When it comes to replacing an assistant on his Akron coaching staff, Terry Bowden didn’t have to look very far.
In a press release, Bowden confirmed that he has promoted Brett Ekkens to be his new offensive line coach. The past two seasons, Ekkens has served as a graduate assistant for the Zips.
The 26-year-old Ekkens replaces Darrell Funk, who left last month for the same job at Purdue.
“I am excited to promote Brett to a full-time position at the University of Akron,” Bowden said in a statement. “He has paid his dues over the last two seasons as a graduate assistant and fits in nicely with the family atmosphere that we believe in here at Akron. With his playing time and coaching over the last four years, he is a proven winner.”
“I couldn’t be more appreciative for the opportunity Coach Bowden has given me to stay on this phenomenal staff,” Ekkens said. “I am excited to continue working with the great young men on our offensive line. Akron has been my home for the past two years, and I am blessed to have the chance to remain at this university.
Ekkens played his college football at Div. III power Mount Union, graduating in 2012, and spent the first two years of his coaching career at his alma mater as head football strength & coach and assistant offensive line coach.
In addition to Ekkens’ promotion, Bowden also announced that defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Todd Stroud has added the title of assistant head coach.
Akron wide receiver Andrew Pratt was hospitalized Saturday after being shot in the stomach by teammate Scott Boyett. Boyett shot Pratt as the receiver entered the offensive tackle’s apartment without knocking, leading Boyett to think there was an burglar in his apartment. Boyett rushed his teammate to an emergency room before police arrived on the scene.
Pratt was transferred to Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center and is in stable condition. No charges have been filed after both players admitted to police it was a pure accident, according to a report from Ohio.com. Both players were questioned by police separately and shared the same story.
“We are saddened and concerned to learn of this situation and we hope that Andrew recovers fully,” Akron Athletic Director Larry Williams said in a statement. “While we know the incident occurred at an off-campus location, we will wait to learn more from the Akron Police Department about what occurred. We are keeping Andrew in our thoughts and prayers.”
Pratt was Akron’s third-leading receiver in 2015 with 28 receptions for 280 yards and a touchdown.
Many — nay, most — of you reading this wish the College Football Playoff would expand from four to eight teams. Tomorrow. Marching alongside you in that parade? Akron head coach Terry Bowden.
Bowden spoke with ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich on Wednesday and deposited a dose of reality on the state of Group of 5 teams in this CFP world we live in.
“I don’t think anybody in the Mid-American Conference believes that if you go undefeated they’re going to pick you to be in the final four,” Bowden said. “I don’t think they’re going to pick us. There’s always going to be one or two teams with one loss from the SEC or Big Ten that they’re going to pick over an undefeated team. With four teams? Not a chance.
“I don’t think we coaches believe there’s a realistic chance, and I don’t think our players believe the four-team playoff gives us a realistic chance of playing for a national championship,” he said. “I don’t think we have the same luxury. I don’t think we hoodwink our guys into thinking that, as it now stands, there’s some kind of way that an undefeated G-5 can get in.”
Even still, G-5 teams are in a better spot today than they were in the Bowl Championship Series era. Payouts are up, a guaranteed New Year’s Six spot awaits the highest-rated G-5 champion, and the increased field from two to four at least increases the Cinderella dream for undefeated mid-majors. Like Houston, for example.
“They’ll say, ‘Well, gosh, Oklahoma faced 12 Oklahomas. Y’all played one good game.’ I’m not bucking the system,” he said, “I’m saying go to eight and you probably have a chance for a team to get in at a mid-major level. Go to four and I think we’re pretending.”
Oh, well, nevermind then.
Warren Ball may be leaving Ohio State, but he’s not leaving the state of Ohio.
The OSU running back has decided to transfer out of the Buckeyes football program and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere. Specifically, that continuation will involve a 125-mile move to the northeast as George Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that Ball will enroll at Akron and play his football for Terry Bowden‘s Zips.
As Ball is set to graduate from OSU this semester, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016. This upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
Ball was a four-star member of OSU’s 2012 recruiting class, rated as the No. 16 running back in the country; the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Ohio; and the No. 193 player overall by Rivals.com. Ball ran for 189 yards on 41 carries the past three seasons, with 28 of those yards coming on 10 2015 carries.
ElevenWarriors.com writes that “Ball’s apparent transfer has no impact on Ohio State’s scholarship grid for 2016, as he was already on his way out of the program following last season,” adding that “[t]he Buckeyes still sit at 87 scholarships after National Signing Day.”
Akron jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first half against Utah State in the Potato Bowl in Boise, and nearly lost the momentum as the Aggies battled back. With Utah State driving, Utah State fumbled away the football in the final seconds of the half and Rodney Coe returned the ball 54 yards to the Utah State 12-yard line. That gave Akron four seconds to kick one last field goal to extend the lead in the first half to 13-7.
Akron dug into the bag of tricks to put the first points on the board. Junior wide receiver Tyrell Goodman tossed a nice 14-yard pass to quarterback Thomas Woodson for a first quarter touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Akron tacked on three more points later in the first half for a 10-0 lead, but Utah State managed to score a touchdown before halftime. Kent Myers hit Brandon Swindall for a nine-yard touchdown late in the first half to trim Akron’s lead to three points.
Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton has completed six of 11 passes for 56 yards and he has been picked off by Akron’s defense once. Akron’s Woodson has also been intercepted in the first half.