Bringing the University of Akron along has been a process whereby coach Terry Bowden didn’t start by putting a lot of pressure on his Zips.
He gave the players the benefit of the doubt for inexperience early on. He took note that the team plays hard on every down. But he’s starting to see the real reasons for why they have won just once in six games.
Last week against Ohio, a slow start, which included an interception just outside the red zone at the 25-yard line, handicapped the Zips’ chances to upset the undefeated Bobcats.
It has happened to the Zips on more than one occasion this season as turnovers, be they in the red zone — where they’ve had three occurrences — or while driving.
“We’re not settling back and saying let’s run the draw and kick a field goal. A little of that is still being aggressive and going after points,” Bowden said. “We haven’t kicked a field goal in two games because we’ve been going after touchdowns — a little bit of that is there.”
Although turnovers are to be expected with an offense as aggressive as Bowden’s no-huddle spread, they can be minimized with better decision-making, the coach said.
Something that was largely passed over in the Zips’ loss was the effort of running back Jawon Chisholm, who continues to show exactly why he’s the team’s best option at running back.
He carried the ball 27 times for 177 yards and caught three passes for 55 yards in the loss. On the season Chisholm, a junior, has amassed 675 yards in seven games and appears to get better as the season goes along.
Early on, it appeared that Bowden would run his offense with a committee of running backs — the reason being that he had several backs who brought different skills to the field.
Chisholm has shown that he’s the best option when it comes to power, but he doesn’t possess the speed of teammate Quentin Hines. But he’s got just enough.
Chisholm gives running backs coach Trent Boykin the credit for the success as he’s made the transition from an I-formation back to one in the spread. Under Boykin, Chisholm said that he’s still learning.
“I haven’t reached my peak yet,” he said.
Right now, Chisholm has a fan in Bowden, who calls him a workhorse.
“When we have the number of runs over 15 yards from him, those change field position and give the offense a whole new dimension,” he said. “You can use the 50-, 60- or 70-yard run. I’ll take those any day, but we just have to make those happen when we can make them happen.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.