Call it an introduction to the University of Akron football program as led by new coach Tom Arth.
Just don’t call it a spring game.
The Zips will participate in a Spring Showcase at noon Saturday at InfoCision Stadium. It will not be a typical spring game. There will be no score kept and it won’t include four designated quarters. That’s a deliberate choice and makes sense given the Zips have been working on system installation throughout the spring.
In other words, it’s play the down, repeat. Run the drill, repeat. The true heavy lifting won’t come until fall camp when the team has had time to digest more of the playbook.
“What our fans will have an opportunity to see is how we practice, just the operation, the tempo practice, the competitiveness of practice,” said Arth, who was hired in December when former coach Terry Bowden was let go. “They’re going to get a chance to see a lot of different situational work, which is really important to our team and our program’s development.”
Although the Zips will scrimmage on a limited basis, Arth said he doesn’t view it as a priority. What are the priorities? Attention to detail in drills. Proper technique. Fundamentals. Given this is his first spring session at the helm, that makes sense, pragmatically speaking.
“My opinion is we only have 15 days in the spring, and there’s just too much that we have to teach,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “There’s too much we need to improve on, too many things we need to work on to devote an entire practice to just scrimmaging and playing a game.”
That, however, doesn’t change the usual activity surrounding the event.
The athletics department will once again host the family-friendly Zips Fest from 10 to 11:45 a.m. at the Stile Athletics Field House. Inflatables will be available to entertain children.
Gates 1 and 2 to the stadium open at 10:30 a.m. and a sale of surplus athletic gear will be held on the main concourse. Admission and parking are free.
The Zips softball team will host Ohio in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday with a tailgate party — free for the first 200 fans — beginning at 2 p.m., according to a news release from the school.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByGeorgeThomas.