Team preview: Akron

The Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook previews the 2007 Akron Zips, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: July 17, 2007, 3:28 PM ET
Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook
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(All information as of June 20, 2007)

COACH AND PROGRAM

After two straight winning seasons and their first MAC championship, the Zips took a slight step backward last year with a 5-7 mark.

It was hardly a lost year, though, for a program that's had quite a few of them before J.D. Brookhart arrived in December 2003. "You are growing a program and it's tough to do in a few years -- it's a process," said Brookhart, who might have spoiled fans early with a MAC title and a first-ever bowl trip in 2005. "I think part of it is we got a little famous before we got good."

The building process continued in 2006, even though the Zips were home for the holidays after dropping their final two regular-season games. Conference losses to Ohio and Western Michigan cost the team a chance at a winning record or, at worst, .500.

The biggest accomplishment of the season was upsetting NC State on the road 20-17 the second week of the season, marking the program's first win over a major Division I-A school. University officials were certainly pleased with Brookhart's efforts -- not just last season, but since he arrived -- and rewarded him with a five-year contract extension in mid-November.

Now Brookhart looks to return the favor this fall with a veteran defense leading the charge. But the Zips need to find a quarterback to replace Luke Getsy and his 2,662 passing yards, settle the David Harvey situation and improve their special teams if they hope to be in the thick of things once again. "They have high expectations," said Brookhart, who returns eight defensive starters and five on offense.

Even without Getsy back, the offense has some solid building blocks with junior tailback Dennis Kennedy coming off a season that left him just shy of 1,000 yards. He will have competition in the backfield, too, with Alex Allen back healthy and the arrival of junior Bryan Williams.