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University of Akron Zips blog

The morning after

By mrasor Published: September 20, 2009

The grades...
Quarterback -- It's hard to defend a player who throws four picks. But for his first game, Matt Rodgers showed a strong arm and ability to make a great throw. To tell the whole story, however, Rodgers was up and down, but mostly down. I was hoping for more scrambling, which is Rodgers' strength at this point in his career. The poor blocking and tipped passes made him look worse than he should have. The real reason for a failing grade here is Chris Jacquemain, whose unexplained suspension had to put a shock into Akron's offense. It forced Rodgers into his first career start, in a week he presumably didn't take the first-string snaps in practice. Rumors about why Jacquemain was suspended are all over the board. I won't speculate here, but if the cause is serious enough to take him off the field in a game of this importance, is he worthy of leading the offense? Grade: F
Wide receiver -- There were some dropped passes, but Deryn Bowser had another big game. I really think the Zips need a second threat at receiver. You can't rely on Jeremy LaFrance to be a No. 2 receiver in his first year. We have seen enough from Dashan Miller to know he is not a No. 2 receiver. Jeremy Bruce has not been consistent enough. I hate to say it, but Andre Jones needs to move back. Grade: B-
Running back -- The Zips need one of their five running backs to emerge as the leader. Giving them all equal snaps will stall that. Because the run blocking is so shoddy, I don't know the emergence of one back will happen, period. The lack of running production put the Zips in third-and-long situations, and the Zips were 1-for-7 on third down. You can't win games doing that. Grade: D
Offensive line -- Was Chris Kemme really that valuable to Akron's line? What is wrong with this group? Indiana sacked Rodgers three times, but Greg Middleton and Jammie Kirlew were in his kitchen all day. Last year, they barely had to wash Jacquemain's jersey. Plus, on Saturday the Zips could not sustain a drive through running the ball. Last year, it seemed like anyone who touched the ball would flirt with a 200-yard game. Somebody has to snap these guys into gear. Grade: D-
Defensive line -- Almondo Sewell blocked a field goal and made four tackles. But all three of Indiana's running backs got about whatever they wanted. Chappell never felt even a breeze of pressure. Grade: C
Linebacker -- It's clear the Zips have great talent at linebacker. Now answer me this: How could the defense log only one tackle for loss, zero sacks and zero quarterback hurries. The three-man front necessitates an aggressive blitzing strategy. Brian Wagner still forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and made 12 tackles (eight solo). The Zips have five play-making linebackers. Let's see them put in positions to make the other quarterback uncomfortable. Grade: B
Secondary -- Ben Chappell completed 18-of-28 passes. It seemed like he had all day to find his desired receiver. In addition, Akron was giving Indiana receivers huge cushions after the snap. They were basically giving away eight or 15 yards per play. Akron really should have forced Chappell to throw downfield. Aside from some tackling gaffes, the individual members of secondary weren't bad. It was a passive strategy that held them from being more effective. Grade: C
Special teams -- The opening return for a touchdown was rough, but the unit made up for it with Jalil Carter's blocked punt that turned into an Aaron Williams touchdown. And I already mentioned Sewell's block. We saw Zack Campbell get an opportunity to punt, and he did well. Igor Iveljic was this week's kicker, but he was not tested with only three extra-point attempts. Grade: C+
Coaching -- The Rodgers offense must be different from the Jacquemain offense. Until Rodgers finds a comfort level, the coaches should focus on short passes and quarterback draws with the occasional deep strike. I think Rodgers showed he has the arm strength to make deep throws, but calling for these passes early is too much to ask. I do applaud J.D. Brookhart for suspending Jacquemain -- assuming the punishment fit the offense. I sincerely hope that the length of Jacquemain's suspension is not dependent on Rodgers' play. That's a great way to lose respect of the team and the fans. ... SOMETHING must be done about the offensive line's funk. ... Only three games into the season, Akron has plenty of time to fix its shortcomings. Was Saturday disappointing? Of course. Will it affect the MAC season? It doesn't need to. Grade: B
Men's soccer
Akron remained perfect with a 4-0 win over St. Louis today at Lee Jackson Field.
Akron took first in the weekend tournament. Zips sophomore Michael Nanchoff was Offensive MVP and true freshman Zarek Valentin earned Defensive MVP honors.
Akron opens MAC play on Saturday at 7:30 at home against Bowling Green.

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