The season is upon us, ladies and gentlemen. In two short days, you will be able to watch your Akron Zips tremble before the might of the Ohio State Buckeyes on national television. Dare I suggest we see the first major upset of the year with this game? A boy can dream, right?
Let's kick this season off with a preview of...
It can't possibly get worse than last year, can it? Out of 120 teams, the Zips ranked 108th in passing offense, 101st in rushing offense, and 118th in points scored. Yeesh.
This year we have a serious quarterback battle on our hands, folks.
1) Patrick Nicely, a junior, and last year's starter. He struggled under Rob Ianello's new pro-style offense, completing only 49.4% of his passes for 1,753 yards, 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. See those horrible offensive rankings up above? This guy was a huge part of those. Through the first half of the season, Nicely showed everything but the promise of his freshman year. He rarely threw the ball well downfield, and consistently scrambled straight into a defender. Closer to the end of the year, however, he started to look a little more comfortable.
2) Clayton Moore, a JUCO sophomore, originally signed to Ole Miss. He looked a lot more composed than Nicely in the Spring game, but that's hardly a suitable method of identifying who the better quarterback will be.
3) Zach D'Orazio, a freshman that looked equally impressive in the Spring game.
We will likely see Broderick Alexander carry the ball early on in the season as the only returning running back. His statistics weren't very pretty in 2009 (59 carries at 3.4 yards per carry) and he missed all of 2010 with an Achilles injury. Freshman Jawon Chisholm will almost certainly see some carries as well this year. He ran 14 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the Spring game.
You probably just heard me sigh. Jeremy LaFrance is gone. Jalil Carter is gone. We're left with Antoine Russell (13 REC, 221 YDS, TD), Richard Hall (16 REC, 149 YDS, TD), and a whole bunch of nothing else. Whoever grabs the quarterback spot this year is going to need some serious help.
Jake Anderson and Zac Kasparek return to lead a not-as-terrible-as-every-other-position offensive line. Unfortunately, injuries throughout the Spring have left the rest of the offensive line very thin.