only would have Rodgers given Akron a better chance to win the game, playing him would have allowed coaches to assess what they have in the freshman and make a preliminary determination of whether he should get a chance in August to be the starter. Instead, a sickly Jacquemain led Akron to a discouraging defeat, and the 17 seniors have no opportunity to play in another bowl game... Again, I am shocked that Shawn Lemon did receive a substantial amount of playing time. With the ability he showed during the first 10 games, I have to assume someone has a personal bias against him. In fact, many of the irrational personnel decisions on defense over the years have led me to that conclusion. When deciding how to rearrange his defensive staff, Brookhart must start by examining whoever made the decision to bench Lemon.

Men's basketball
Football season can get so frustrating in November. Basketball can be a real breath of life.
Keith Dambrot's team will play Eastern Kentucky in New Jersey at 7 p.m. as part of the Legends Classic. Akron is a 6.5-point favorite.
Swingmen Mike Rose (21.8 ppg) and Papa Oppong (11.8) do most of the Colonels' scoring. Oppong, a 6-foot-4 guard, also likes to crash the boards (7.6 rpg). The Colonels' point guard Dayvon Ellis has an excellent 5-to-1.8 assist-turnover ratio.
This looks like an experienced, middle-of-the-road mid-major team. They lost by three at Florida International (who beat Toledo). They lost by 14 at Texas Tech.
Akron is a very young team. One thing you must remember about young teams is that they don't always make progress. Often, it is one step forward and two back. Tonight, if the Zips progress on both sides of the ball, they should win. If I had to bet on the game, however, I would take the Colonels and the points.
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