Fee Fi Foe Film: Akron Comment Count

Ace September 11th, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Akron has played one FBS opponent this season: UCF, a decent AAC (aka remnants of the Big East) team. They lost 38-7 and did not score until 42 seconds remained in the game, when Akron's backups were playing. The above happened in an actual Division I football game. Last week the Zips had to come back from a 13-0 hole to beat FCS James Madison, which was a two-point conversion away from tying the game late in the fourth.

Yeah, let's get this over with.


Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. In the plays I charted, Akron didn't go under center once.

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. Lots of inside zone, especially on first down.

Hurry it up or grind it out? Akron plays at a very high tempo; this at least means their possessions will be mercifully short.

Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): Kyle Pohl has ten carries for nine yards this season. 2.

Dangerman: When given a little bit of running room, tailback Jawon Chisholm looked pretty decent. Last year he rushed for nearly 1,000 yards on 5.3 ypc. In this game he toted the rock 11 times and netted... ten yards. The offensive line is not so good.

Zook Factor: Nothing too Zookian from Tommy Bowden unless you count the team's total ineptitude, in which case, high marks here.

HenneChart: I had a Hennechart question for Brian:

Me: if a guy throws an interception on a screen pass, does that get included in DSR?
Me: yes, that happened.
Brian: uh, no

Brian: Why are you DSRing Akron tho
Brian: would a picture of a butt be insufficient
Well... no, but here's a chart anyway. I stopped midway through the third quarter when my eyes started to bleed. Keep in mind that one of these throws—one!—went further than eight yards downfield in the air. Screens in parentheses.
Temple -- 8 (3) -- 1 2 (1) 3 -- -- 1 60%

Pohl completed 16 of his 21 passes for 98 yards (4.7 ypa, so he should transfer to State), threw a horrible interception on a screen pass, and avoided another interception by virtue of incompetence—he telegraphed an out route that a UCF cornerback jumped, but the pass sailed out of his reach. Hooray?

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]


Formation chart:

Formations Run Pass PA
Gun 13 11 1
I-Form -- -- --
Ace -- -- --
Pistol 2 2 3

Yeah, that's a spread offense. Here's the breakdown by down:

Down Run Pass PA
1st 8 5 3
2nd 6 4 --
3rd 2 7 --

As you can see, Akron attempted to establish the run on early downs; their ineffectiveness led to the need to pass a whole lot on third down. Several of those passes were essentially long handoffs; if I counted screens as runs, the split would be even more stark.

Breaking in a first year starter at quarterback, Bowden deigned to call for passes that even threatened downfield; the longest completion came on a 13-yard crossing route after UCF had gone into a deep shell on defense. Otherwise, everything was either a screen pass or a quick throw underneath. The offensive line actually did a pretty solid job in pass protection—they've only allowed two sacks all year—but Pohl struggled when pressure forced him to roll out; another near-pick came on one such occasion. None of the receivers stood out; nobody could make a defender miss after the catch, which is a problem as nearly all of their catches came within five yards of the line of scrimmage.

The running game was non-existent. Akron's two leading rushers in the game combined for two carries for nine yards in the first half; they tallied the rest of their combined 104 yards on 15 carries well after UCF stopped trying to defend the run entirely because they held a 24-0 halftime lead. Chisholm, the team's top back, couldn't find any space to operate. Let's go straight to an example of this.


Akron is down 21-0 and has a third-and-one on their own 34. They line up in the gun with Chisholm as the lone back. Sit back and watch the disaster unfold.

Here's the handoff; nobody is blocking the backside end, which is fine as long as this is an outside run to the right. Unfortunately, it's an inside zone:

UCF's middle linebacker is hanging back, waiting to make sure this isn't play-action. The backside DE is bearing down on Chisholm. It's hard to see here, but the left guard isn't blocking a soul because the tight end blocked down instead of taking the DE:

And then the center loses the DT entirely just as the right tackle allows his man to break into the backfield:

At this point, only the tight end has successfully managed to hold his block, and he's entirely irrelevant to the play:

Chisholm makes a desperation dive for... a four-yard loss:

Video if you like watching things burn:

If this team scores points against the first-team defense, Greg Mattison should make everyone run wind-sprints until they puke out the failure.


Base Set? 4-3

Man or zone coverage? Lots and lots of really terrible man coverage.

Pressure: GERG or Greg? Akron was pretty aggressive on first and second down, sending five or more rushers on seven different charted passes compared to six passes in which they sent four. On third down, however, they didn't blitz once. GERG'd it.

Dangerman: Do I have to? 6'3", 278-pound defensive tackle Nico Caponi slashed into the backfield on a few occasions; he has three TFLs this season, matching his output from all of 2012. This was the guy who stood out to me, and he spent plenty of time getting mashed on run plays.


Akron showed a very obvious blitz look on the game's very first snap:

This play nearly resulted in a sack/fumble by Caponi. UCF recovered. On the very next play, they played press man, rushed four, and allowed a 91-yard touchdown pass. This was the story of the game; when the Zips weren't getting a sack on an early down—which happened twice more before garbage time, including another one by Caponi—they were getting torched in man coverage. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles would've started the game 9/9 with three touchdowns and around 200 yards if his receivers didn't drop three wide-open passes, including one that would've resulted in six points.

When Akron didn't blitz, they couldn't generate any pressure, allowing Bortles to sit back and completely pick apart the defense—he finished the game 18/24 for 314 yards (13.1 ypa) and three TDs before George O'Leary mericifully pulled him midway through the second half.

UCF was content to throw and throw and throw. They still managed to rush for 157 yards before sacks are removed. I won't even bother figuring out their ypc with sacks taken out. What you need to know is that their starting defensive line goes 250-278-283-249 in terms of weight, and their biggest linebacker, MIKE Nick Rossi, weighs 230. Let's go to the play breakdown to get a sense of the true nature of the Akron rush defense.


No pictures necessary. Just look for the gaping chasm that opens up in the middle of the line, and UCF's running back going "nope, too easy" and bouncing it outside.

Michael Shaw is desperately seeking a way to get an extra game's worth of eligibility.

This is gonna be ugly.



September 11th, 2013 at 4:16 PM ^

Tire fires are still extremely dangerous.

What I'm trying to say is, don't inhale and try not to get too close, it's hot.

What I mean by that is please nobody get injured in a tire fire this weekend(!)

M Fanfare

September 11th, 2013 at 4:20 PM ^

Any chance that this is the quintessential letdown game? We just came off of a big (regional) rivalry game at night in an electric atmosphere with 115,000 in the house and broadcast nationally on ESPN. Now this is a BTN noon game against a crap team.

I can't help but think this will be one of those games we come out sluggish, win 24-6, and then spend next week freaking out because we didn't win by 70.

Maybe I still have too many mental scars from the Carr years...


September 11th, 2013 at 4:27 PM ^

Scarred from the Carr years -- yes.

In future years, it might be, but I don't see this team having any letdowns.  This team, like the previous two, seems really hungry.  I think that it is going to stay that way at least until they enjoy one or two seasons of success on a really large scale (i.e. wining the Big Ten and beating a good OSU team). 

El Jeffe

September 11th, 2013 at 4:20 PM ^

Anyone who crapped on Ace for making the Louis Nix video owes him (Ace) an apology.

MGoNomenclature question: can an FBS opponent be a baby seal, or just awful FCS ones?


September 11th, 2013 at 4:34 PM ^

I'll take the line on Michigan fans getting increasingly upset as Michigan does everything possible to establish the run as the WRs run untouched downfield on the few passing plays called. And then everyone realizes Michigan just won 52 - 6. Yes, Akron will score.


September 11th, 2013 at 5:03 PM ^

Keep in mind that one of these throws—one!—went further than eight yards downfield in the air.

A game where some of our LBs or DLs might get in on some interceptions?



September 11th, 2013 at 6:58 PM ^

.. This is the second time I've noticed you use "deign" when you really mean "decline" or "refuse":

"Bowden deigned to call for passes that even threatened downfield"

Says, more or less, "Bowden normally would not be caught dead throwing downfield, but did so here". Basically the opposite of what you actually mean.

Deign means "to condescend to", or sometimes "see fit". Usually applied to a person of class or authority doing something nominally beneath them, e.g. "All Borges would not deign to answer Heiko's request for more bubble screens".


September 11th, 2013 at 11:12 PM ^

Interesting stat.

Akron is winless all time against the B1G with a 0-17 record. 

Their best two efforts came against Ohio State.  Losing a 28-14 game in 2001 (Tressel's first year) and losing 20-2 in 2007.


September 12th, 2013 at 10:48 AM ^

I think you mean Bowden did not deign to call for passes that threatened downfield. To say he deigned to do it would be to say that he thinks downfield passes are distasteful but he called for them anyway. The longest downfield throw was 13 yards: it seems that his distaste for unleashing the dragon won out.