KENT, Ohio-Kent State's scrimmage on Saturday
gave head coach Doug Martin an opportunity to see just how far his
team has come since the start of camp two weeks ago.
However, the thunderstorms that rolled through Kent delayed the start of the
scrimmage, cutting out several periods that would have allowed more of the
threes and fours to get their shot at earning playing time. That left Martin
to evaluate his ones and twos more thoroughly, which should help solidify the
depth chart for the Sept. 2 opener against Murray State.
Statistically, the Flashes weren't impressive, except on defense.
Offensively, the Flashes converted just four of 17 third down attempts, with
one coming via penalty and another on a broken play when redshirt junior quarterback
Giorgio Morgan pulled in an errant shotgun snap on a play that was
designed to be an option left but instead turned into a quarterback draw to
The defense also shut down both fourth down attempts and recorded four sacks.
The four quarterbacks combined to complete just 19-of-36 passes for 107 yards
and one touchdown. Starter Spencer Keith was 11-21 for 64 yards and
a score. Morgan looks to have taken a big lead in the race for Keith's
backup as he hit on 7-of-10 throws for just 38 yards while freshman Cedric McCloud was incomplete on his only pass attempt.
The four running backs were better. They combined to carry 41 times for 162
yards and three scores with freshman Rob Hollomon leading the way
with 19 carries for 69 yards and two scores. He also led the team in jukes
and spin moves. Sixth-year senior Eugene Jarvis carried nine times
for 54 yards, junior Jacquise Terry had six carries for 25 yards and
a score and sophomore Dri Archer carried seven times for 14 yards.
With Kent State's top two wide receivers-sophomore Tyshon Goode and junior Sam Kirkland--out with minor injuries the Flashes' depth
was tested at the position. Junior Chris Gilbert had been having a
terrific camp until Saturday night when he had his first reception attempt
sail through his hands then dropped another. Still, he's earned some
credit with Martin and should rebound from his performance on Saturday.
All in all the wide receivers were pretty much non-factors with senior Anthony Bowman topping all pass catchers with 41 yards on just two catches. Out
of the backfield Terry and Hollomon combined for four catches for 33 yards.
Defensively, senior Dorian Wood, who switched from his spring position
of inside linebacker to the outside, led the team with six tackles. Freshman
safety Luke Wollet, already earning high praise from his coaches,
had four stops and sophomore Kent Walker had three tackles and a sack.
Sophomore Darius Polk blocked a field goald and sophomore Jake Dooley, freshman Richard Gray and senior Zach Williams each sacked the quarterback.
Sophomore kicker Freddy Cortez was 3-for-4 on field goal attempts
with a long of 41 yards. Junior punter Matt Rinehart had four punts
with a long of 46 yards.
While Kent State's defense certainly won the battle on Saturday, the
offense had its moments too. It's important to note that the Flashes
went three-and-out on just three series out of 10 during the regular portion
of the scrimmage (before goal line and red zone drills). The Flashes finished
the scrimmage off by scoring on 3-of-6 red zone tries.
- The depth at running back is a real strength to the offense. Each running
back broke big runs and showed the ability break tackles and make defenders
- In past scrimmages, the Flashes' offensive line typically got hit with
a handful of holding calls. None were called on Saturday, meaning the Flashes
are playing more disciplined and are losing less one-on-one battles.
- The defense is in mid-season form. The quarterbacks played under pressure
throughout the scrimmage and were sacked four times...but keep in mind Keith
and Morgan weren't live and could have escaped some of the pressure more
easily had they been able to tuck and run.
- The special teams didn't allow any big punt returns. In fact, there was
just one punt returned by Battles and that only went for a few yards.
- Rinehart and Cortez provide the Flashes with a strong special teams unit.
- Kent State's offense lacks "flow." Part of that was a vanilla game plan.
Martin said he wasn't game planning like he would in a game, but to evaluate
his players. Still, the Flashes found themselves in a lot of second- and
- There's still too many drops by the wide receivers and even a couple by
the running backs. Missing Kirkland and Goode didn't help matters and the
guys dropping the ball did so because they were looking up field before securing
the pass. That happens a lot more when players are trying to earn playing
time by making big plays. What they have to understand is they'll lose playing
time by not making the little plays.
- The defense pressured the offense all night long. The offensive line isn't
totally to blame. There's only five of them and at times there's just too
many guys to block. Adjustments need to be made and the running backs have
to do a better job of handling the pressure that makes it through the first
- On the first play of the scrimmage Eugene Jarvis rushed for 16 yards. Spencer
Keith was sacked for a loss of six on the next play. Jarvis then gained 10
yards to set up a manageable third-and-six. Keith was pressured and threw
incomplete to waste great field position. That was the theme of the night...good
play, bad play, good play, bad play. That's the lack of flow discussed earlier.
- Of the four sacks allowed, three were by reserve defensive players. Kent
State's second offensive line, and the running backs, have to do a better
job of protecting the quarterback.
- At least four false starts were called on the offensive line. That's far
too many mental mistakes.
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