QB Charlie Frye

2002 Statistics

Coach: Lee Owens
33-56, 8 years
2002 Record: 4-8
at Iowa LOST 21-57
at Maryland LOST 14-44
at Virginia LOST 29-48
at Eastern Michigan LOST 34-42
at UCF LOST 17-28
at Ohio LOST 10-27
at Kent State WON 48-10

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

If the Zips hope to contend in the MAC Conference, they will need more of the same from an offense that accounted for a school-record 4,852 yards last season. The non-conference slate is the easiest Akron has seen in some time and it would not be surprising to see them jump out of the gate with a quick four wins in their first five games (Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Howard, Buffalo). At that junction, they need only win two more games to get to .500, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 2000.

Offense won't be a problem. The question will be whether or not the defense is capable of keeping the Zips in striking distance down the stretch. Tight ballgames favor a team with this much offensive firepower and an experienced QB. Even the remaining second half of the schedule is quite winnable, and possibly could put Akron is an unfamiliar position of at least jockeying for a shot as the MAC East title.

The upset of Marshall and a strong finish in 2002 more than likely saved Lee Owens' job. If the Zips come out of the gate slowly, this will spell absolute doom. Another poor start would pretty much signal the final days for Owens. He has his work cut out for him with a fairly young team and a young coaching staff. But with practically 100% of his offensive personnel returning, including an experienced backfield and some talent at the skill positions, the task of getting six wins becomes much more manageable. Don't look for Akron to be playing past mid-November (their last game versus Ohio on Nov. 15). At the same time, don't be surprised to see Akron zip to an eight win season with the schedule they posses.

Projected 2003 record: 5-7
LB Chase Blackburn
QB - 3.5 DL - 1
RB - 3 LB - 2.5
WR - 3 DB - 2
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Charlie Frye, 380-250-9, 2824 yds., 15 TD

Rushing: Bob Hendry, 208 att., 1021 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: Miquel Irvin, 53 rec., 535 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Billy Sullivan, 7-14 FG, 40-43 PAT, 61 pts.

Punting: Andy Jerdon, 46 punts, 40.3 avg.

Kicking: Billy Sullivan, 7-14 FG, 40-43 PAT, 61 pts.

Tackles: Chase Blackburn, 96 tot., 61 solo

Sacks: Chase Blackburn, 2 sacks

Interceptions: Rickey McKenzie, 2 for 22 yds.

Kickoff returns: Matt Carter, 36 ret., 24.1 avg.

Punt returns: Matt Cherry, 6 ret., 8.7 avg.


OFFENSE: Brandon Payne-RB
DEFENSE: Ryan Schultz-DT, Ryan Gargasz-DE, Ryan Myers-LB, Marcus Suber-SS, Corvin Amos-CB, Josh Hill-DE

written by Ronald Glover

Quarterback Charlie Frye has blazed a trail of greatness in Akron. He has the deadly combination of a strong, accurate arm and elusiveness that is rare in quarterbacks his size.

In addition to Frye, the Zips also produced 1,000-yard back Bob Hendry (4.9 yards per carry). Hendry has speed but also runs for power, with quickness when hitting the hole. He will be spelled by sophomore Thomas Plummer, who's just as explosive boasting a whopping 8.4 yards per. Reserves Jerrell Ringer and Ashanti Barbee provide excellent depth, both too with game-breaking speed. The fullback position gets a boost with returning junior Dan Basch , who spent last season as a redshirt and is possibly the best back on the team. In just two games, he rushed 20 times for 268 yards. And he has a career average of 6.2 yards a carry.

The Zips lose one of their most valuable receivers in tight end Nick Fortener, who played in all 12 games with four TD passes. But they remain with good hands in senior Mike Brake, a three-year letterman. There is a lack of experience in freshman Aaron Holdman, a converted LB, and senior linebacker Ryan Tennebar was added to the team this spring. There is another element to the firepower on this team - it comes in the form of speedy wide receivers Miguel Irvin and Matt Cherry (and others, too). Irvin, a Toledo transfer set the school single-season record for receptions with 53. Cherry, despite missing five games and parts of two others, still managed to finish second on the team in receiving yards (463) and receptions (35). Nick Sparks will get to showcase himself this season. The West Virginia transfer split snaps between QB and receiver in spring practices. Slash?

Their line is the main cog of this wheel. Starters LT Bryan Shaw, LG Aaron Conley, C Jim Borrieci RG Mike Piccirillo and RT Jud Cummins survived a season-opening stretch that included games against three bowl-bound teams. Playing against such competition can only make the unit better, and it did. Frye had thrown for 200 or more yards in his first six games, including three consecutive 300-yard games. The unit also helped by spearheading a ground attack that averaged 183 yards over the last 9 games. Expect more from a unit that averages 310 pounds and benches 460 pounds. This was the healthiest unit last season and probably the deepest.


RB Bobby Hendry


Returning Starters in bold
QB Charlie Frye-Jr Micah Faler-Sr
FB Dan Basch-Jr Ashanti Barbee-Sr
TB Bobby Hendry-Sr Thomas Plummer-So
WR Miquel Irvin-Sr Nick Sparks-Sr
WR Matt Cherry-Sr Morris Ellington-Jr
TE Mike Brake-Sr Aaron Holderman-Fr
OT Bryan Shaw-Sr Tim Crouch-Fr
OG Aaron Conley-Jr Aaron Feller-Jr
C Jim Borrieci-Jr Mike Grzeskowiak-Jr
OG Mike Piccirillo-Sr Mike Donaldson-Fr
OT Jud Cummins-Sr Justin Hein-So
K Billy Sullivan-So ..



written by Ronald Glover

Defensive Coordinator Joe Tresey looks to build on the success his unit had down the stretch last season. Despite youth and inexperience, the Zips defense gave up 16.8 points per over its final four games. After giving up an average of 260 yards in the first four, the defense locked down and gave up 121 yards per game during the last eight, including a season-low 34 yards against Buffalo. The high point came in a 34-20 upset of then-No.25 ranked Marshall, when the defense forced 9 TOs and catapulted the team into its late season surge.

Looking ahead, adjustments are in order as five starters will be replaced, two along the defensive line and two in the secondary (notably linebacker Ryan Meyers). However, the Zips do return two of their top three tacklers in OLB Chase Blackburn and MLB Diontre Earl. Senior Matt Robinson, who has excelled as a reserve and special teams player, and newcomer Jared Smith, a junior college transfer, will join them. Both are expected to see much play.

Along the line there are question marks due to lack of experience. Senior Defensive Tackle Marques Hayes returns as the leader on a very young line. Hayes' engine is always running full-throttle, allowing him to be a problem in the middle. Joining Hayes in the middle will be sophomore Andy Willis, a convert from the OL. Should he stumble, fellow 340- pound sophomore Antonio Shipp will definitely help clog things up. At defensive end junior Dwayne Lefall will continue his steady play.

The success of the defense hinges on the development of the secondary. Two starters return, one being Domenik Hixon, who as a true freshman last season was easily their best player and has added 30 pounds to his frame. Expect him to be better. Free safety John Fuller gets his chance as a full time starter. Rickey McKenzie is the top cornerback entering his senior season. He will be joined by Jesse Smith to form a formidable tandem. Montae Russell and Mike Brandon back them up. Reserves also include Jason Nedd and Greg Williams.


CB Rickey McKenzie


Returning Starters in bold
DE Dwayne LeFall-Jr Jermaine Reid-Fr
DT Andy Wills-So Antonio Shippy-So
DT Marques Hayes-Sr Bobby Gardner-Jr
DE Brian White-So Charlton Lewis-Jr
SLB Matt Robinson-Sr Jared Smith-Jr
MLB Diontre Earl-So Joe Radich-Jr
WLB Chase Blackburn-Jr Jay Rohr-So
CB Rickey McKenzie-Sr Mike Bradshaw-Fr
CB Jesse Smith-Sr Montae Russell-Jr
SS John Fuller-Jr Jason Nedd-So
FS Domenik Hixon-So Greg Williams-Jr
P Andy Jerdon-Sr ..




The Zip's kicking game returns intact. Placekicker Billy Sullivan connected on 7-of-14 FGAs. Punter Andy Jerdon looks to feed off of his career-best 40.3 average of 2002. Two Matts, Carter and Cherry, will again handle kickoff and punt returns, respectively. Carter finished 33rd nationally in average yards per kickoff return, while Cherry returns as the punt return man for the first time since 2001.