Coach Conley's Six Points To Victory: Akron

Former Ohio State assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Bill Conley checks in with his "Six Points To Victory" feature, taking a look at what the Buckeyes need to do to gain a win over nonconference foe Akron on Saturday.

Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart has done a great job with the Zips football program. They are a sound team that plays an aggressive style of defense. The Buckeyes, however, should record win No. 2 without much difficulty. Ohio State's superior speed and skilled athletes on both sides of the ball makes an Akron upset unlikely. I expect the Buckeyes to not only have a solid performance offensively and defensively, but look for the OSU special teams to have a field day.

My six points to victory over the Zips are as follows:

1. Sound Punt and Kickoff Coverage

The Zips didn't show a lot of offensive power last week against Army but they were excellent in the return game. Andre Jones brought back a punt 63 yards and Bryan Williams opened the game with a 70-yard kickoff return to set up the Zips' first score. The Buckeyes have a ton more speed than Army and should be able to corral Akron if they have good lane discipline and ball placement.

2.Run Right at the Akron Defense

The Zips play a three-man defensive front with three or four linebackers most of the time. They move the front every play along with blitzing at least one linebacker. I expect the Buckeyes' offense to come right after the soft Akron defensive front. Look for Ohio State to display a strong running attack of both inside and outside zone plays. Also look for the fullbacks to isolate on blocking the stand-up linebackers. It wouldn't shock me if the OSU offense puts up at least 200 rushing yards tomorrow.

3.Pick Up Linebacker Blitzes and Stunts

As mentioned, the Zips like to bring their linebackers. It's imperative that the Ohio State offense picks up the various blitzes and stunts to be successful throwing the football. OSU gave up two sacks against Youngstown State and Akron sacked the Army quarterback four times. Todd Boeckman should have another good day throwing the football as long as the Buckeyes block the blitzing linebackers.

4. Late Defensive Shifts

The Akron offense gets the plays from the coaches on the sideline once the opposing defense gets lined up. They hope to get the best play possible against the front and coverage they see pre-snap. The Buckeye defensive staff has seen this before against teams like Northwestern. Look for the Ohio State defense to make late shifts after the Zip quarterback gets the sideline call.

5. Get After The Zip Quarterbacks

The Akron passing game is average at best. The Zips played two different quarterbacks against Army, and even though they didn't throw any interceptions, they had only one pass go for more than 15 yards – a 30-yarder to Jabari Arthur. Jabari is very talented and had 11 receptions against Army; but believe me, there is no Charlie Frye throwing to him. I expect the Buckeye defense to come after the Akron quarterbacks and the OSU corners should have no problem pressing the Zip receivers and playing man coverage.

6. Block A Punt

Akron punter John Stec had a rough opening game. He averaged 35 yards per punt not counting the one he had blocked. The Buckeyes probably won't get the chance to have a big punt return because the Zips can't kick it far enough. Akron's punt protection is questionable to say the least. It wouldn't shock me if OSU blocked a punt and scooped it up for a score. Speed kills and it really shows in defense and special teams.

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