Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Priorities heading into preseason camp


By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

Preseason camp starts next week at Dix Stadium and we will have several priorities in those first three weeks of August before we open up against Ohio University on Aug. 30.

We want to find out who are best 11 are on both sides of the ball. We want to set a tone for our attitude for the year. We want to come out of camp as a very fundamentally sound football team. 

This will be my second camp as head coach at Kent State and we will tweak some of the things that we did in year one. One of the things we tweaked is our message. We want everyone saying the same things and having the same message whenever we are in front of the team. That could mean the message from our leader committee that we have amongst our players and it also means our coaches.

We have also restructured our practices a little bit. We’ll make some changes in how we practice, how long we practice and what we will practice. 

Some coaches may think they have it all figured out. I’m the opposite. I was an assistant coach longer than I have been a head coach, and I know that nobody has all of the answers. I’m fortunate to have a good, experienced staff of coaches who have worked at a lot of different places. We like to kick around our ideas and come up with what is the best thing for the 2014 Kent State football team. That’s how we operate. It’s how we operate in practice. It is how we operate with our gameplan. 

It is extremely important to look back and examine the things you did right and you did wrong from the previous season. And then you have to be man enough to say these are the things we didn’t do well. We have been doing that since January.

Our players have also been working hard in the offseason. The thing I love about our team right now is our attitude. It should be that way after you are humbled, and we were humbled last year. Our attitude is awesome right now. Our guys are chomping at the bit to get out there next week, and that’s always a great thing when they have that attitude going into camp.

We’ll have several things we need to figure out between now and November to get to where we want to go. We need to be consistent with everything we do, with how we practice and how we prepare. I truly believe that you get what your work deserves. When we go back to last year, there are a lot of areas where you can place blame, but the reality is we didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t prepare hard enough at certain times. Those are the things we need to be consistent with. 

There are other things that are basic to football. You have to be able to run the football and you have to be able to stop the run. Those are things we didn’t do very well last year. We have to correct that to have a good season next year.

We also have to do a better job with turnovers. We didn’t get many last year, and at the same time we turned the ball over too often.

The game hasn’t changed over the years. Those are the things you have to do consistently to do well. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Josh Kline featured in story on ESPN.com

In case you missed it, ESPN has a great story on Kent State alum Josh Kline and the impact he is making with the New England Patriots.

It was on the network's website on April 21.

Here's the link: Josh Kline made impression on teammates

If you are a Kent State fan, the New England Patriots could be a good team to adopt in the NFL considering former Golden Flashes quarterback Julian Edelman is also there.

Fans can still get a chance to meet Edelman up close and personal on Friday if they attend the Third Annual Athletic Scholarship Auction at the M.A.C. Center. Edelman will serve as a celebrity co-host for the evening.,

Here's a link to more information on the auction.





Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Focusing on fundamentals, competing and identifying leaders as we start spring practice

By Brian George
Defensive Coordinator

There are a couple of things we need to do this spring from a defensive standpoint.

First, we need to get better fundamentally. I think that is going to be a big focus of our spring. We have reduced the amount of what we do in terms of calls, and therefore we are going to spend a lot of time teaching, coaching, learning fundamental parts of the game – pad level, tackling, block destruction. We are still going to teach the concepts, but we are going to focus more on becoming better fundamentally.

The other thing we want to do is figure out who are best 11 are. Who are the guys we can count on? It starts with those fundamental things, but also we have to find the competitors in the group. Better yet, if we find 22 of them or more, we need to find spots for those guys who are going to compete and finish, no matter what the situation.

If we find guys who want to compete but are a little behind in their understanding, well, we want the guys who will compete. So we are going to coach those guys and use this opportunity in spring to get them to the place where they are to where they need to be, because those are the guys you are going to win with. Technique and understanding the defense is important, but competing and finding a way to get things done is even more important.

There are a number of guys who can step in and take over some of the leadership roles that we lost to graduation. That’s the interesting part of college football. Guys graduate and leave. New guys are responsible for taking over that leadership role. We aren’t ready to stamp anyone yet as those new leaders because they haven’t been fire tested yet. But I think new leaders will emerge this spring. 

We have a lot of guys who have played and are doing all of the right things, and I’m anxious to see what kind of a jump they make this spring – guys like Nate Terhune and Matt Dellinger, who really played his first full season for us last year. Having an entire offseason in the weight room is going to help him. DeVante’ Strickland is in the same boat. He missed an entire offseason to injury, and by the time we get to the fall he will have had a complete offseason to develop.

Obviously we need Jordan Italiano to continue to grow. Nate Holley is a kid who played for us who has to continue to emerge vocally and in understanding. The more he understands, the more he plays and the more he can be a leader. Nate Vance is another guy who always does a good job leading by example and is never afraid to step out on a limb. He will be physically unable to play during the spring, but he can continue to develop in his understanding and as a leader.


We have some young guys who we believe have the ability to lead, but it is now a matter of putting them under pressure and seeing who rises to the top. The good thing for us is that this should be a very competitive spring. There is nobody slated as a starter at any position, and those guys will emerge through competition. You may walk out to practice on day three or four and see a completely different group out there when we call out the first unit. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Thoughts heading into tomorrow's first day of spring football

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

As coaches, we will be focused on identifying our playmakers during spring practice.

We have a big push on competition. We want to find out who are the most competitive kids. 

We also want to build team chemistry. I told the guys that April is “Get To Know Your Teammate Month” for us. I expect them to do that. The only way we are going to become a championship team is if we truly care about each other. And the only way to truly grow to care about each other is if you spend the time. You have to spend the time with people you don’t know. We can all spend time within our own little clicks. 

I’m going to ask guys to tell me about their teammates. When I call on someone, he should be able to tell me something about another player. That’s part of building team chemistry. 

We need to decide, "What are we about?" "Who are we about?"

Every position is truly wide open and the guys who will be our starters are the guys who are going to earn it. We’ve started a thing where we ask our guys. I’ll ask Colin Reardon, “who is the starting quarterback?” And he will answer, “whoever earns it.”

There are going to be a lot of different guys moving around, working with the first group, the second group and the third group. We are going to give everybody an opportunity to play this spring.

We are also going to spend time figuring out what our brand is.

To me, a brand is this – when you say Kent State Offense, what do you think about? When you say "Kent State Defense", what do you think about? When you say Kent State Special Teams, what do you think about? 

It is about an identity. We have names we call ourselves, but if that name doesn’t take on a life of its own, then its because it didn’t mean anything. It was just a name.

I spent all of last week on spring break down at Florida State and I visited with some of their older players. They talked about how there is a certain way they play football down there or you are not going to play. They know who they are and what they are about. So now, who are we? What are we about? When people think of us, what are they saying?

I don’t like to talk a lot about the places I’ve been, but when I was at Ohio State, the “Silver Bullets” meant something. It was darned near alive. It carried with it a standard for how you play.

We have to get to that point where our guys taking pride in something that is becoming the brand.

In Cleveland, you’ve had the “Dawg Pound”, in Minnesota they had the “Purple People Eaters”, in Pittsburgh “the Steel Curtain.” When that stuff starts to come alive, you start taking pride in everything you do.

At Ohio State we had a guy named Nate Ebner. He plays for the Patriots now. He never took a snap for us at safety, but he took pride in every special unit and everybody gravitated around him. When that happened, our special teams started to come alive. That is what you need to have. Until you do, guys are just out there. They are just running plays and being compliant instead of being committed.

Offense will answer questions while building on momentum during the spring season

By Brian Rock
Offensive Coordinator

We need to answer some questions this spring.

We’ve had a great offseason and we need to make sure that we are continuing that momentum into actually being on the field and playing football. But we also need to label who are guys are going to be, especially at the offensive line and wide receiver positions. Those are some questions that need to be answered.

I am also looking forward to finding out what our depth is going to be like at running back. 

We have to find ways to make sure we get our 11 best on the field.

Philosophically, we will be working on our base offense. We are not experimenting and doing a bunch of different things. We are trying to get better at alignment assignment and technique and the base runs and passing concepts we have in our offense.

Our offensive line guys have a lot of experience under their belts. Guys like Reno Reda and Wayne Scott are a year older and a year better. Anthony Pruitt has come a long way. I’m excited to see those guys now that they have a year under their belts and to see what they can bring to the table.

We have to establish some wide receivers during this spring. Will Woods has had a great offseason. I’m anxious to see Ernest Calhoun and Josh Boyle take another step. Chris Humphrey is an established guy who has played a lot of football for us, but who will be the rest of that crew? That’s what we have to find out.

At running back, Trayion Durham is getting over an injury. Anthony Meray has played a lot for us in the last couple of years and he’ll be back again. He has some class conflicts this spring, and with Trayion getting healthy we have moved Nick Holley to running back. Nick and Tristin Boykin are going to get a workout this spring. 

I like the idea of Nick at running back in that he brings some toughness to the table. I like his work ethic. Nick has also had the football in his hands before. We’ve never had him at running back before, though, so we need to find out about what he can bring to that position. He can block and be tough to tackle, but also have some speed and elusiveness to create some big plays. 

We can be very good at tight end with Casey Pierce and Kyle Payton, who has had a very good offseason. The young guys there are coming along with Ryan Malone and Brice Fackler. And then the transfer from Ashland, Steve Nagy, we’ll see where he fits in. We have a pretty good nucleus of guys there. 

Our biggest thing is coming together as a unit. We need to get 11 guys all going in the same direction.all. 

TOMORROW: Defensive coordinator Brian George looks at the goals for spring practice

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dri Archer combine performance in review

By now most of you are aware of Dri Archer's big weekend in Indianapolis for the NFL combine.

We want to hear from you ... How much do you think Dri's combine performance will improve his stock? Where do you predict he will be selected in the upcoming NFL Draft?

For those who don't know about Dri's 4.26 and other numbers posted over the weekend, here is a link to our story on www.kentstatesports.com along with other stories from around the internet:



And here are some videos from Dri's big weekend:




Monday, February 3, 2014

National Signing Day Updates ...


Coach Haynes talks about the class


Recent article on O-lineman Connor Shinsky

There will be no party at Water Street Tavern due to weather.  However, a Signing Day radio show will air at 6 pm on both WHLO 640 and Golden Flashes Radio on iHeart

15-of-20 players come from Ohio...7 from Northeast Ohio (2-Glenville, Hoover, Massillon Perry, Aurora, Kent Roosevelt, Bedford)...3 from Columbus

Out of State: 2 Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada

11 Defense (3 DL, 3 LB, 3 DB), 8 Offense (4 OL, 2 WR, QB, RB), 1 Specialist (K)

Kent State coaches will have to worry about their health another day as this morning's donut boxes have been replaced by pizza boxes


Zack Singer Article


20th and final member of the class is in...Zack Singer...Third D-lineman




ZACK SINGER, DT, 6-3, 290
Las Vegas, Nev.
Bishop Gorman High School
Notables:  Earned all-state honors in all four seasons…Helped Bishop Gorman to four state titles and four Top 25 national rankings…Team captain…Played both ways and rarely left the field…Competed in both baseball and wrestling at Bishop Gorman, finishing fourth at state wrestling tournament.

Stats:  Made 37 tackles as a senior.

 

Kalil Morris adds size to the D-Line


 
KALIL MORRIS, DT, 6-3, 280
Columbus, Ohio
Bishop Hartley High School
Notables: All-Ohio First Team (defense) in junior and senior seasons…Three-time all-district and All-Central Catholic League First Team selection…Team captain...All-Metro First Team…North-South All-Star Game selection…Helped Hartley to state championship game appearance as a senior and state semifinal appearance as a junior…Back-to-back undefeated regular seasons…Also played basketball at Bishop Hartley.

Stats:  Made 161 career tackles with 15 sacks, five forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered.



Zaquon Tyson is second Miami, Fla. native of the class. 18 players in




ZAQUON TYSON, WR, 5-9, 155
Miami, Fla.
Norland High School
Notables: Helped Norland win a state title in 2011 …Team captain...Earned MVP of both Georgia vs. Florida and Private vs. Public All-Star Games…Joins linebacker Darius Redmond among Miami natives on Kent State roster.

Stats:  Made 30 catches for 550 yards and four touchdowns as a senior.



Jerrell Foster becomes fifth defensive back, bringing total to 17




JERRELL FOSTER, CB, 6-0, 180
Cincinnati, Ohio
Winton Woods High School
Notables: Earned all-district honors…Team captain…All-City selection...Helped Winton Woods advance to the third round of the state playoffs…Will join Cincinnati natives Trayion Durham and Kevin DeWalt

Stats:  Intercepted three passes as a senior, totaling eight pass breakups.



More help in the secondary and possibly the return game with speedster Eldin Anu.  Our count is up to 16.





ELDIN ANU, CB, 5-10, 165
Columbus, Ohio
Westerville Central High School
Notables: All-Ohio Second Team selection…Earned all-region and all-district first team honors…Team captain…Named to Ohio Capital Conference Second Team…Helped Westerville Central to Cardinal Division title in OCC…Also competed in track & field, earning all-state honors…Born in Cameroon

Stats:  Made 53 catches for 718 yards and seven touchdowns…totaled 1,075 all-purpose yards…Recorded four interceptions, 58 tackles and 13 pass breakups.
 


Erik Simpson puts two Glenville seniors in 2014 class




ERIK SIMPSON, S, 6-0, 175
Cleveland, Ohio
Glenville High School
Notables: All-Senate League First Team selection…Team captain… Two-year starter at cornerback…Helped Glenville to state title game in senior year and three Senate League titles…One of two Glenville players (Quan Robinson) joining Glenville grad Chris Overton…Also lettered in track & field…Ranked second in his class academically…OHSAA Academic All-Ohio.

Stats:  Made 54 tackles with six pass breakups and one interception in senior season…Receivers covered did not catch a pass during his junior season.
 



Quan Robinson was a 3-year starter at QB for Glenville. He's expected to play cornerback for the Flashes





QUAN ROBINSON JR., CB, 6-1, 170
Cleveland, Ohio
Glenville High School
Notables:  Senate League All-Star…Team captain…Three-year starter at quarterback…Led Glenville to state title game in senior year and three Senate League titles…One of two Glenville players (Erik Simpson) joining Glenville grad Chris Overton.

Stats:  Threw for 1,945 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior…Ran for 500 yards and 14 touchdowns.
 



Nathan Puthoff becomes fourth offensive linemen in class




NATHAN PUTHOFF, OL, 6-5, 287
Columbus, Ohio
St. Charles High School
Notables: All-Ohio First Team selection…Offensive Team MVP…Was also a first team selection on all-conference, all-district and All-Metro teams…Helped St. Charles to a playoff appearance…Father and uncle both played football at Ohio…Will be seventh member of family to compete as a student-athlete in the Mid-American Conference…Also competed in baseball and track & field.  

Stats:  Totaled 73 pancake blocks as a senior and 24 as a junior.
 


Stefano Millin becomes the second Stark County native of the class




STEFANO MILLIN, OL, 6-5, 245
Massillon, Ohio
Perry High School
Notables: All-Federal League honors as a senior …Team captain...Also a standout wrestler at Perry…Was a two-time state tournament qualifier…Two-time place winner at both Iron Man and Beast of the East tournaments.

Stats:  Recorded 18 career sacks and 25 tackles for loss



Collin Prouty




COLLIN PROUTY, OL, 6-5, 280
Dresden, Ohio
Tri-Valley High School

Notables:  Two-time All-Ohio Second Team selection…Two-time Muskingum Valley League Offensive Lineman of the Year…Two-time all-district and all-region selection…Team captain…Three-year letterwinner…Helped Tri-Valley to playoff wins in three different seasons…High school teammates with Nathan Strock…Named Eastern Region Track & Field Athlete of the Year and finished fifth in the state in discus as a junior…Father played football at Muskingum.
 



James Alexander becomes third linebacker in the group



JAMES ALEXANDER, LB, 5-11, 219
Miami, Fla.
Miami Jackson High School
Notables:  Two-time All-Dade County First Team selection…Team captain…Helped Jackson to a Regional title as a junior…One of two Miami natives in recruiting class (Zaquon Tyson)…Was also a captain on Jackson’s track & field team where he earned all-county honors and qualified for the state meet.

Stats:  Recorded 351 career tackles and 15 sacks…Scored two defensive touchdowns…Recovered seven fumbles and forced three…Broke school record for tackles in a season with 145.
 


The total count has quickly risen to 15

Miles Hibbler Video



Shane Hynes Video



Letters continue to roll in.  Weather issues around the region haven't kept players from finding their way to fax machines.



MATTHEW SOMMERS, LB, 6-2, 220
Kent , Ohio
Roosevelt High School

Notables:  Two-time Portage Trail Conference Defensive Player of the Year…Earned All-Ohio Second Team honors as a senior and special mention as a junior…Team captain…Three-time all-conference first team selection…Helped Roosevelt to three conference championships…Joins Marcus Wright and Evan Shimensky as third Roosevelt player on roster…Also played lacrosse at Roosevelt, earning all-district honors in two seasons.

Stats:  Totaled 421 career tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, six forced fumbles and an interception…Holds Roosevelt records for tackles in a season and tackles in a career.






MARQUES MOORE, LB, 6-2, 200
Springfield , Ohio
Springfield High School

Notables:  Named to All-Greater Western Ohio Conference First Team…Received invites for National Underclassmen (NUC) All-American Game, NUC Ultimate 100 and Texas vs. the World Game…Also competed in basketball and track & field at Springfield…Two uncles and a cousin all played in the NFL.

Stats:  Blocked three punts…Made two interceptions…Recorded 34 tackles and recovered a fumble




SHANE HYNES, K, 5-10, 150

Clarkston, Mich.

Clarkston High School



Notables:  Two-time all-state selection…Helped Clarkston to state championship as a senior…All-Metro Detroit First Team selection…Two all-county honors… Clarkston went 42-3-1 in last four years…Will join former Clarkston teammate Matt Dellinger…Also played baseball.



Stats:  Kicked a school record 53-yard field goal as a junior…Made eight field goals as a senior…Totaled 63 kickoffs for touchbacks as a senior…Had the longest punt in school history (81 yards) as a senior.
 

RBs Coach Ted Bahhur believes Hibbler can make an immediate impact

MILES HIBBLER, RB, 5-10, 185
Troy, Ohio
Troy High School

Notables:  Two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference First Team selection…Earned all-state honorable mention…Two-time All-Southwest Ohio District First Team selection… Team captain…Helped Troy to state playoffs as a sophomore…Earned three varsity letters in football and four in track & field…Was a two-time state qualifier in the 4x100.
Stats:  Ran for 1,644 yards and 21 touchdowns on 235 carries as a senior…Ranks seventh among Troy’s all-time rushing leaders.
 


The football office echoes with the sound of coaches on the phone congratulating incoming class members. 

Randale Richmond and Marc Johnson have made the football office their office this morning as they continue to approve NLIs...4 more are in...bringing current total to nine.

Butler, Pa, produced standout defensive lineman Lee Stalker. Now it's Connor Shinsky's turn


CONNOR SHINSKY, OL, 6-6, 260
Butler , Pa.
Knoch High School

Notables:  All-Greater Allegheny Conference First Team selection on offense in junior and senior seasons…Also an all-conference second team selection on defense …Team captain…Helped Knoch to a pair of playoff appearances, including a WPIAL runner-up finish in 2011…Knoch finished 12-1, winning a Section 3 championship…Named to Butler Eagle Sweet 16 and Pittsburgh Post Gazette North Finest 22…Also played basketball at Knoch.
Stats:  Totaled 45 tackles and six sacks as a junior




JON CUNNINGHAM, DT, 6-0, 265
Bedford, Ohio
Bedford High School

Notables:  Earned all-conference honors in junior and senior seasons… Team captain…Also wrestles at Bedford…Was a state qualifier as a junior…Freestyle/Greco Roman state champion… Father played football at Toledo…Mother attended Kent State
Stats:  Made 77 tackles, including 55 solo stops…Scored two touchdowns.




Grandjean Video


Bollas Video



GEORGE BOLLAS, QB, 6-3, 205
Aurora, Ohio
Aurora High School

Notables:  Chagrin Valley Conference Offensive MVP as a senior and all-state selection…Team captain…Led Aurora to state semifinal appearance and 12-2 record as a junior… Greenmen also won state playoff game in 2013, finishing 10-2…Earned all-conference and all-district first team honors as a senior…Former high school teammate of Anthony Melchiori and Jake McVay…Two-time all-academic team selection for Chagrin Valley Conference…Wrestled for two seasons at Aurora, qualifying for the state tournament as a sophomore…Father and grandfather both wrestled at Ohio State.
Stats:  Rushed for 1,323 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior, throwing for 1,355 yards and 13 touchdowns…Ran for 1,072 yards and 16 touchdowns in junior season and threw for 1,483 yards and 14 touchdowns.
 


Marcus Elliott Video


Quarterback George Bollas becomes the third player from Aurora HS in as many seasons to join the Golden Flashes



LUKE GRANDJEAN, WR, 6-3, 185
North Canton, Ohio
Hoover High School

Notables:  Two-time all-state second team selection…Team captain…Named to All-Stark County (Repository) First Team in junior and senior seasons…Northeast Inland All-District First Team…Beacon Journal All-Star Team…All-Federal League First Team…Helped Hoover to a playoff appearance in 2012…Played two seasons of basketball and lacrosse at Hoover…Scored 35 goals career goals in lacrosse…Uncle Charlie Grandjean played at Kent State and is member of Varsity “K” Hall of Fame…Will be seventh member of extended family to attend Kent State.
Stats:  Made six interceptions as a junior…Caught 34 passes for 623 yards and six touchdowns in 2012…Threw for 1,402 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013, while rushing for 970 yards and 14 touchdowns.



Toledo Whitmer's Marcus Elliott was the first letter to arrive.



MARCUS ELLIOTT, DB, 6-1, 200
Toledo, Ohio
Whitmer High School
Notables:  All-Ohio First Team selection as a senior and second team choice as a junior…Team captain…Two-tine selection on all-district, all-conference and All-Blade teams…Team MVP…Helped Whitmer in four playoff appearances, three regional championships, two state semifinal s and one state final appearance…Will join Whitmer grads Nate and Nick Holley…Was a four-year letterwinner in track & field…Also lettered in basketball.

Stats:  Made 259 career tackles and 10 interceptions…Holds school record for interceptions in a season with eight…Scored three touchdowns, including 86-yard kick return…Totaled 13 career tackles for loss and eight forced fumbles.



Because of many high schools being canceled, some expected NLIs may not arrive this morning.

The University closed due to weather conditions, but that hasn't slowed down the football staff. 
Coach Haynes arrived at 5:45 today to see several other coaching staff members already there.  The entire staff met 6:30 and are now waiting for the first letter to arrive.

The 2p.m. press conference has been canceled due to weather conditions.

National Letters of Intent can start arriving on the football office fax machine at 7 a.m.  Once letters are verified by a compliance services staff member, we'll report it to you.  Look for high school video highlights of each player.

Fans can meet the coaches, cheerleaders and Flash at Water Street Tavern, beginning at 5:45.  Football color analyst Rob Polinsky will go on the air live from Water Street at 6 p.m. on WHLO 640 and Golden Flashes Radio on iHeartRadio.

The special Signing Day Show will be followed immediately by men's basketball pregame with Ty Linder live from Mount Pleasant.
 Check in Wednesday morning (Feb. 5) for updates and video from the M.A.C. Center as the Golden Flashes sign a new recruiting class...