August 19, 2009

More of the same

Following Kent State's scrimmage on Wednesday, head coach Doug Martin opened his media address the same way he did after Saturday's practice game.

"Some good, some bad," Martin said.

Martin had good reason to repeat himself.

Again, his offense struggled to move the football, his defense set the tempo and it was on special teams where the biggest plays were made.

"The thing I was really pleased with was our kicking game," he said. "Freddy Cortez, he's been really consistent; won himself a job."

On Saturday, Cortez, a freshman, converted all four of his PAT attempts and was 5-for-5 on field goals. He followed that performance up on Wednesday by connecting on 5-of-7 field goals. He hit from 19, 20, 31, 35 and 37 yards. He was wide left on a 37-yarder and a 26-yard attempt was blocked.

As was the case on Saturday, the Golden Flashes' defense set the tone.

"I thought our defense (did) an excellent job of swarming around," Martin said. "I think they're doing a great job of playing team defense. I think they are developing an identity."

Prior to moving into red zone scoring drills, the defense limited the offense to just 144 yards on 56 plays and a pair of field goals. During that span of 12 series, the defense forced four punts, picked off a pass and recovered a fumble. Nine of those drives resulted in the offense moving the ball eight yards or less.

"(It) seems like we're taking more steps backwards than we are forward," said redshirt sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan, who finished 9-of-21 passing for 80 yards with one interception. "In order to get ready to play big teams like we are this year, you got to be able to move the ball; can't take sacks, can't turn the ball over. You've got to control the tempo. We let the defense get the best of us. Today they flat out beat us."

Junior safety Brian Lainhart, junior defensive end Monte Simmons and freshman Kent Walker each posted five tackles for the defense. Simmons also recorded two sacks, one in the end zone, and senior cornerback Danny Sadler and freshman linebacker Luke Batton both picked off a pass.

Lainhart agreed with Martin's assessment of the defense.

"The coaches challenged us to establish an identity, and our identity was to be a swarming defense," Lainhart said. "They might catch five-yard under routes, but they are going to get hit by four or five guys flying to the football. We're not there yet, but we're doing a much better job from last Saturday to Wednesday."

Freshman running back Dri Archer led all ball carriers with 15 carries and 65 yards while senior wide receiver Derek McBryde posted a team-high four receptions for 49 yards. Senior running back Eugene Jarvis scored the game's only touchdown, and that came on a 95-yard punt return.

Freshman defensive back Darius Polk, who returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in Saturday's scrimmage, exploded again for a 50-yard return. That will be his last return for a few weeks as he broke his clavicle on the play.

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