Akron Zips 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
2015 Record 8-5
Akron Zips 2016 Preview
Terry Bowden led the Akron Zips to their first ever Bowl win in 2015 but can he do it again with a vast amount of experience gone?
Overview: I thought Akron made a good hire four years ago in Terry Bowden and then went through periods where I thought it wasn’t going to work out. With so much of the talent gone from last season’s success the question is whether we are looking at another long rebuild.
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Offense: The first thing we notice with the Akron Zips is the offense is lacking at 24 points in 2015. When injuries and poor play at quarterback the Zips settled on Thomas Woodson under center but his 2,200 passing yards on less then 53% and 16/11 TD/INT ratio were not earth shattering but he was a quality runner (124-677) and is the top runner back. JoJo Natson comes over from Utah State and ran for over 600 yards two years ago but the ground game needs options with UA losing Connor Hundley and Donnell Alexander and over 1,400 yards to graduation but Ohio State transfer Warren Bell looks to make an impact. Natson did total over 500 yards in receptions for the Aggies and the Zips return Jerome Lane (39-782) and Mykel Traylor-Bennett who missed 2014 with injury so the passing attack might be okay. The O-Line is a question mark as it’s almost completely wiped out.
Defense: Akron was fantastic at stopping the run but the only significant pieces coming back are defensive ends Se’Von Pittman and Jamal Marcus who combined for 19.5 TFL and 8.5 sacks but this unit will need production on the interior. The top three Akron linebackers are also gone taking 230+ tackles, 37 TFL and 16 sacks and six FF with them with the next four bringing back 28.5 tackles. Safety Zach Guiser recorded a pair of interceptions and defended five passes to lead the secondary but the Zips have a decent blend of players that proved capable in 2015 and will see expanded rolls with three of the top six graduating.
Special Teams: Akron must find a punter, kicker and placekicker which has to be something of a worry. Van Edwards Jr. was sure handed in kick returns while AJ Coney averaged 4.3 yards on 17 punt returns. Even though the return game wasn’t great it might be a strength if kickers are not found especially with Natson taking over punt return duties.
Outlook: This Akron team could be good or bad but we don’t know what we’ll have until they strap on the helmets. Something tells me Bowden knew much of his production would be gone and he has a plan but I don’t know if the 2015 reserves are good enough across the board to make a big impact.
9/10 @ Wisconsin
9/17 @ Marshall
9/24 Appalachian State
10/1 @ Kent State
10/8 Miami (OH)
10/15 Western Michigan
10/22 @ Ball State
10/27 @ Buffalo
11/9 Bowling Green
11/22 @ Ohio