Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Akron coach J.D. Brookhart had nothing but praise for sophomore quarterback Matt Rodgers, who started in place of suspended senior Chris Jacquemain, against Indiana last week.
The Zips lost 38-21, but Brookhart said he saw a lot of promise in his young quarterback especially since he didn’t get first-team reps until Thursday.
“He’s a real ‘want to’ guy,” Brookhart said. “You want that in a quarterback and he's got that so he's gonna be a good player. He did some good things and he's going to continue to progress. This is really, really important to him. He's got pretty good speed. His arm has gotten a lot better in the last year. You've really seen him physically mature.”
The way Brookhart spoke about Rodgers on Monday gave a sense that Akron was ready to move on from Jacquemain, a senior who had one of the best quarterbacking seasons in Akron history a year ago. The school announced Jacquemain’s suspension on Friday, but didn’t specify a reason.
Brookhart said Monday that there was timetable for Jacquemain to return.
True freshman Patrick Nicely will come off the scout team to be the backup quarterback and redshirt freshman Jared Wackerly will be third string. Brookhart said he wasn’t sure how both players would be used.
Rodgers completed 14-of-23 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw four interceptions.
The Zips open Mid-American Conference play this week at Central Michigan.
“He will continue to grow,” Brookhart said of Rodgers. “Matt will be a good quarterback. … Full time reps of a starter will certainly clean things up for him. He threw for a 60 percent clip. He had his interceptions, I understand that, and trying to do too much as young guys do, that’s where we’ve got to corral him in a little bit. He’ll be fine.”