Akron's quarterbacks will learn from a man who coached in the Fiesta Bowl.
Walt Harris coached Pitt for 13 years, including six bowl games. J.D. Brookhart was an assistant for Harris before Brookhart came to Akron. Now their roles are reversed. Harris will coordinate the passing game and serve as quarterbacks coach for Brookhart.
More recently, Harris was head coach at Stanford, which fired him after an injury-ridden 1-11 season.
With Harris' connections to Pitt and Ohio State (former QB coach), he will be a major recruiting weapon, as well. Akron's solid stable of young quarterbacks will benefit from Harris' strong ability to groom quarterbacks.
He joins a loaded offensive staff that also includes former Miami coach Shane Montgomery, whose father confirmed the hiring. The school will announce it today, according to Montgomery's father.
For 40 minutes, Akron and Miami played to a deadlock on Jan. 10.
Akron relinquished a late lead and the momentum in the last minute of regulation. The RedHawks made 6-of-9 shots in overtime, while the Zips went 1-for-6. The disparity led to a 64-51 Miami win.
The teams have both succeeded since that meeting. Miami is 7-3. Akron is 8-3.
Both teams have an extra weapon who was not present on Jan. 10. The Zips tore the redshirt off Brett McClanahan, who has provided scoring in spurts. Miami received the services of sophomore swingman Antonio Ballard, who was out with a thumb injury. He has been a solid scorer and rebounder.
I expect Akron to be a six-point favorite.
Here is what I wrote about Miami before the first meeting.
Keith Dambrot said Ronnie Steward is "day-to-day," but he cannot practice consistently. Until he does, the coaches won't consider playing him. Steward has missed so many games, I think they need to forget it this season. Pursue a medical hardship waiver.
Elton Alexander chided Dambrot for whining about the "five-hour" trip to Indiana for Saturday's game against Valpo.
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