College Football Preview: The 2015 Akron Zips
Akron Zips Preview
2014 Record: 5-7
Terry Bowden is hoping to lead the Akron Zips to the postseason for the first time in ten seasons in his 4th year at the helm.
Overview: The Akron Zips have shown improvement in each of the three seasons under Terry Bowden but can the team take the next step? If a few holes on both sides of the ball can be filled then this could be the year we hear from the Zips.
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Offense: Bowden has options at quarterback with Kyle Pohl (2,189 yards) and Thomas Woodson (806 yards) back from 2014. However he has four star Pitt transfer Tra’Von Chapman and three star recruit Chandler Kincade at his disposal so we will see. The Zips were a two headed rushing team but with one head gone in Jawon Chisholm, Connor Hundley (105-540) and Colorado transfer Donnell Alexander (71-428) the backfield should produce. The Zips spread the ball around in the air so the losses of Zach D’Orazio and LT Smith could be absorbed by Andrew Pratt, Fransohn Bickley and Mykel Traylor-Bennett and some new faces. Four O-Lineman are back so the potential for improvement for this pass happy attack is good.
Defense: The defensive line lost Nordly Capi and Nmesoma Okafor who combined for 17.5 TFL and 9.5 sacks with the rest of the team accounting for 5.5 sacks so this pair will be missed. However, Akron plays everybody and now some of their transfers and highly ranked recruits get their chance. The linebacking unit also loses some faces but Jatavis Brown is back with a team high 81.5 tackles with 14.5 TFL including four sacks. Again transfers and returning players offset departures. Akron does need help at safety but they have some talent their albeit unproven Corners Kris Givens and DeAndre Scott are solid but a lack of depth is a worry.
Special Teams: Punter Zach Paul averaged 42.5 yards on 66 boots and Robert Stein was 13-16 on field goals so the kicking duties are set. The Zips need a kick returner and Imani Davis was adequate on punt returns with a 4.2 yard average on 18 returns and will likely take over kick returns.
Outlook: The Zips have questions at receiver and the secondary lost some talent so there are worries despite having plenty of options. Their schedule says Akron has a shot at a Bowl but I have to see it because I saw an erratic team from Saturday to Saturday in 2014 and if that is evened out then they do have a chance but do they become consistent?