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Akron: Report Card and Thoughts

Quarterback:

Grade (B+): Once UB had something resembling a running game Maynard had a pretty nice day. He loses points for the interceptions, neither of which were caused by exceptional defense from the zips (He telegraphed the screen and threw the ball terribly deep down field). The best thing seen out of Maynard today were a few impressive runs, it's really what Buffalo fans have been hoping to see out of him all year.

Homework: Film Study, you have to know where that safety is before you lob one 40 yards down field across your body on the run. Your arm is strong enough, we all know that, but its not going to matter going that deep into double coverage. Also you have to spread the ball around a bit more, Jessie Rack had *one* throw go his way.

Running Backs:

Grade (C+): For a few minutes in the third quarter we had a running game, it was enough to keep Akron honest the rest of the night but that effort won't fly against WMU this coming week. I have not seen anything on the status of Nduka or Thermilus for next week but if it is going to be Henry then, from what we saw on Saturday, the option is going to be key and Maynard will have to be a ground threat.

Homework: Figure out how to run without Nduka, if necessary.

Wide Receivers:

Grade (A-): There is not a pass that Brett Hamlin can not catch, I'm convinced he has been working with some of the Chem-E majors on a new form of stick'em. One or two dropped passes aside from Hamlin's magic but the drop by NR in the first half was more than made up for by two touchdowns and a key reception that set up the go ahead touchdown.

Homework: Use Brett's stick'em. Maybe attack the ball on screen rather than sitting back and letting a bad throw be picked off.

Offensive Line:

Grade (B+): Have to give them a good grade considering just what a beat up unit they are, and despite the injuries Maynard had decent time in the pocket pretty much the whole game. No real push when we were running, especially in the middle, but they did manage a forceful enough ground game to make the Zips honor it in the second half.

Homework: Stay healthy, I think if we take one or two more injuries we will see true blue members walking on to take their place on the lines.

Coaching:

Grade (B): Overcame a lot of injuries, they have been piling up on the line over the weeks but to lose your #1 and #2 backs early and *still* put up 21 points is acceptable coaching. I was slightly miffed to see UB not try one shot down the field late in the first half (to get within AJ's range) but given the play before was nearly a disaster I can understand.

Homework: Try to find a way to open up some space for Henry if he gets the call. Without a Running Game UB's offense is too easy to stop.

Defensive Line:

Grade (B): Not a bad job, the zips moved the ball more than I would have liked to have seen (they had a respectable running game against us) but Steven Means making two sacks, and a couple of other huge pressure plays was giant. For the first time Since Trevor Scott graduated we seem to have a real pass rushing threat (and he is only a freshman).

Homework: Wrap up the running backs on first contact, everyone loves to see a guy get flattened but I am pretty sure I'd rather see him tackled on first contact 4/5 times than see him crushed 1/5 times (with the other four times being several yards after first contact).

Line Backers:

Grade (B-): Tackling was pretty poor today, in fact its been a little spotty all season. Every unit on defense is doing it (hitting without wrapping) but it seems way more systemic among the linebackers.

Homework: Tackling drills

Defensive Backs:

Grade (A-): Two Picks, hard hitting and some of the better tackling they have done all year. We did get away with a little questionable contact and their receivers were on the verge of beating us deep a few times.

Homework: Turn to the ball rather than run through the receiver, the refs were *very* forgiving tonight.

Defensive Coaching:

Grade(B+): Other than the last Akron position the defense made the Zips fight for every yard, they faced numerous short fields, and many red zone situations but only gave up 17 points. Great effort.

Homework: Take the play book pages with the 'Prevent Defense' and burn them, burn them now... It nearly killed us against UTEP and Akron and it Did kill us against UCF.

Special Teams:

Grade (C+): 3/3 on special points, how bad is it that we celebrate such an accomplishment. But Buffalo's problems punting the ball, 31 yard average, and ability to scare the crap out of me on every kickoff keeps them from getting a B.

Homework: Fardon *has to* get consistent...

Overall:

Grade (B): This is a game we should have won much more comfortably, but considering the injuries absorbed a win, is a win, is a win. If we ignore tiebreakers this team is *exactly* where it was at this time last year (3-4, 1-2). Nice home win (for all 13K people there to see it), great way to carry on the momentum started against Gardner Webb.

Homework: With WMU coming up the #1 priority has to be making sure the D-Line is at their best, #2 has to be making sure that UB has a credible running game.