University of Akron football coach Terry Bowden sounds as if he’s very satisfied with his quarterback situation as the team prepares for No. 6 Penn State in their season opener. That’s not the usual with the Zips.

There is a lot of talent in general, but the fact that Thomas Woodson has returned after offseason shoulder surgery put Bowden’s mind at ease. With Woodson, who endured nine months of rehab to return, back as the starter, the quarterback situation is as planned.

“The other guys have done a great job,” Bowden said. “He’s just got five years with our offense, coach [A.J.] Milwee, and he just knows what to do better than the other guys.”

A three-year starter, Woodson didn’t receive the lion’s share of work in team scrimmages on Saturdays during fall camp, but Bowden is pleased by what he’s seen. If there is a concern, it might be that his timing with his receivers could be a bit off. Then again, maybe not.

“He’s really come on,” Bowden said during his first Tuesday news conference. “I don’t know if he’s as sharp as he was when we think back to before he got hurt. He seems to be there. He’s really throwing the ball well. There may be some getting back to where he was before.”

Behind Woodson is where the murkiness begins. The team currently lists redshirt freshman Kato Nelson as the backup with freshman Robbie Kelley and redshirt sophomore Nick Johns completing the list.

“I don’t think I’ve quite got the backup three penciled in quite how we want to do it,” said. “We’ve got three good players.”

It’s probable the team will use a redshirt on Kelley, who impressed during fall camp.

Protecting the corners

Like many battles during the course of the spring, spots for starting cornerback were well challenged, Bowden said. Kyron Brown and Darian Daily, both juniors, earned the starting jobs.

But Bowden said he expects Jordan George, who started at safety last year, and Denzel Butler, a redshirt sophomore who walked on from West Virginia Wesleyan, to also get significant playing time.

“Three of them could play the whole game in a nickel and dime package,” he said.

Moving up chart

Three players with local ties worked their way to the top of the depth chart at their respective positions. Defensive end Brian Reinke (Copley), linebackers Jamal Davis (Canton McKinley) and Nathan Bischof (St. Vincent-St. Mary) are all listed as starters against Penn State.

Bowden offered praise for all of them, but said that Bischof reminded him of a former Zips linebacker, Dylan Evans, who currently serves as a graduate assistant on his staff.

Bowden said he likes the smarts that Bischof shows at the position.

Chapman transitions

It’s difficult enough to change positions, but to actually earn a starting role after doing so is an impressive feat. Former quarterback and now wide receiver Tra’Von Chapman has earned that role in sets with four wide receivers. Bowden said that Chapman only gets better with each subsequent practice.

“He has a lot more insight into that position having played quarterback,” Bowden said.

Mr. Romantic

Who said that sports and romance cannot mix?

On Aug. 19, starting Zips safety Zach Guiser proposed to his girlfriend, Akron alumna Rachel Deglau, at the 50-yard line as family members looked on. Of course, she said yes.

Captains announced

Running back Warren Ball, safety Zach Guiser and wide receiver A.J. Coney were selected as captains for the season.

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Zips blog at www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ.