They’re just little pokes and jabs here and there from the University of Akron football coaching staff.
“There’s the spy,” one jokes.
“Don’t be giving up any of our secrets,” another says.
The barbs are aimed in the direction of junior tight end and Archbishop Hoban product Will Fleming as he leaves the practice field. He takes them with the humor with which they were meant, smiling as he leaves the field.
Fleming’s father, Jim, returns to Akron this week as the defensive coordinator for Central Florida, which will face the Zips in their season opener at 7 p.m. Thursday at InfoCision Stadium.
“I wouldn’t say it’s weird but it’s obviously a strange circumstance,” Fleming said after Saturday afternoon’s practice.
The last time this happened — when Jim Fleming coached at Kent State — the younger Fleming had been redshirted because of an injury.
This time, Will Fleming might actually get to exploit his father’s defense.
“This year I’ll actually get to play in the game,” said Fleming, who is listed as the No. 1 fullback and a backup tight end.
However, Fleming won’t go into the game with any distinct advantages, because, just like his father, he won’t have familiarity with new coach Terry Bowden’s version of the spread offense.
“In our relationship in general, we’re not always talking about X’s and O’s,” Fleming said of his father. “When I talk to him, it’s not hard to not talk ... about football.”
Slow start, big finish
For some fans, the UA men’s soccer team held them on the edge of their seats for a bit too long during Friday’s game against Florida Gulf Coast at FirstEnergy Stadium. Though they had their share of opportunities, the Zips held just a 1-0 lead at the half and didn’t really get much in the way of breathing room until the 57th minute, when Eric Stevenson found Thomas Schmitt for a goal to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Coach Caleb Porter said that two things occurred after halftime: The Zips went with a different system of play after the break, but more importantly, he made some personnel changes to give the team a spark.
Junior Aodhan Quinn scored the team’s third goal on an assist from DeAndre Yedlin in the 63rd minute, giving the team even more of a cushion. Inserting Quinn into the lineup along with junior transfer Steve Derschang settled the team down, Porter said.
“Some of the new guys didn’t play bad, but they are certainly capable of much more. The more experienced players showed they know what it’s about,” Porter said.
College Soccer News named Stevenson a member of the national team of the week after he scored one goal and assisted on another against Florida Gulf Coast.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.