With a couple of days to digest what happened against in their 56-49 loss to the Miami RedHawks, the Akron Zips will concentrate on returning to fundamentals defensively and moving on from a disappointing loss.
Offensively the RedHawks racked up more than 700 yards against the Zips defense. In their past two games, the Zips have given up better than 1,300 yards of offense. Although some might argue that was to be expected against the Tennessee Volunteers, it can be argued that it should have been a different story against Miami as their quarterback Zac Dysert ran wild and completed passes at will.
“When everyone did what they were supposed to do from the standpoint of assignments and technique, everything looked like a million dollars,” assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Chuck Amato said.
The problem was that didn’t appear to happen too often. The defensive secondary often looked in disarray as they attempted to figure out what their assignments were. The result: RedHawks receivers were open for much of the afternoon.
“Yes, it's a concern. I've never been through something like this personally,” Amato said. “One thing that's not a concern to us is that our kids are playing really hard.”
Hindsight being 20-20, both Amato and Bowden said that they should have kept the defensive game plan simple. They knew Dysert was going to throw the ball, primarily because the RedHawks rushing game went into last Saturday’s game with a reputation for being anemic.
“I just we could have just lined up with something simpler and played football,” Bowden said.
It certainly didn’t help that they were without linebacker Justin March for the game. March, Amato said, sets the tone in practices and he is one of the defense’s leaders. But until he returns, they will need to do one thing.
“Go back to your fundamentals,” Amato said, go back to tackling, of your coverage, your intensity.”
Some would say intensity wasn’t the issue during Miami’s game-winning touchdown drive Saturday. Considering the Zips were flagged for two personal foul penalties to give the RedHawks a good hunk of the yardage they needed to score, the officials may have thought them too intense.
Bowden said during Saturday’s press conference that he would have to watch the game film to see if they would have to change team technique.
“I think we have to look and see how we can avoid getting penalties and just do a better job of tackling properly and doing a good job of that,” he said. “It's very close and a very fine line between what's a good hit and an impermissible tackle. We're just trying to evaluate and do the best job we can.”
That may be the case, but at least one of the personal foul calls was suspect as the offensive player lowered his helmet as the defender came in with his shoulder. Bowden and Amato acknowledge it’s a safety issue.
“If you're going to make the game safer why is one man allowed to duck his head?” Amato said. “The low man wins is what we teach. Why should anyone be allowed to do it?”